Philadelphia

15 Spooky Ways to Celebrate Halloween in Philly this Year

A candy-themed exhibit, haunted tours of the city, and more.

Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride
Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride
Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride

Halloween is back in Philadelphia! After letting our costumes collect dust last year, there are more ways than ever to get spooked, spirited, or just capture some festive vibes in a zero-scare environment. Whether you’re looking for the scariest haunted destinations (real or imagined), itching to carve some pumpkins, or simply want the best environment to show off your outfit, there are plenty of options all throughout the Halloween season. Take a look at our 15 picks for what do in Philly this Halloween.

Flickr/Peter Miller
Flickr/Peter Miller
Flickr/Peter Miller

Take a haunted trip to the new attractions at Eastern State Penitentiary

Now through November 13
Fairmount
For many years, taking a trip to this very haunted-looking ex-prison around Halloween meant signing up for one of the scarier interactive experiences in the city. This year, though, the team at Eastern State Penitentiary is switching things up so there’s something for everyone-whether you’re a horror lover or a certified jump-scare wimp. The new Halloween Nights now features four themed bars and lounges (including a beer garden with Down North Pizza!), three live performance spaces with spooky ambiance, and four (very optional, very scary) haunted houses. Choose your own fright level for a night sure to please any Halloween lover.
Cost: $34–$79

Nightmare Before Tinsel
Nightmare Before Tinsel
Nightmare Before Tinsel

Drink from a Blood Bag at Nightmare Before Tinsel

Now through October 31
Midtown Village
Pop-up Halloween bar Nightmare Before Tinsel is back and all the scarier. Enjoy festive cocktails under the gaze of creepy dolls, clowns, ghosts, and other fixtures, plus an extra underworld installation that puts you in Satan’s living room along with the Grim Reaper. Make sure to stop in before the space gets transformed for the holiday season.
Cost: Pay as you go

Franklin Square
Franklin Square
Franklin Square

Get scary-good at mini-golf at Franklin Square

Now through October 31
Old City
Go for a round of mini-golf that’s extra spooky. Franklin Square is doing it up with fog, lights, music, and an all-around Halloween spectacle that’s sure to put you in the spirit. Keep the Halloween festivities going right nearby at the Betsy Ross House, where you can go for a shadowy after-hours tour of the historic building.
Cost: $12–$15

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Candytopia

Now through November 1
Fashion District
Candytopia is like an IRL Candyland, straddling the line between confections and artwork with interactive sugar-rushed walkthroughs. For Halloween, come in costume and expect extra festive exhibits and decorations for the holiday. Plus, if your costume is really good, you might win some extra candy.
Cost: $20–$28

Philly Cider Week
Philly Cider Week
Philly Cider Week

Celebrate Philly Cider Week at a rooftop Halloween party

Sunday, October 31
Wharton
The last week of October marks Philadelphia Cider Week, with festivities culminating in a party at Irwin’s in the Bok Building on Halloween night, aptly titled Nightmare on 8th Street. In addition to good food and plenty of cider, you’ll have the chance to strut yourself and show off your costume at an official Costume Catwalk Contest. You can also venture into the unknown with Tarot card readings, raffles, and spooky DJ tunes.
Cost: $10 at the door, pay as you go

Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride
Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride
Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride

Take a hunted trip through the Bates Motel

Now through October 30
Glen Mills
Heralded as one of the best scary attractions in the country, a visit to the Bates Motel is a must for any Halloween horror junkie. Located about an hour outside Philly at Araspaha Farms, the new 25-minute haunted tour is full of crazy visual effects, dedicated actors, and a ton of pyrotechnics. You can check out scenes like a creepy New England church (Midnight Mass, anyone?), a 200-foot cave, and a walk through a haunted corn trail. If you survive all that, treat yourself to a round of Zombie laser tag or a (hopefully) scare-free session of axe throwing.
Cost: $30–$120

Take a haunted tour of all of Philly’s creepy landmarks

Ongoing
Old City
Considering how old Philadelphia is, one could argue that every tour here is a haunted one. Grim Philly Tours leans into this quite a bit, with pub-focused bar crawls and spine-shivering nighttime tours focused on serial killers, espionage, murder, vampires, ghosts, and the like. You’ll never see Old City quite the same again.
Cost: $25–$29

Take a seat at the Haunted Circus

Friday, October 29
Mt. Airy
See all the good stuff the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts can do at this year’s one-night-only Haunted Circus event. Before the show, walk through as performers show off spooky circus skills, from firebreathing and aerials to juggling and dance. For the main event, you’ll see the acrobats pull out all the stops, including duo trapeze and cyr wheel, for a performance titled “Grave Space.”
Cost: $35

Solve a mystery while noshing on some pizza

Now through October 31
Various locations
If you’re looking to stay in this Halloween but still do something festive, Vampire Pizza is offering interactive at-home experiences that deliver goods from Pizzeria Stella or Slice Fishtown, along with an interactive dinner mystery game. Your food delivery will come with clues and instructions, plus if you solve the mystery you could win some prizes (like tickets to Eastern State Penitentiary or an Oculus VR set). You can play with up to six people.
Cost: $29 per player

Flickr/R'lyeh Imaging
Flickr/R’lyeh Imaging
Flickr/R’lyeh Imaging

Enjoy some spooky graveyard chills at Laurel Hill Cemetery

Saturday, October 30
East Fairmount Park
A visit to a storied old cemetery feels very appropriate right now, even better with some Halloween-centric programming. On Halloween Eve, Laurel Hill invites you to True Tales from the Tombs, featuring stories told by some famous dead graveyard residents themselves (via The Not Ready for After-Life Players). Take in the stories on a candlelit tour of Laurel Hill, then reward your bravery with some candy by the fire pits.
Cost: $12.50–$25

Flickr/Jim, the Photographer
Flickr/Jim, the Photographer
Flickr/Jim, the Photographer

Get lost among the pumpkins at Linvilla Orchards

Now through November 7
Media
About 30 minutes outside the city, Linvilla Orchards is a one-stop shop for all your festive Halloween needs. For starters, it’s home to Pumpkinland, which is just as great as it sounds, as well as apple picking and hayrides that end with cider and roasted marshmallows. It’s a great family-friendly Halloween option that won’t lead to nightmares.
Cost: $4–$15

Street Tails Animal Rescue
Street Tails Animal Rescue
Street Tails Animal Rescue

Dress up your pup for Hound-O-Ween

Sunday, October 31
Northern Liberties
Show off your pup’s Halloween style at a massive dog costume contest in Northern Liberties. The event benefits Street Tails Animal Rescue and will feature 40 “contestants” up for a myriad of prizes. Dress you and your dog up, and enjoy food and drink from El Camino Real.
Cost: Free

Celebrate the season at Boo at the Zoo

Weekends through October 31
Philadelphia Zoo
Even animals at the Philadelphia Zoo are getting in the spirit. For Halloween, the zoo is welcoming the return of Boo at the Zoo, a family-friendly event where costumes are encouraged. You can trick-or-treat your way around the zoo, which will also include a hay bale maze, pumpkin wall, and impala lawn for the occasion.
Cost: $19–$24 (free for infants)

Flickr/Tony Beverley
Flickr/Tony Beverley
Flickr/Tony Beverley

Maybe find a real ghost at Fort Mifflin

Now through October 31
Fort Mifflin
Fort Mifflin out on the Deleware River was built in 1794, and as such, it is rumored to be super haunted. Take an hour-long candlelit tour of the grounds and hear all the myths and legends of Fort’s longtime residents. Afterward, you can drown your fears at a pop-up bar courtesy of Warehouse on Watts.
Cost: $15–$20

Spend a spooky Saturday on East Passyunk Ave

Saturday, October 30
East Passyunk
Head to South Philly for Fall Fest & Spooky Saturday, where you’ll find craft vendors, grab-and-go pumpkin patches, sidewalk sales, seasonal restaurant specials, live performances, and lots of costumes to ogle at. You can also take part in a digital scavenger hunt and remember the moment in a free costume photo booth. If you have trick-or-treaters in your midst, they can go door to door to different businesses for treats.
Cost: FreeWant more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Marielle Mondon is a writer from Philadelphia. Follow her @MarielleMondon on Twitter and Instagram.

Philadelphia

Museum Exhibits in Philly to Check Out Before They Disappear

Get in some culture (and selfies) at the best art exhibits in Philadelphia.

Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney

From the historical to the artistic, Philadelphia is jam packed with museums. Art aficionados of all ages can get lost inside the likes of tourist-friendly museums like the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of the American Revolution or feast their eyes on unique exhibitions at institutions like the Fabric Workshop and Museum and the Museum for Art In Wood.

Between big-ticket exhibitions honouring the House of Mouse to collections showcasing the legacy of a prominent Black family in early America, there’s plenty of material to dig into. After you’ve planned a date night and rounded up friends to explore the city, here are the most exciting museum exhibits in Philly right now-before they’re gone for good.

Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney
Photo courtesy of Disney

The Franklin Institute

Exhibition: Disney 100: The Exhibition
Mickey Mouse, you look good for your age. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Disney is a retrospective exhibition, which got its world premiere right here in Philly. Between rarely-seen artworks and artifacts, costumes and props, and interactive installations where you can listen to hit Disney songs, the exhibit is a Disney lover’s wish-upon-a-star-come-true.
Dates: Until August 27, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Monday through Sunday. Tickets are available online and at the door.

Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS
Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS
Photo by Ramon Torres, courtesy of ANS

Academy of Natural Sciences

Exhibition: Conversations With Birds
No, not an allusion to the Eagles, this exhibition is dedicated to actual birds, their migration patterns, and humans’ relationship with avian creatures. Expect avian photography and video by local birders and wildlife photographers along with an interactive exhibit showing five migratory birds that pass through the Philadelphia region on their seasonal passage between North and South America.
Dates: Until May 21, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are available online or at the door.

The Barnes Foundation

Exhibition: Sue Williamson & Lebohang Kganye: Tell Me What You Remember
The work of two contemporary South African artists-Sue Williamson and Lebohang Kganye-are shown side by side, offering a cross-generational dialogue. Both artists utilize video installations, photographs, sculptural installations, and textiles “to consider how the stories our elders tell us shape family narratives and personal identities.”
Dates: Until May 21, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Thursday through Monday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

Photo by Jonathan Horowitz
Photo by Jonathan Horowitz
Photo by Jonathan Horowitz

Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

Exhibition: The Future Will Follow the Past: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz
Exploring the rapid change of societal issues in America since 2020-antisemitism, racial violence, immigration, women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights-Jonathan Horowitz designed installations inspired by recent occurrences. His works explore specific events like the infamous far-right rally from white supremacists in Charlottesville as well as recent themes in American history, like attacks on those within the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.
Dates: Until July 4, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Friday through Sunday. Admission is available online and at the door.

Photo by Hoda Tawakol
Photo by Hoda Tawakol
Photo by Hoda Tawakol

The Museum for Art In Wood

Exhibition: The Mashrabiya Project
The newly renamed Museum for Art in Wood (formerly The Center for Art In Wood) celebrates the rebrand with a brand new project. Focusing on mashrabiya, the traditional Islamic architectural design, The Mashrabiya Project is a first of its kind effort in the U.S. to examine this aesthetic. As a part of the larger mission, a new exhibition Seeing Through Space features newly-commissioned, never-before-seen works by six female-identifying artists.
Dates: Until July 23, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are not required.

Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o
Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o
Photo by Carlos Avenda├▒o

Fabric Workshop and Museum

Exhibition: Henry Taylor: Nothing Change, Nothing Strange
Combining painting and sculpture, Henry Taylor utilized recycled objects in this exhibition, the product of an 18-month residency. The entire second floor of the museum houses the large scale assemblages, tapestries, and textiles. Think: 30-foot billowing canvases and towering totems created from compressed blocks of paint buckets, vinyl home siding, and black plastic planters.
Dates: Until July 23, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Walk up admission is available but advanced registration is encouraged.

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition: Judith Joy Ross
More than 200 photographs from renowned portrait photographer Judith Joy Ross will be on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, chronicling her career from the 1980s to today. Her black-and-white portraits are intimate reflections of everyday Americans, and this show features work from all her major projects, plus, never-before-seen images.
Dates: April 24 to August 6, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Thursday through Monday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

American Swedish Historical Museum

Exhibition: Radically Marimekko
Famous for their bright and bold fabrics, Finnish textiles, clothing, and home furnishings, the company Marimekko is showcased at this special exhibit. Drawing attention to Finnish design, the collection traces the brand’s path from industrial art house to fashion icon.
Dates: March 30 to September 24, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Walk up admission is available.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and African American Museum in Philadelphia

Exhibition: Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America
A collaboration between the African American Museum in Philadelphia and PAFA, Rising Sun showcases new work from 20 artists examining the question of Is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy? With pieces shown in both museums, visitors can reflect on, challenge, and expand their view of democracy through art.
Dates: March 23 to October 8, 2023
How to visit: The African American Museum in Philadelphia is open Thursday through Sunday; admission is available online and at the door. PAFA is open Thursday through Sunday; admission can be purchased in advance or at the door.

Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution
Museum of the American Revolution

Museum of the American Revolution

Exhibition: Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia
James Forten may not be a familiar name within early American history, but this new exhibit at the Museum of the American Revolution is looking to change that. Telling the story of Forten and his family through 100 historical artifacts, Black Founders explores the Forten family’s roles in the Revolutionary War, business in Philadelphia, and the abolitionist movement.
Dates: Until November 26, 2023
How to visit: The museum is open daily. Admission is available online and at the door.

National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center
National Constitution Center

National Constitution Center

Exhibition: The 19th Amendment: How Women Won The Vote
That lofty document known as the Constitution and its values, interpretations, and amendments are explored in great detail at the National Constitution Center, naturally. This semi-permanent exhibit examines the 19th Amendment-the one which granted women the right to vote-and the road to its ratification. Out of the near 100 artifacts, expect to see a rare printing of the Declaration of Sentiments from the first women’s convention at Seneca Falls, a ballot box used to collect women’s votes in the late 1800s, Pennsylvania’s ratification copy of the 19th Amendment, and various “Votes for Women” ephemera.
Dates: Semi-permanent, no end date announced
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. Advanced tickets are recommended.

M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
M├╝tter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

M├╝tter Museum

Exhibition: Spit Spreads Death
Eerily topical, the M├╝tter’s latest special exhibit, Spit Spreads Death, an exhibit about the 1918 flu pandemic, opened in the fall of 2019, less than six months before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The exhibit traces the disease’s spread throughout Philadelphia neighbourhoods a century ago and how the pandemic impacted the city with artifacts like photos, newspaper clippings, and more.
Dates: Now through 2024
How to visit: The museum is open Wednesday through Monday. Advanced tickets are required.

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Allie Volpe┬áis a writer based in Philadelphia. She hasn’t slept in days. Follow her on Twitter:┬á@allieevolpe.

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