Cheap thrills for Halloween in Indy

By Melissa Brummett and Jimmy Feichtner

It’s October and with the crisp, autumn air also comes Halloween.  From parties to pumpkin carving, here are some fun things for everyone to enjoy in the Indianapolis area this month:

  • Howl-O-Ween:

This Oct. 31st marks the 10th Anniversary of Howl at the Moon’s Howl-O-Ween celebration. The bar will be decorated as a haunted house and partygoers will have their choice of drink specials including “buckets of ooze.” There will be costume contests with $500 in cash and prizes for the best get-ups.

“This year, we will also be debuting a candy bar because we’d rather you come party with us than go trick or treating,” said Mackenzie Hines, promotion specialist.

The piano show starts at 6 p.m. October 31st at Howl at the Moon.  Doors open at 5 p.m. and the costume contest will start around 11 p.m.

  • Vogue Zombie Prom

Got a taste for brains? The Vogue is hosting its annual Zombie Prom. This 21 and over affair will feature a full day of zombie-themed events with music, dancing, beverages and of course brains. The events will continue until the Zombie Walk at 7 p.m. followed by the Zombie Feast and finally the Zombie Prom at Vogue Theatre. Admission is $5.

Date: Oct. 25

  • Music of the Night / Skeletons in the Closet:

Enjoy listening to the Phantom of the Opera concert in the Historic Gothic Chapel at Crown Hill Cemetery before heading on a walking tour in the graveyard to visit the graves of famous Indianapolis residents including three of the four Indy 500 founders.

The concert/tour combo first started in 2007 and Crown Hill Tour Coordinator Marty Davis said tickets sell fast and to get yours early.

Concert/tour dates: Oct. 16-18, 23-25. Cost: $15-20.

  • Zoo Boo:

This family-friendly event at the Indianapolis Zoo has been a staple every fall since 1982. Some popular activities include face painting, dolphin adventure shows and elephant pumpkin smashing. Little ones are encouraged to dress in a costume where they can trick-or-treat.

Public Relations Specialist Melanie Laurendine said, “We have added an extra weekend this year for guests to come enjoy our ‘spooktacular’ fun. Families can go head-to-head on our new Brain Freeze Game Show or race through Broomstick Alley in addition to our fan favorites from previous years.”

The zoo opens at 9 a.m., but the Halloween fun lasts from 2-7 p.m.

Dates: Oct. 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 24-26

  • Hanna Haunted Acres:

Like horror films and haunted houses? Then Hanna Haunted Acres is for you. You can ride the Haunted Hayride through the woods filled with monsters, visit the 7,000 square foot maze featuring props directly from the movie Saw, visit Scarecrow’s Revenge: the haunted corn maze, visit Carnevil where clowns have been taken over by demons and many more horrifying attractions.

Dates: Every weekend and some week days from Sept. 26 - Nov. 1. You can check their schedule and purchase tickets at

  • Headless Horseman at Connor Prairie:

History buffs take notice. Connor Prairie will be transformed into Halloween-themed Connor “Scary” for its 31st year. This festival will feature dozens of events throughout October.

“The whole idea behind it is that it’s a family fun festival. It’s not a slasher barn, blood gore-styled Halloween event. It’s much more suited for families –for young kids as well as old,” Director of Programs Chris Pitrelli said.

The main event is a spooky hayride detailing the legend of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Other events include a Headless Horseman puppet show, palm readings, face painting, various games, crafts, dance contests, karaoke and performances by several Halloween-themed monsters that will compete to become the mayor of Connor Scary.

  • Historic Irvington Halloween Fest

This year will mark Irvington’s Historic Halloween Festival’s 68th anniversary. The festival is said to be one of the oldest ongoing Halloween festivals in the country. Irvington has a multitude of events for both young and old. “There’s just a really good selection of events for adults and children throughout the week,” event director Tara Elder said.

The affair will feature numerous events including puppet shows, ghost tours, pumpkin carving contests, a squeaky organ concert, a zombie bike ride and much more. There will be a beer garden featuring local brews like Sun King for adults, and a kid’s zone with games and concerts for children. The closing of the week will end with a three and five mile run on Pleasant Run followed by the annual Halloween Street Fair, which will feature a number of vendors. Expect traditional fair food along with 16 food trucks. Be sure to bring your best costume for the costume contest. All proceeds will go towards the Historic Irvington Community Council

Dates: Oct. 18 – 25 daily

  • Haunted Dash and Bash

If staying healthy is a priority despite the copious amounts of candy available, check out the  new Haunted Dash and Bash at Indiana State Fairgrounds. Presented by, the Dash and Bash is a Halloween-themed foot race meant to elevate the heart rate in more ways than one. With 10 scare stations setup over a 3.1 mile track, participants should expect the unexpected. The idea was developed based on people’s reactions at haunted houses. 

“Anytime you’re at a haunted house you always want to run anyway,” said Dan O’Connor, event coordinator. “You start to get scared, the group bunches up and it’s fun. So just a combination of that and getting an opportunity to scare the athletes is fun.” Attendants will be able to run in various races from family-focused to competitive timed events. After the races, attendees can eat caramel dipped apples and chili while enjoying a costume contest and live DJ.

Date: 5p.m. Oct. 18