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The 11 Best Halloween Events in Phoenix in 2017

Expect to encounter zombies, ghouls, and ghosts around the Valley during Halloween weekend.EXPAND
Expect to encounter zombies, ghouls, and ghosts around the Valley during Halloween weekend.
Benjamin Leatherman
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The Halloween season has no shortage of fun. For some, it’s all about costumes and candy. Others are more into the party scene — or the scary movies, crafty pursuits, ghost stories, and haunted houses.

In other words, there's a lot to see and do this time of year, and most of it centers around All Hallows Eve.

The next couple of weeks will be the busiest, as everyone gears up for the holiday. As such, Halloween-oriented events will take place throughout the Valley.

We’ve assembled a list of some of the best, including happenings where you can don a costume, score some candy, hear scary stories and spooky tales, act like a zombie, or just celebrate the season.

The late Edgar Allan Poe.
The late Edgar Allan Poe.
Edwin H. Manchester/via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, October 20, through Tuesday, October 31
Hotel San Carlos and The Rosson House

The wicked words of the legendary Edgar Allan Poe will be celebrated in theatrically macabre fashion happening across two nights at spooky locales in downtown Phoenix. Classically trained performers will portray inmates of a Victorian-era insane asylum while acting out scenes from such infamous Poe tales as The Cask of Amontillado, The Premature Burial, The Tell-Tale Heart, and The Masque of the Red Death.

Performances of the aforementioned stories will take place on Fridays and Saturdays from now until October 30 inside the Ghost Lounge at the Hotel San Carlos. Times and ticket prices vary. Seances will be conducted on October 21 and October 28. As is the norm for each PoeFest, The Raven will be recited every 20 minutes from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Halloween night at the Rosson House. Admission is $10. Passes covering every performance are also available for $49.95 to $79.95.

F.A.B.R.I.C. Halloween Masquerade Ball
Saturday, October 21
F.A.B.R.I.C. in Tempe

The Arizona Apparel Foundation and local fashion-oriented incubator and co-op spot F.A.B.R.I.C. are putting on this high-style affair, which will feature a Halloween fashion show from sexy costume company Yandy. There will also be roaming costumed performers, live music, multiple bars, and fashion vendors. Those who spring for the VIP admission can also partake in hors d'oeuvres and a costume contest for prizes. The masquerade begins at 7 p.m. General admission is $20, VIP access is $100.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Saturday, October 21
Alamo Drafthouse in Chandler

Of course there's a showing of the infamous 1975 cult film starring Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon, complete with all the trappings (including costumes, crazy fun, and transsexual Transylvanians). Expect all the usual zany activities of a Rocky Horror screening on Saturday, October 21, when local shadowcast troupe Frankie's Fishnets hosts a special screening at the Chandler location of Alamo Drafthouse. The screening starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $14 and include swag.

Kabarett: Bizarre Noir
Thursday, October 26
Valley Bar

Collaborative music and arts ensemble Kabarett, which is overseen by local musician Christopher Norby, will present this spooky and moody show. Described as a “weird show for the witching season,” it will include a variety of Halloween-themed songs, scary tales, covers of film scores, and other sounds, all of which will be performed by a cadre of local performers and synchronized with scenes from classic movies.

Kabarett’s lineup includes such local artist and musicians as Kristilyn Woods, Monique Reina, Rocco Belsito, Phoenix New Times contributor Henri Benard, Corey Gomez, and Megyn Neff. A costume contest and performances by comedian Anwar Newton and DJ Ill Chapo will also take place. The show starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

The 11 Best Halloween Events in Phoenix in 2017EXPAND
Rose Torres

A Vampire Tale
Thursday, October 26, through Saturday, November 4
Phoenix Theatre

Scorpius Dance Theatre will once again stage this evocative and provocative work, which was penned and produced by Lisa Starry. This sensual yet scary show involves an innocent ingenue who's led astray into the seductive underworld of vampires. A graceful array of talented performers executing modern dance moves and arresting aerial maneuvers are a part of the production, which has been taking place annually for almost a decade.

The production will take place inside Phoenix Theatre’s Hardes Theatre. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. from October 26 to 28 and November 2 to 4. Matinees will be offered on at 2 p.m. on October 28 and November 4. Tickets are $25.

Storyline Slam: "Haunted"
Friday, October 27
Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix

Local storytellers will serve up true tales of a twisted and terrifying nature during this slam-style event organized by The Storyline Collective. Yarns will last six minutes, with the audience awarding points for each. At the end, a cash prize will be awarded to the best teller. The stories start at 7 p.m. Admission is $6 in advance, $8 at the door.

Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28
Phoenix Zoo

For two days, the zoo will transform into a Halloween wonderland of activities and distractions geared toward kids and those young at heart.

Events at Howl-O-Ween will fall into two categories: scary and merry. The former includes a number of haunts set up around the zoo, each featuring its own theme (such as "House of Voodoo," “Area 51,” and “Walking Dead Way”). Meanwhile, "merry" activities will include psychic and tarot readings, an extinct animal graveyard, the "Boo Ball" dance party, an arcade, and various games.

The festivites run from 6 to 10:30 p.m. each night. Admission is $9.95 for zoo members, $12.95 for the general public. Certain activities and attractions (such as "Shipwreck Bay" and the "Scare"ousel) will require an additional fee. Full details can be found at the Phoenix Zoo website.

Salt River Fields Balloon Spooktacular
Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28
Salt River Fields in Scottsdale

A flotilla of more than 20 hot air balloons will light up the night during this annual family-friendly Halloween event. Ditto for the fireworks displays that will take place both nights. There will also be tethered balloon rides to enjoy, a haunted trail to traverse, and more than two tons of candy handed out to trick-or-treaters.

Live music, vendors, food and beverage, a kids zone, and other fun will be part of the event, which runs from 5 to 10 p.m. each evening. General admission is $15. Admission for kids 3 to 12 is $10, and children 2 and under get in free.

Cave Creek Wicked
Saturday, October 28
Downtown Cave Creek

The particular vibe of this 13-hour Halloween extravaganza on Saturday, October 28, depends entirely on what time you attend. From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., it will focus on more family-friendly activities like a pet costume contest, arts and craft demos, costumed bike ride, and other fun. There's also the chance to ride along with other cyclists on the bike pub craw from 2:30 to 6 p.m.

After dark, however, things become more adult-oriented with a bar crawl starting at 7 p.m. that will include stops and costume contests at five Cave Creek bars and haunts, including the Buffalo Chip, Harold’s Corral, and the RoadHouse. The entire event is free and full details are available online.

Undead versions of the Belcher family from Bob's Burgers at Zombie Walk 2016.EXPAND
Undead versions of the Belcher family from Bob's Burgers at Zombie Walk 2016.
Benjamin Leatherman

Phoenix Zombie Walk 9
Saturday, October 28
Downtown Phoenix Warehouse District

It wouldn’t be Halloween weekend in the Valley without this popular staple of the season that involves hundreds of wannabe zombies stumbling and staggering around downtown Phoenix. The pre-party kicks off at 3 p.m. and will include live entertainment, music, food trucks, a “zombification station,” kid zone, and costume contest.

KUPD personality John Holmberg will sport makeup and a costume while serving as the walk’s grand marshal. Bars will be set up for those of legal drinking age, and the post-walk festivities go until 11 p.m. General admission is $10; children 12 and younger get in free. See the event website for more info.

Haunted Phoenix Bus Tour
Saturday, October 28
Downtown Phoenix

Want to bone up on some local lore? More to the point, some of the Valley’s more infamous ghost stories? Marshall Shore, known as the “hip historian,” will conduct a few bus tours of notorious haunts, hotels, and other spots around downtown Phoenix that are reportedly haunted or sites where unlucky souls have met untimely ends.

Each tour begins at The Clarendon Hotel and will hit up such locales as Pioneer and Military Memorial Park, the First Baptist Church, and the San Carlos Hotel. While the first tour of the day is sold out, there are two more scheduled to take place in the late afternoon and early evening. It’s $30 for the 3 to 5 p.m. tour and $35 for the 5 to 7 p.m. jaunt.

PHX DOWNTEMPO’s Mario Kart Halloween Adventure Ride
Monday, October 30
Phoenix Civic Space Park

Mario Kart is one of the most beloved cartridges on the old-school Super Nintendo (just ask anyone who waited for hours to get their hands on that pint-sized version of the 16-bit gaming system last month). So we’re willing to bet there will be plenty of folks dressing up as characters from the game for this Mario Kart-themed bar crawl that will utilize bikes.

Participants are encouraged to dress as Mario, Luigi, Bowser, or any other character from the game. Some may even bring along some banana peels or blue turtle shells. The ride will depart from Civic Space Park at 7 p.m. and stop at several bars throughout the downtown area. It’s free to participate.

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