Richmond has plenty of fall and Halloween activities to suit any interest. From the kid-friendly fun of pumpkin carving, games and art activities, to the no-holds-barred fright fests of haunted houses, mazes and scary trails, it’s all right here.
- October Oddities at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (Saturdays in October) – Learn about weird plant lore and gourd art and visit displays of interesting and odd pieces of nature, such as mushrooms, moss, gourds and lichen. The three main display areas include the Fire Pit, Weird and Contrasting Plants area and the Garden Keeper’s Cottage. Please visit the website for a complete schedule. Garden admission is required.
- Goblins and Gourds at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (Sunday, October 23, 2011 from 1:00 – 4:00) – Come out to the Children’s Garden for October activities, pumpkin carving demonstrations, storytelling and music by the ‘Indigenous Gourd Orchestra.’ Garden admission is required.
- Boo at the Zoo at the National Zoo (October 21, 22 and 23 from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.) – Put on your costumes and come out to the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C. This 13th annual event is a fun time for families with kids ages 2-12. Enjoy the zoo along with candy, snack food and special treats. There will be animal encounters, keeper talks and fun decorations. Each child will receive a complimentary reusable treat bag. Tickets are $20.00 for Friends of the Zoo (FONZ) members and $30.00 for non-members. Children under age two are free. This event does sell out quickly. Please visit the website to purchase tickets.
- Bass Pro Shops, Ashland (Oct. 26 – Oct. 31) – Spend an afternoon or evening at the area’s best indoor outdoorsy location. With a theme of “It’s the Great Pumpkin,” there will be PEANUTS-themed photos and crafts, as well as trick-or-treating, costume parades and marshmallow roasts. Times and events vary so please check the Bass Pro Shop website for full details.
- Monster Madness at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, Virginia Beach (Friday, Oct. 28, 2011 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.) – Dress up in your favorite costume and come out to the aquarium for crafts, storytelling and the chance to meet some of the aquarium’s “creepy creatures.” Admission is $10.00 for adults/children and $7.00 for adult/child members. For more information, please call 757-385-FISH.
- Poe’s Pumpkin Patch at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum (Saturday, October 29, 2011 beginning at 12:00 noon) – Come spend an afternoon with the original spooky story-teller himself, Edgar Allan Poe. Poe-inspired fun and games include face painting, pumpkin decorating, a mummy wrapping contest, a “Pit and Pendulum” swing game and a “Black Cat” piñata. Included with museum admission.
- Spooky Party at the Children’s Museum of Richmond (Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 10:00 am. – 4:00 pm.) – Wear your Halloween costume and join Seymour the Dinosaur for fun music, games, stories, and arts and crafts. Spooky Party takes place at both locations, CMoR Central on Broad Street and Short Pump, and is included with regular museum admission.
- Halloween Hoopla at the Children’s Museum of Richmond (Monday, October 31, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.) – Enjoy trick-or-treating in a fun “Spooky Village,” as well as other activities such as games, pumpkin decorating and crafts. Adult admission is $4.00 each. Children are free but do require a ticket. Visit the website to purchase advance tickets.
- Howl-O-Fest at Kings Dominion (weekends throughout October) – Enjoy fun daytime activities in Planet Snoopy and KidZville – pumpkin painting, straw and corn mazes, pirate stories, scavenger hunts and meet/greet time with the PEANUTS characters. Howl-O-Fest is included with regular park admission.
- State Fair of Virginia at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell (September 29 – October 9, 2011) – An annual tradition since 1854, rides, midway, candy apples and funnel cakes compete with livestock, art and photography exhibits, concerts and special entertainment to make the State Fair of Virginia one of the best outdoor events in the state. Concerts include Tracy Lawrence, B2B (Jimmy Buffett tribute band), the Band Perry, Casper, the Marshall Tucker Band and many more. Educational exhibitions, competitions and fun festivities make a great family or group outing. Please visit the website for hours, tickets and special event schedules.
Fright Fests and Scary Stuff
- Blood Lake – Formerly at Cobblestones Park, Blood Lake has moved to the Windy Hill Sports Complex in Midlothian (16500 Midlothian Turnpike). It is an outdoor haunted attraction with strobe lights, thick fog and creepy creatures of the night. Children under age nine are not permitted and those under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. It is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights in October, as well as Monday, October 31st. Please visit the website for all of the devious details.
- Creepy Hollow Scream Park – Two haunt attractions await at this wildly popular event. Take a tractor-drawn hayride through the spooky forest of Creepy Hollow, where illusions, creepy scenes and scary surprises pop up around every turn. Or, venture through the Scream Forest … a wagon takes you out into the woods and leaves you there to make your own way back. If you make it through the forest, you’ll come to Bedlam House, a haunted house full of even more terror and suspense. A bonfire and midway greet those that return. Gates open at 7:00 p.m. for both attractions. The first wagons leave at 7:30 p.m. Creepy Hollow Scream Park is located off of Rt. 33 (about 6 miles west of I-295). For directions and a complete schedule, please visit the website at creepyhollowhayride.com.
- Haunted Evenings from Ashland Berry Farm – Three attractions – Boogar Woods, Scarecrow Slaughter and House & Clown Town are back at this annual scare-fest. Ahaunted hayride takes you deep into the woods, where anything can, and will, happen. If you so choose, you can stay at the farm and claw your way through a creepy- crawly barn and maze. A Scream Pass lets you do all three, if you dare. Hayrides to the woods begin at 7:00 p.m. Haunted Evenings is open on select Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, as well as some Thursdays and Monday, October 31st. For a complete schedule, please visit the website.
- Eerie Nights Ghost tours of Richmond (meet at the 17th Street Farmers’ Market at Main and 17th) Take a walking tour through the streets of Shockoe Bottom as a ghoulish guide recounts tales of tragedies from the past. Mature audiences are suggested, but families are welcome. Tours leave from the 17th St. Farmers’ Market and run June – November 5, 2011. October is a particularly fun time to take a tour. Tickets are $13.00 for adults. Seniors (60+) are $10.00. Group rates are available. For a full schedule and to purchase tickets, please visit the website.
- Haunts of Richmond Ghost Tours – Relive Richmond’s haunted history with your choice of three different tours…Shadows of Shockoe, Haunted Capitol Hill, or Church Hill Chillers. This guided walking tour leads you through the haunted and supernatural sites of one of the oldest cities in the United States. Tours last about 75 minutes. Richmond is also famous for its many hills and crooked, cobblestone streets, so you’ll want to wear appropriate walking (or running…) shoes. Tours run May through October on Thursday through Saturday at 9:00 p.m. (with additional hours in October). Reservations are required. Please visit the website for a complete schedule and to purchase tickets. Children are welcome but please use your own discretion.
- Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens – (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in October) – The 13th year of Howl-O-Scream turns the world’s most beautiful theme park (21 years running) into the world’s most terrifying theme park. The thick forests and cobblestone paths of Europe become fields of fright once the sun sets and the clock strikes six. Haunted mazes, shows and scare zones will keep guests on their toes. Regular park admission is required for all Howl-O-Scream attractions. Howl-O-Scream is not intended for young children. Please use proper judgment.
- Halloween Haunt at Kings Dominion (Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights through October 30) – Crazy clowns, freakish farmers, and creepy creatures roam the dimly lit, fog-filled park, complete with eerie music, haunted mazes, scary shows and scare zones. Regular park admission is required for all Haunt happenings. Haunt is not intended for young children. Please use proper judgment.
- Fright Fest at Six Flags America (weekends in October) – Maryland’s premier thrill park becomes a chilling fright fest by night. Haunted houses, fright-themed thrill rides, shows and the longest scare trail in the state will have you running for the hills. Regular park admission is required for all Fright Fest events. Some events may require extra admission. Fright Fest is not intended for young children. Please use proper judgment.
- Wicked Woods (weekends in October)– Over a quarter of a mile of terror and screams in the woods of Spotsylvania. Two attractions include a frightening forest trail and a haunted asylum. Please visit the website for a complete schedule and directions to the Wicked Woods.
- Ghost and Graveyard Tour of Alexandria, VA (weekends in October) – Follow an 18th century costumed guide through the haunted streets of Old Town Alexandria. You’ll hear stories and legends of romance, unsolved mysteries and angry ghosts bent on revenge. This one-hour, six block walking tour ends at a graveyard. Please visit the website for a complete schedule and to purchase tickets.
Please check back often as new events and activities are added.
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