It’s finally October, and while Central Texas may not get to experience the stereotypical joys of fall, we can take the full month to celebrate my favorite holiday: Halloween.
Think it’s too soon to get your spook on? Think again. Here are some ways you can get in the haunted holiday spirit right now.
HIT UP A PUMPKIN PATCH
Sure, there are gourds aplenty at your local grocery store, but going out to a farm for fall fun will make you feel much more festive.
Barton Hill Farms in Bastrop has a corn maze, pumpkin picking, music and more than 30 other activities as part of their fall festival on Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 5. $14 admission, plus extra for pumpkins and face painting. 1115 FM 969, Bastrop. bartonhillfarms.com
At Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls, you can pick a pumpkin, go on a hay ride, make your own scarecrow, tackle the Texas maze and more, daily (except Wednesdays) through Nov. 5. Cost varies per activity. 1801 FM 1980, Marble Falls. sweetberryfarm.com
And at the Robinson Family Farm Pumpkin Patch in Temple, enjoy a hay maze or corn maze, bounce houses and more on Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29. $10 wristbands for all activities, or purchase individual tickets; pumpkins cost extra. 3780 White Owl Lane, Temple. therobinsonfamilyfarm.com
DARE TO WALK HAUNTED PATHS
October offers the full range of frightening experiences, whether you’re brave enough for a horrific haunted house or just looking for tame scares.
The House of Torment has been scaring us (or, in some cases, scarring our psyches) for 15 years. This year’s frightful festivities include “three unprecedented haunt attractions, a dark carnival with freak show performances, and an extended themed food menu that will include beer and wine for the first time ever,” according to a news release. That’s right: You can imbibe before subjecting yourself to chainsaw-bearing clowns. House of Torment is open nightly through Halloween (closed Oct. 9) and into November. $19.99-$32.99. 2632 Ridgepoint Drive. thehouseoftorment.com
Not quite up to that level of fright? Check out the Haunted Halloween trails at Pioneer Farms. There are three options each night: one for the youngest little ghouls, another with some spooky surprises and “a scary, scary trail for the adventurous.” There will also be storytellers, food and drink, and music. The trails are open 7 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 13-28. $15. 10621 Pioneer Farms Drive. pioneerfarms.org
And if you’re looking for all treats and very few tricks, Boo at the Zoo may be for you. Dress up and enjoy the nocturnal animals at the Austin Zoo as well as a spooky train ride and other Halloween-themed activities. 6:30 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 28. $17.50. 10808 Rawhide Trail. austinzoo.org
DRIVE IN FOR FRIGHTENING FLICKS
Sure, you could just stream a scary movie at home, but things always seem more frightening on the big screen.
For October, Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In in Manchaca is becoming a Halloween Haunted Drive-In with a creepy setting and a monthlong roster of favorite films for all ages, including “Poltergeist,” “Teen Wolf,” “Silence of The Lambs,” “Hocus Pocus,” “The Exorcist,” “Ghostbusters,” “Shaun of the Dead” and, of course, “Halloween.” 12419 Lowden Lane. bluestarlitedrivein.com/home-austin
FIND SCARES ONSTAGE
Even the arts community gets creepy in Austin in October. Here are some Halloween-themed theater, comedy and musical performances coming up this month; get your tickets now before they disappear like a … well, you know.
“Vampyress.” This Gothic opera, a tale of horror and magic, chronicles the downfall of Erzsebet Bathori, the Bloody Countess, who gained infamy upon murdering hundreds of young women and bathing in their blood to sustain her youth and beauty. 8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday through Oct. 21, with additional performance 8 p.m. Oct. 18. $15-$35. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. 512-478-5282, vortexrep.org
“Woman in Black.” Penfold Theatre Company, 7 Towers Theatre and Austin Scottish Rite Theater present this spine-tingling stage thriller that has been haunting London’s West End for 28 years. A man who believes his family has been cursed enlists the help of a skeptical young actor to tell his terrifying tale. Various dates and times Oct. 13-30. $18-$30. Austin Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. 512-850-4849, penfoldtheatre.org
“Death by Musical.” This completely improvised campy horror musical is inspired by irreverent comedic musicals like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Evil Dead: The Musical,” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” Every week, a new performance will be improvised before your eyes, complete with singing, screams, dancing, (fake) blood and a smoke machine. 8 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 28. $15. Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave. hideouttheatre.com
“Comedy Séance.” Join your host, Satan (Norman Wilkerson), as Austin comics come together to roast dead performers. Past “honorees” have included David Bowie, Amelia Earhart and Edgar Allan Poe. This year’s performers include 2017 Funniest Person in Austin Enzo Priesnitz, Joe Hafkey, Carina Magyar, Nick Saverino, Mike Macrae, Katie Pengra, Adam Hrabik and Vanessa Gonzalez. 7 p.m. doors Oct. 29. $10. Spider House Ballroom, 2908 Fruth St. 512-480-9562, spiderhouse.com/ballroom
Halloween Children’s Concert 2017. Dress up in your Halloween costume and listen to music from the Austin Symphony, including “Peter and the Wolf” and the theme from “Jaws.” 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Oct. 29. $14-$19. Austin ISD Performing Arts Center, 1925 E. 51st St. austinsymphony.org
SHARE YOUR PHOTOS
What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid? Or perhaps you have fond memories of your child at one particular Halloween? We’d like to hear your stories and see your pictures. Send a brief description and high-resolution photo to firstname.lastname@example.org by Oct. 18; we’ll share some of these in print and online.
And, of course, we can’t forget our furry friends. What’s more funny than a cat in a pumpkin costume? Please share photos of your favorite costumed critters with us as well.