Jack-o-lanterns

Halloween 2019

Parties, Events and Things to Do

T​oni Cuenca

We’re quickly approaching everyone’s favorite holiday—Halloween! The kids and adults are planning their costumes, stocking up on bags of candy and asking, “What are we going to do?” Well, in Memphis there are plenty of both kid and adult-centric activities to choose from this Halloween to make your trip extra spooky. From traditional trick-or-treating, pumpkin patches and hayrides to cemetery tours, haunted houses, and scary movies.

Head down to Beale Street on Halloween night in your best costume to compete in contests held at the various clubs with the winners from each club competing for the grand prize on stage in Handy Park at midnight.

Historical Haunts offers haunted bus tours, haunted pub crawls and ghost hunts year round thanks to our resident ghosts at the Woodruff-Fontaine House, Maley Manor, and Ernestine & Hazel’s to name a few. Check their calendar for listings.

At Priddy Farms families can roam through 24 acres of fields, pumpkins, and crops, partaking in fall activities including hayrides and pumpkin picking. Bring some old clothes and make your own scarecrow! Families are welcome to enjoy the farmland with fall sights and scents. Picnics are encouraged and younger children can ride on a mini train, play on swing sets and slides. 

The Mid-South Maze at the Agricenter International is challenging enough on a sunny day, but teens and adults especially love the haunted nights in the maze. Expect to get lost, and spooked by people in costumes hiding around every turn. The Mid-South Maze also offers Haunted Hayrides which are not quite as scary and a better option for the younger set. 

Sponsored by LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, Zoo Boo at the Memphis Zoo is always a hit with ghosts and goblins of all ages. Candy stations are set up all over the grounds and there are hayrides, straw mazes, magic shows and costume contests to boot. There are seven nights of fright from 5:30-9:30 pm on the last two weekends in October. 

Another great family-friendly event is Flick or Treat Movie Night at the Memphis Botanic Garden. Gates open at 5:00 pm with trick or treating in the My Big Backyard Exhibit until 7:00 pm. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” shows at 7:15 pm. At 7:45 pm, venture through the woods and into the land of the dead with Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride.” Kettle corn, food truck concessions, photo opportunities, and adult “spirits” will be available throughout the evening. 

Let’s not forget the flipside of Halloween. The Dia de los Muertos Parade & Festival on October 27th starts in the Tower Courtyard in Overton Square at 11:00 am with floats and performers making their way to the plaza at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art at 11:45 am. Then at noon, there is a community celebration with art-making activities, face painting, music, costumed performers, dance performances and more! Join the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, along with Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group and Danza Azteca Quetzalcoatl de Memphis for this free annual event, where families are invited to honor ancestors and celebrate the cycle of life and death. 

Those looking for a little history lesson to go with their candy bars will enjoy “The Soul of the City: Elmwood Rises” on October 26th and 27th. This event will introduce you to some of the storied folks buried in the historic Elmwood Cemetery. Meet them. Hear from them. Learn about the past, the story we all share. The gate opens at 5 pm both nights, and you’ll be transported back in time shortly thereafter. This is a two-hour walking tour, so dress appropriately. 

Those who REALLY want to be scared should check out the largest and most disturbing indoor Haunted House in Memphis called Wicked Ways, located in the Broad Avenue Arts District. This year’s theme is centered on underground military bio-hazard research laboratories. The over-the-top action and ghastly butchery won’t be believed, so prepare yourself! Open on weekends starting September 29, all proceeds go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.