Vaccines are plentiful, available, and almost available to kids under 12, which makes this Halloween much different than Halloween 2020 when we were told not to trick-or-treat and to avoid most of the Halloween events that are so quintessential with the season. No, things are not totally safe yet, but they are safer. Cases are dropping and we are more aware of the precautions that are necessary if we want to spend time with friends or family. In other words, with the right precautions, Halloween celebrations can be safe.
There are many spooky events happening throughout the Philadelphia region as we creep up on Halloween and Halloweekend 2021, including haunted houses, scarecrow festivals, scary tours, pumpkin-focused events, and more.
Here’s the best ways to spend your Halloweek.
Philadelphia COVID-19 safety guidance
The city recommends that you avoid crowds, but, if you do encounter crowds, mask-wearing for all folks two and up is highly suggested. Frequent hand washing (or use of hand sanitizer) is also encouraged. It’s important to remember that outdoor Halloween activities are safer than indoor events, and for any indoor gathering you should wear a mask.
Masks are required in public indoor spaces throughout Philadelphia, unless everyone indoors is vaccinated. Additionally, many indoor Halloween attractions outside of the Philly area are requiring masks for all guests.
Trick-or-treating is largely safe since it takes place outdoors, but those giving out candy should not let trick-or-treaters into their house and should avoid allowing trick-or-treaters to crowd their door. Try putting candy out individually on a table outside of your home or on a stoop. Trick-or-treaters should go house-to-house in small groups and should try not to crowd those giving out candy.
Lastly, if you feel sick, stay home.
As of now, the forecast for October 31 is looking ideal for outdoor Halloween activities. The temperatures are expected to be in the low 60s and there is currently just a small chance of rain on the holiday. Rainy weather is predicted on Friday and Saturday. Be sure to keep an eye on the forecast as the date gets closer.
Scarecrows in the Village at Peddler’s Village 🎃
(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly / free) They’re back. One hundred sets of straw-stuffed outfits line the walkways of Peddler’s Village, vying for your vote in hopes of coming home on Halloween with $500 tucked into a back pocket of their scarecrow khakis. Ages 2+. (Free, through Oct. 30, Routes 202 & 263, Lahaska, peddlersvillage.com)
Eerie Illuminations, Shady Brook Farm 🎃
(Seasonal / in-person / multiday / kid-friendly) After dark, Bucks County’s Shady Brook offers wagon rides past Halloween lights, a corn maze by bring-your-own flashlight, haunted barn, bonfires, and live music on weekends. Ages 4+. ($20, free under age 2, select dates, through Oct. 30, 931 Stony Hill Rd., Yardley, shadybrookfarm.com)
Adult Trick or Treating at Chaddsford Winery 🍷
(Seasonal / in-person) It’s all treats at this adults-only Halloween event. Make your way through Halloween-themed wine pairing stations as you sip and enjoy the beautiful views of the Chaddsford Winery. Ticket prices include access to the wine tour and a themed wine glass to take home. ($35, Sat.-Sun. through Oct. 31, 632 Baltimore Pike, ticketleap.com)
Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary 👻
(Seasonal / in-person / multiday / family-friendly) Eastern State Penitentiary’s Halloween event is new and improved with festival-style programming featuring 15 attractions throughout the grounds. There are two haunted house options for more fearless guests, along with plenty of entertainment for kids and those looking for a less scary experience. No matter how much fright you like, you can take in live performances, special-effects shows, and stop by Halloween-themed bars. ($34 general admission, select dates through Nov. 13, 2027 Fairmount Ave., easternstate.org)
» READ MORE: Things to do in Philly this week
Halloween attractions in Philly
Haunted houses, ghost tours, and other Halloween pop-ups are back throughout Philly to help you celebrate the season. We’ve got a rundown of Halloween attractions in the city, so it’s easy to get your celebrations started.
If you’ve got kids, check out the not-family-friendly Fright Factory in South Philly, which promises three very scary themed areas within the converted warehouse or try some Spooky Mini-Golf at Franklin Square, or head to the Philadelphia Zoo in costume for Boo at the Zoo, the zoo’s annual family-friendly Halloween celebration, or join in Morris Arboretum’s 14th annual Scarecrow Walk
If you want a spooky museum experience, Visit the Betsy Ross House for after-hours, Friday night tours that focus on Philadelphia’s ghastly history of infection, inoculation, bloodletting, yellow fever, and smallpox during the 18th century, check out Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary with 15 spooky attractions of all different scare levels, including new options for kids, check out the Franklin Institute’s Franklin Fright Weekend, with trick-or-treating, buggy visitors from the Insectarium, eye and heart dissections, and other new spooky live science displays from Dr. Franklinstein, or check out after-hours pop-ups at the Mütter Museum
If you want a drink, stop by Nightmare Before Tinsel, a Halloween-themed bar.
Halloween attractions outside of Philly
Beyond city limits, there are Halloween drive-thrus, sure-to-make-you-jump haunted hayrides and walks, kid-friendly scarecrow festivals, and more events that are all ideal for October celebrations. At many of these spots, you can pose for pictures with pumpkins, get an apple cider donut, and take in all that fall has to offer. At others, you can be truly scared to the bone with ghoulish attractions that are probably too scary for kids.
Where to celebrate Halloween outside of Philly:
For serious scares, visit Glen Mill’s Bates Motel and Haunted Attractions, where you can explore seven rooms in the motel, take a half-mile stroll through a walk-through path with scary props and sets, or play laser tag-inspired Zombie Hunt; check out New Jersey’s Creamy Acres Farm’s Night Terrors with haunted hayride, a scary outdoors walk-through, and a Haunted Paintball Hayride where you fight off hordes of zombies, among other frights; go to BloodShed Farms Drive-Thru, which is a 20-minute gory ride from the (relative) safety of your own car; head to Sleepy Hollow Haunted Acres for more haunted fun; visit Jason’s Woods, with five terrifying walk through experiences near Lancaster; or test your mettle with Field of Screams in Mountville, with one experience so terrifying, you have to sign a waiver.
For something more family-friendly, head to Peddler’s Village for its Scarecrow Festival, complete with dozens of decorated scarecrows throughout the grounds; check out Linvilla Orchards’ Pumpkinland for its hayrides, a corn maze, and a jack-o-lantern exhibit; go to Sesame Place for its Not-Too-Spooky Halloween Drive-Thru; head to FallFest at Shady Brook Farm, with pumpkin picking, a light show, and haunted barn; take in Six Flags Great Adventure Fright Fest; or drive through Wagner Farm Arboretum’s Brite Nites display of jack-o-lanterns.
Explore haunted Philadelphia
Many of the nation’s firsts happened in the Philadelphia region — the first library, the first home of the President, the first African American church, the first hospital, the oldest continuously occupied street in the U.S — which means our area is rich with history, and old history at that. If you believe in ghosts, it’s plausible to imagine there are some sort of 18th century spirits still wandering our streets.
Where to go to see ghosts: While we can’t guarantee you’ll see a ghost, the tours and stories at these supposedly haunted spots are enough to make a chill run up your spine.
Visit Laurel Hill Cemetery, where some 77,000 people are buried
Fort Mifflin describes itself as one of the most haunted places in the US
Graeme Park is known for its reports of paranormal activity
Or any one of the spots on our list of the most haunted places in the region, from the Shore to Valley Forge.
» READ MORE: A guide to haunted places in the Philadelphia region
Take a stroll through a cemetery
The cemeteries throughout the region are beautiful, interesting, and full of opportunities for guided or self-guided tours. They’re worth visiting all year round, but they’re especially worth visiting during the Halloween season when many host Halloween celebrations or opportunities to learn about those buried there and the history of the grounds.
Where to explore:
Visit Christ Church Burial Ground in Old City, which is Benjamin Franklin’s final resting place
Take a long walk through the tree-shaded Woodlands in West Philly, where you’ll find richly detailed headstones and towering monoliths.
Head to Darby to take a stroll through one of the country’s first Black-owned cemeteries, Eden Cemetery.
Our complete cemeteries guide has a dozen spots for a fright, or just a nice contemplative fall walk.
Go pumpkin picking
Pumpkin picking and Halloween go hand-in-hand, and there are many place where you can go to pick pumpkins to bring home for carving and painting. Bonus: Many of these spots also have non-scary hayrides, seasonal snacks, and corn mazes. Our complete guide has 24 spots where you can spend a nice fall day outside, and head home with some pumpkins, pies, or both.