Philadelphia, PA

Dates for your diary: Halloween happenings in Philadelphia this Fall

Peter Watson

Fall is coming and with it the return of many of Philadelphia’s signature seasonal celebrations, especially Halloween happenings!

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Halloween Nights at Eastern State PenitentiaryEastern State Penitentiary

As the air grows crisp and the leaves begin to change in Philadelphia, the smells of autumn and spectacular foliage of red, yellow, and orange signal a season of incredible events.

Residents and visitors take to the streets — and beer gardens — for a multitude of outdoor fests, harvest festivals, Oktoberfests and food-centric celebrations of apples, mushrooms and pumpkins galore.

With all of the exciting happenings and flavors of the season going down before a backdrop of natural beauty on full display, autumn is the perfect time to “fall” in love with Philadelphia.

For starters, Eastern State Penitentiary is putting a twist on its long-running Halloween blockbuster Terror Behind the Walls.

Now called Halloween Nights, the festival-style event features 15 attractions of the spooky and non-spooky variety, with plenty of good food and drink thrown in for good measure.

Halloween happenings in Philadelphia this Fall

There is so much to see and do in Philadelphia this fall. Here’s a quick look!

Fall Fest, Shady Brook Farm

This massive Bucks County Farm is transformed into a fall fantasyland for the most colorful season of the year.

New to the festivities this year: an Eerie Illumination light show. As always, visitors enjoy pumpkin-picking, wagon rides, a five-acre corn maze, bonfires, live music and more.

Dates: September 11-October 31, 2021.

Pumpkinland, Linvilla Orchards

This year marks the 50th anniversary of this Media farm’s autumnal festivities. Among the offerings: pick-your-own pumpkins and apples, a jack-o-lantern exhibit, hayrides and cornfield mazes.

Guests can also buy caramel apples, fresh apple cider and delicious home-baked treats at the Farm Market; shop for fall decorations at the Garden Center, and enjoy brews made using products grown on the farm at the Ship Bottom Brewery Beer Garden.

Dates: September 11-November 7, 2021.

The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular, Sesame Place

Silly (not spooky) fun is the order of the day at the only theme park in the nation based entirely on the long-running children’s television show.

Guests are encouraged to dress in costume to trick or treat around the park, enjoy Halloween-themed shows and partake in a Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt, pumpkin decorating and more.

Dates: On select dates, the park hosts a Not-Too-Spooky Halloween Drive-Thru, complete with music, lights, treats and character appearances. September 18-November 7, 2021.

Halloween Nights, Eastern State Penitentiary

A bold new iteration of Eastern State’s famed Halloween celebration, Halloween Nights is a festival-style event made up of 15 attractions, including two haunted houses, which can be bypassed by those who want a less scary experience.

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Halloween Nights at Eastern State PenitentiaryEastern State Penitentiary

Also on tap for this year: four immersive walkthrough experiences, two live performances, four themed bars and lounges, and special effects like laser shows and large-scale video projections.

Dates: September 24-November 13, 2021.

Scarecrows in the Village, Peddler’s Village

During an eight-week scarecrow competition and display, more the 100 scarecrows line the pathways of this popular Bucks County shopping and dining destination.

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Scarecrows in the Village, Peddler’s VillagePhoto courtesy of Peddler's Village

Participants enter their stuffed creations in one of seven categories, and visitors are invited to vote for their favorite entry.

Dates: September 6-October 30, 2021.

Spooky Twilight Tours, Betsy Ross House

The Betsy Ross House in Old City is a Philadelphia landmark, purported to be the site where the seamstress lived when she sewed the first American Flag.

The building was built more than 250 years ago, and it is believed that Betsy Ross lived there from 1776 to 1779.

The Old City attraction is offering Spooky Twilight Tours on nights leading up to Halloween.

At the pint-sized home of the nation’s famous flag maker this October, visitors hear true tales about smallpox and yellow fever in the courtyard before heading inside to continue their gruesome tour.

Dates: Fridays, October 8-29.

Henri David Presents: Halloween the Ball

Philadelphia’s longest-running Halloween tradition returns each year for more than 50 years with a spectacular array of costumes and guests!

One of the year’s most colorful gay parties in Philadelphia takes place on Halloween night.

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Philadelphia s most colorful Halloween bashHalloween the Ball

Host and Antique Row jeweler Henri David has presided over this glorious bash since its humble start in 1968 — his costume is always the evening’s big reveal — although his guests’ getups certainly offer competition.

Today, it is considered a staple of LGBTQ life in Philadelphia.

Celebrate a night full of fantasy, horror, originality and of course, complete decadence.

Contest at Midnight for:

  • Most Hysterical
  • Most Original Couple
  • Most Sensual Fantasy
  • Most Horrifying
  • Most Believable Female Impersonator
  • Most Beautiful Female Impersonator
  • Best Celebrity Lookalike
  • Most Unbelievably Spectacular

The party takes place at Philadelphia 201 Hotel from 9pm on Halloween night.

Dates: October 31, 2021.

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Peter Watson is a writer, photographer and adventurer. A keen trekker and climber he can usually be found on the trails of the Greater Ranges. He’s visited over 80 countries and is currently focused on climbing the seven summits – the highest mountain on every continent. Four down, three to go... He has also travelled extensively around the US developing a penchant for American backcountry, abandoned buildings and natural wonders en route.

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