My family is comfortably settled into the school year routine, the weather’s getting colder, the leaves are changing….and I just impulse-bought a stuffed scarecrow for my yard from Target. AKA–it must be Halloween time in the ‘Burgh!
I have put together this 2015 Halloween in Pittsburgh Family Guide to help your family plan your Halloween activities this October. I have included special Halloween-themed events at museums, parks, concert venues, libraries and more. In case you have bigger kids, I have also included a section on haunted houses and other scarier events. If you are looking for information on Fall activities (hayrides, pumpkin patches, fall festivals, etc) please check out my recent 2015 Fall Activities in Pittsburgh Family Guide.
I begin this guide with indoor Halloween events at some of the more well-known special venues in the city (organized by date). Costumes are encouraged at ALL of these events:
Ghost Stories with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust–October 10
Hear renowned storyteller, Alison K. Babusci, share her popular kid-friendly ghost stories program at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Education Center from 12-1 p.m. Intended for children 5 and older with a caregiver. Event is free, but advance registration is requested here.
Ghouldilocks and the Three Scares by the Gemini Children’s Theater–October 10, 17 and 24
The Gemini Children’s Theater presents its original production of Ghouldilocks and the Three Scares for children ages 2-8. Tickets are $8 and the show takes place at Latitude 360 in Robinson at both 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. each day.
Vegan Trick-or-Treat–October 10
As part of this year’s Pittsburgh Vegan Festival, there will be vegan trick-or-treating from 3 to 4 p.m. Children should bring their own treat bags. Advance registration requested here. Adults must pay festival admission ($5) but admission and trick-or-treating is free for kids 16 and under.
Owl-O-Ween at the National Aviary–October 17, 24 and 31
The National Aviary celebrates Halloween at its annual free (with admission) Owl-O-Ween event, where kids can visit with nocturnal birds, learn about creepy-crawly insects and trick or treat from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Also, a new offering this year is an all-ages Owl Pellet class following Owl-O-Ween each day for $5. Advanced registration for Owl Pellet class is requested by calling 412-258-9445.
Disney in Concert: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas–October 21
One of Tim Burton’s most celebrated films, The Nightmare Before Christmas will be projected on the big screen with dialogue and effects–accompanied by Danny Elfman’s score played by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. According to the website “Audiences will follow Jack Skellington, Halloween Town’s resident Pumpkin King, through his adventure to Christmas Town, where residents are preparing for the upcoming, cheerful Christmas holiday.” Tickets start at about $25.
Spooky Science Sleepover at the Carnegie Science Center–October 23
The Carnegie Science Center hosts a spooky overnight sleepover each October. Highlights include live spooky science demos, a family Halloween laser show, an Omnimax show, a late night snack and a continental breakfast. Advance registration required by calling 412-237-1637 and the event costs $35/person.
Family Halloween Laser Shows at the Carnegie Science Center–October 9-31
The Carnegie Science Center is offering its annual Family Halloween Laser Show with spooky music, scary guests and dancing. Cost is $2 for members and $8 for nonmembers. No advance registration required.
Annual Member’s Spooktacular at the Children’s Museum–October 23
The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh celebrates Halloween at its annual Member’s Spooktacular, where museum members are invited to trick-or-treat through the museum while participating in a costume parade, Halloween-themed activities and art projects, etc. Admission is free for members. Guests of members are welcome to attend at $12/person. Reservations are required. Please click here to RSVP or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Halloween Mayhem at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater–October 24
The Kelly Strayhorn Theater celebrates Halloween at its annual pay-what-you-can Halloween Mayhem event featuring zombies, a costume parade, a puppet show, crafts, games, live performances, seasonal refreshments and more. Event takes place from 12 to 4 p.m. and reservations can be made here.
Kid City Rockers Halloween Dance Party–October 24
DJ Kelly Mom will spin two sets of your favorite goth music at this family-friendly indie dance party. There will be a full bar and food menu. A limited number of tickets are on sale now at http://
Times: 3-6 p.m.
Cost: Adults $5, Kids Free
Location: The Allegheny Elks Lodge # 339, 400 Cedar Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Halloween Fun Cruise on the Gateway Clipper Fleet–October 24
The Gateway Clipper Fleet celebrates Halloween at its Halloween Fun Cruise featuring a costume party with a crew of monsters, prizes, dancing and sweet treats. Adults tickets are $25 and children’s tickets are $12. Cruise times are 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Creepy Crawly Carnegie Days at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History–October 24-25
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History celebrates Halloween at its Creepy Crawly Carnegie Days event from noon to 4 p.m. Kids can go trick-or-treating through the exhibits, hear spooky tales from around the world and learn about creepy creatures. Also, if they come dressed in costume, they will receive a small prize. All activities included in the price of admission. No masks or backpacks.
Monster Mash at La Tavola Italiana–October 25
Mt. Washington’s La Tavola Italiana is hosting a family-friendly Monster Mash with dinner, dessert, treat bags, crafts, costume contest and a dance party. Tickets are $30 for adults and kids are free. Purchase tickets here.
Boo To You Too! at the Children’s Museum–October 30
The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is hosting a sensory-friendly Halloween party featuring trick-or-treating through the museum, Halloween crafts, DIY face-painting and more. Advance reservations required. Ticket price is $9.
Halloween Happenings at Phipps Conservatory–October 30
Phipps Conservatory celebrates Halloween at its annual Halloween Happenings event, where kids can trick-or-treat through the Conservatory, collect healthy snacks and participate in kid-friendly activities throughout. Also, Halloween Happenings is a fantastic time to explore the very short Fall Flower Show at Phipps. Activities take place from 4 to 8 p.m. and are included in the price of admission.
Freaky Friday at the Upper St. Clair Recreation and Community Center–October 30
The Upper St. Clair Recreation and Community Center is hosting a Freaky Friday event. From 10 to 11 a.m. there will be a free costume parade with trick-or-treating and from 6 to 8 p.m. there will be a Scary Swim and Crafts Event, which costs $5 for non-members.
Also, the Carnegie libraries will host a number of free Halloween events this month:
The West End branch of the Carnegie library is hosting a hands-on science exploration of the life cycle of a pumpkin on the evening of October 21.
The Lawrenceville branch of the Carnegie Library is holding a Halloween party on the evening of October 27 with crafts and activities starting at 6:30pm and a magic show starting at 7pm.
For the full list of Halloween events at the Carnegie libraries, click here.
The Allegheny County libraries also offer a TON of free Halloween-themed events. Here’s the link to find more info about them.
There are a number of opportunities to have crafty, creative Halloween fun in Pittsburgh this year:
Haunted Birdhouses at Lowe’s Build and Grow Workshop–October 10
Kids can build a haunted birdhouse at Lowe’s hands-on workshops for children. All materials and instructions provided.
Youth Make Monstrous Mash-Ups at the Children’s Museum–October 16
The Children’s Museum will be hosting an evening maker party for ages 10-15, where youth will combine different materials and processes to create unusual monsters. Price is $10 for nonmembers and $8 for members and parents are not required to attend. Advance registration required.
Halloween Make-It-Now Evening at the Pittsburgh Glass Center–October 23
Families can stop in to the Pittsburgh Glass Center to make fused pumpkins or pendants.
Family Canvas at Kiln N Time–October 24
Kiln N Time in Lawrenceville will be hosting a Halloween-themed family-friendly canvas event.
Open Studio at Pittsburgh Center For the Arts–October 31
The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts will be holding a special Halloween edition of its Children’s Open Studio Program from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Kids ages 5-10 can be dropped off at any point during that time frame to create Halloween-themed art. Cost is $10 per hour.
Gander Mountain–October 31
Participating Gander Mountain locations are offering a free kids Halloween workshop with crafts, activities and more from 10-2pm.
Paint Monkey–throughout October
Paint Monkey is offering several all-ages Halloween-themed events in October at its Lawrenceville location. Dates are October 4, 10, 25 and 31st.
Painting with a Twist–throughout October
Painting with a Twist’s Pittsburgh franchises are offering a variety of all-ages Halloween-themed events in October. Dates are: South Side-October 11; Wexford-October 11, 17 and 24; Mt. Lebanon-October 10, 22, 24 and 25; Robinson-October 3, 12, 18, 25 and 31.
Fired Up Pottery Studio–throughout October
Fired Up Pottery Studio in McMurray is hosting several kid-friendly Halloween-themed events in October including a Mommy-and Me vampire plate class on October 6, haunted house canvas-painting class for kids on October 8 and a mummy fused glass plate class for kids on October 18.
Michael’s Craft Stores–throughout October
Participating Michael’s craft stories will be offering some Halloween-themed creative activities, including a pumpkin-making family craft class on October 3 and several other Halloween-themed Saturday crafting classes throughout the month of October. More information at link above.
The South Hills Snapology location is holding a Lego-based, Halloween-themed special program for children ages 5-12 on Friday evenings throughout October. The Monroeville location is also offering a Halloween-themed program on October 24.
There are also some mildly spooky outdoor adventures that would be appropriate for littler kids:
Bump in the Night at Frick Park–October 16-17, 23-24
The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy celebrates Halloween at its annual Bump in the Night event in Lower Frick Park. Families will take a guided nighttime hike to see and learn about nighttime animals, carve a pumpkin, participate in a sing-along and enjoy refreshments. Event costs $15 for adults and $12 for children. Advance registration requested. Intended for children ages 3-9 years old with caregivers.
Eat N’Park Zoo Boo at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium–October 17-18, October 24-25
Each year, the Pittsburgh Zoo hosts its well-loved Zoo Boo Halloween event where children can trick-or-treat through the zoo, participate in a costume parade and contest, visit the mildly scary Docent Haunted House and Gymkhana’s Haunted Hideaway and many more activities. All festivities are included in the price of admission.
Campfire Ghost Stories with the Allegheny County Parks Department–various dates
The Allegheny County Parks Department is holding a free outdoor Campfire Ghost Stories program at several of the county parks. Families can watch a park ranger build a campfire, listen to scary stories and get a surprise. Dates are: Hartwood Acres-October 16, Settlers Cabin Park-October 17, Harrison Hills-October 23, White Oak Park-October 24, Boyce Park-October 30.
Pumpkin Decorating Walk with Venture Outdoors–October 18
Families can take a guided hike through the pumpkin patch at North Park, followed by snacks and pumpkin decorating. Great for children ages 0 to 8. Members pay $15, nonmember adults are $20 and kids are $10. Each attendee gets a pumpkin.
Creatures of the Night at Beechwood Farms and Nature Reserve–October 23-24
Beechwood Farms in Fox Chapel celebrates Halloween at its annual Creatures of the Night event, where a costumed firefly leads families on a guided night-time hike through the nature reserve. Along the way, kids will find larger-then-life costumed creatures that read stories, do tricks, etc. Snacks and crafts are included. Tickets are $6 for Audubon Society members and 10$ for nonmembers. Register in advance.
Ghost Stories and Campfire Hike with Venture Outdoors–October 24
Families can take a guided two-mile hike through Moon Park, then roast marshmallows over a bonfire and listen to family-friendly ghost stories. Cost is $10 for adults ($6 for members) and $5 for kids. Advance registration required.
Unspooky Night Hike at the Outdoor Classroom–October 24
The Outdoor Classroom celebrates Halloween at its annual Unspooky Night Hike where families can take a guided nighttime hike under the light of the moon! Adult tickets are $6 and child tickets are $8.
Haunted Guyasuta–October 24
Camp Guyasuta in O’Hara Township offers its annual Halloween event, featuring a hayride, nature hikes, climbing wall, pumpkin patch, bonfire and zip line (for those over age 11). Trail will be non-scary from 3-6pm and scary from 6-9pm.
Venture Outdoors Tombstone Geocaching at Homewood Cemetery–October 31
Families can collect tombstone rubbings along this spooky geocaching course in Homewood Cemetery near Frick Park. Adults are $12 and children are $5, with discounts available for members.
Venture Outdoors Tyke Hike Halloween Party–October 31
Venture Outdoors celebrates Halloween at its final kid-friendly Tyke Hike for the season. Families will take a hike through Schenley Park and then participate in Halloween-themed crafts and trick-or-treats! Hike costs $5 and advance registration is encouraged.
Color Crawl: Halloween Edition at Upper St. Clair Community and Recreation Center–October 31
The Upper St. Clair Community and Recreation Center is hosting its 1st annual Color Crawl, where families can run or walk two miles while being doused with color! Pre-register at the Community & Recreation Center, or register on the day of the event.
And some Halloween events at cool venues a little further from the city:
Pumpkin Trolley at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum–October 9-11, 16-18, 23-25
The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, PA hosts its annual Pumpkin Trolley this month, featuring trolley rides to the pumpkin patch and fall activities.
October Night at the Zoo at Living Treasures Animal Park–Thursdays through Saturdays in October
Both the Moraine and Laurel Highlands locations of Living Treasures Animal Park celebrate Halloween at the October Night at the Zoo event–with only torches to light the walkways as you visit with many unusual nocturnal animals.
Hallowboo at Idlewild Park-Saturdays and Sundays, October 3-25
Enjoy Halloween and Fall-themed fun at Idlewild Amusement Park. There’s trick-or-treating, costumed characters, Halloween entertainment PLUS many of the regular season rides are open too!
Depreciation Lands Museum Family Lantern Tours–October 17 and 24
Take a family-friendly guided tour of the Museum and cemetery by lantern light with tales of superstitions and customs from the past, a visit from “The Deacon,” the Museum’s resident ghost, and enjoy cookies and hot cider. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children.
Haunted Attractions Appropriate for Older Kids
There are also a variety of scarier, haunted attractions for the bigger kids. Note: many of these facilities recommend that children be at least 13 years of age or older to participate. Also, many of these facilities offer more expensive VIP passes to allow patrons to cut past the long general admission lines.
- Terror Town: Terror Town is an underground haunted attraction located centrally in the Strip District.
- The Scarehouse: Reportedly one of Pittsburgh’s most popular haunted houses, The Scarehouse is located in Etna and now offers shuttle service from the Pittsburgh Zoo.
- Phantom Fright Nights at Kennywood Park: Enjoy Kennywood Amusement Park with a variety of haunted features and scary rides.
- Haunted Hills Hayride and the Valley of Darkness Haunted Walking Trail: Enjoy two haunted experiences in North Versailles–a haunted hayride and a walking trail. Benefits the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and the Spectrum Charter School.
- Hundred Acres Manor: A very popular haunted house located in South Park with six attractions, including a plummeting elevator, maze, torture chamber, fall-out shelter and even a zombie paintball experience for the truly brave. Benefits the Animal Friends and Homeless Children’s Education Fund.
- West Deer Nightmare Haunted House: Tour the possessed home of Noah Hobbs, criminal mastermind, in West Deer.
- The Beacon Corn Maze and Haunted House: Located in Renfrew, the Beacon is a 15-acre haunted corn maze and a tractor ride to and from the Haunted House. Sundays are NO SCARE days from 1-4pm for smaller children.
- Zombies Of The Corn: Like the Walking Dead? This Cranberry PA paintball facility gives you a chance to battle the zombies of the corn maze.
- Lonesome Valley Farms: Located in Greensburg, this haunt has two haunted attractions plus a non-haunted huge corn maze.
- Mischief Manor: Located in Elizabeth, Mischief Manor includes a haunted house plus carnival-like games, music, campfires and movies on weekend nights.
- Demon House: Located in Monongahela, Demon House includes a haunted house, outdoor movie theater, campfire rings and music.
- Lincoln Caverns Ghost and Goblin Tour: Take a haunted tour of a cavern, trek through the woods and take a scary hayride at this Huntingdon destination.
- Other options: Freddy’s Haunts and Hopewell Haunted Mini Golf in Aliquippa; Allen’s Haunted Hayrides & Tavern of Terror in Smock and Cheeseman Fright Farm in Portersville.
And if you are interested in taking a historical ghost tour of Pittsburgh, check out these ideas:
- Haunted Pittsburgh Tours: The Haunted Pittsburgh tour guides take visitors on many different ghost tours throughout the city, including some at local cemeteries.
- Pittsburgh Terror Trolley: Molly’s Trolley hosts “Terror Trolley” tours during the month of October, which takes visitors throughout the city on a ghost tour.
- Pedal Power Ghost Tours: Offering pedal-powered trolley ghost tours.
- Bushy Run Battlefield’s Haunted History Tour: The Bushy Run Battlefield historic site offers its annual haunted history tour, exploring the history of the Pontiac War through scary stories and a haunted hayride.
And, there are a few ways to get even MORE candy at these additional trick-or treating options at local malls and shopping centers:
- Annual Halloween Walk at Robinson Town Center–October 24
- Spooktacular at the Shoppes at Caste Village–October 24
- South Park Shops Halloween Spooktacular–October 24
- Mall-O-Ween at the Century III Mall–October 29
- Trick-or-Treating at the Waterfront–October 29
- Trick or Treat at the Pittsburgh Mills–October 29
- Mall-Wide Trick or Treat at the Ross Park Mall–October 29
- Halloween Trick Or Treat Night and Boo Bash at South Hills Village–October 29
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