Nine Ways To Have A Spooktacular Austin Halloween

Face it: you’re too old for trick-or-treating. As much as you looooooove free candy, at your age, going door to door dressed as your favorite superhero comes off creepy, unless you have kids — and even then, it’s a little strange.

To that end, here are 9 Halloween happenings that will help you to get your spooky on without weirding out your neighbors.

Rock out to Neon Trees at ACL Live’s Zombie Masquerade Ball

Zombie Ball 2012. Video: YouTube user Dawson Smith

For the past five years, Austin City Limits Live and Mix 94.7 have joined forces to gift Austin with an annual zombie-themed masquerade ball and concert held at the Moody Theatre. This year’s event has everything you could possibly want on Halloween: killer bands like Neon Trees and T Bird & the Breaks, a burlesque show, aerial acrobatics, and even a costume contest that will crown two guests as King and Queen of the Zombies. They don’t call this “The Party To Die For” for nothing!

310 W Willie Nelson Blvd. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets $35-65. Buy ticketsWebsite.

Brave the longest and fastest zipline in Texas. IN THE DARK.

Picture this. But at night. Video: YouTube user MicBergsma

Are you afraid of heights? Do you feel paranoid when you’re alone in the dark? There’s no better time to face your fears than on Halloween night! While everyone else in ATX is partying hard, Lake Travis Zipline Adventures will have you suspended hundreds of feet in the air, speeding into darkness by the light of the full moon on the longest and fastest zipline in Texas. Talk about thrills and chills!

14529 Pocahontas Trail (Leander). Glowsticks and headlamps provided. 512-614-1996. Tickets $98 each (buy two get one free). Buy Tickets. Website.

Give our beloved Dog & Duck a weepy farewell

We’ll miss you, Dog & Duck. Video: YouTube user Stephanie Vela Anderson

If you caught our recent article about The Dog & Duck Pub, then you know that this legendary Austin watering hole will be closing its doors on November 1 since the building’s leaseholder wants to tear down and rebuild the structure. The pub might be reopening soon, but not for a while, so make sure to drop by on Halloween to get closure.

406 W 17th St. 512-479-0598. Open Fri 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Website.

Row Lady Bird Lake — in costume!

Will you win the Rowing Dock costume contest? Video: YouTube user Fox Beaumont

You read that title right. If you saunter up to Rowing Dock wearing your Halloween costume on Oct 31 or Nov 1, the popular boat rental company’s going to give you a free second hour boat rental or a buy one get one free first hour rental. Think about what that means. You might get to row or paddle Lady Bird Lake dressed as Yoda. Just how many Austinites do you think have done that?

2418 Stratford Dr. 512-459-0999. Kayaks, canoes, SUPs, and paddleboats available. $10-30 per hour. Open Mon-Sun 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Website.

Brave the House of Torment

Will you survive? Video: YouTube user America Haunts

Widely known as one of the scariest haunted houses in the United States, Austin’s very own House of Torment is freakishly scary. Utilizing highly-conditioned athletes and big budget horror film techniques and costumes, House of Torment is not for the faint of heart. If you’re up for 20,000 square feet of terror on Halloween night, give it a shot. Or don’t. Hey, we’re not judging.

523 E Highland Mall Blvd. 512-407-9449. Tickets $29. Open 7 to 12 a.m. Buy TicketsWebsite.

Play haunted arcade games

Pinballz Arcade has more than 200 arcade games! Video: YouTube user Texas Bucket List

This year, Pinballz Arcade is going all out for Halloween. They’ve put together quite the holiday affair, which will not only feature a fully decorated 13,000 square-foot gaming area, but also “haunted” games, free drinks from Austin Beerworks, and a costume contest. If your costume rocks the competition and impresses celebrity judge Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies, you might just win a $100 arcade certificate. That’s a lot of Pac-Man, folks.

8940 Research Blvd. 512-420-8458. Admission is free. 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Website

Nom Halloween treats at Gourdough’s

This year’s party is Gourdough’s second festive bash. Video: YouTube user Hungry Nation

Forget Halloween candy. No, really — forget it, because all the only treats you really need on Halloween night are donuts! This Friday, Gourdough’s is transforming its look for an evening to host its 2nd Annual Creepy Carnival Halloween Party, complete with a circus tent, sideshow performers, a “freak show” photo booth, karaoke, a costume contest, classic carnival games, and all of the most wonderful eats in the world: popcorn, cotton candy, frito pie, and of course, Gourdough’s donuts.

2700 S Lamar Blvd. 512-912-9070. Admission is free. 7 p.m. Website.

Drive-in to see Beetlejuice

Seeing a movie at Blue Starlite is like taking a ride on a time machine. Video: YouTube user Anthony Montemayor

All month long, Austin’s “mini urban drive-in boutique,” Blue Starlite, has been showing Halloween-themed movies. Well, on Halloween night, they’re screening Beetlejuice, an old school horror comedy you’ve probably never heard of but should’ve. Spend your Halloween at Blue and you’ll get that feature film, along with a Peanuts holiday pre-show screening and car-to-car trick or treating (be nice and bring some candy to share).

1901 E 51st St. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $5-25. Buy Tickets. Website.

Explore Austin’s supernatural side

In this video, KEYE reports on Austin Ghost Tours. Video: YouTube user brianbell512

If there’s nothing you’d rather do on Halloween than hear ghost stories, then two Austin companies can hook you up: Austin Ghost Tours and Haunted ATX. Both companies run tours in downtown Austin, where a surprising number of buildings are rumored to be haunted. The difference is that Austin Ghost Tours conducts tours on foot, while Haunted ATX spirits customers around the city in a 1992 Cadillac Hearse — so it’s really just a matter of deciding whether you’d like to meet Casper on foot or in a funeral limo.

Austin Ghost Tours: 90-minute “Friday Night Fright” tours begin and end at 303 Red River St. 512-853-9826. Tickets $20. Buy Tickets. Website.

Haunted ATX: 2-hour tours begin and end at 701 W 51st St. 512-632-8693. Adults $39, $35 children 12 and under. Buy Tickets. Website.

Whatever your flavor of Halloween entertainment, you know that Austin has you covered — and so do we! From all of us here at, have a safe and happy Halloween.


Featured image: Flickr user Artiom P, creative commons licensed