Halloween tends to be a pretty popular time of year in Utah, and for good reason. To start, the surrounding landscape begins to look downright idyllic: beginning in the canyons and wending its way down to the valley, the colors ultimately land in piles of dead leaves that blow through the streets just in time for trick-or-treating. Plus, we typically get at least a few good rainstorms and a handful of dark, dreary days, which always lends nicely to the spooky mood.
It’s also a pretty great place to be, thanks to the many Halloween-related events that happen throughout the month. There are a TON of fun options, and a quick Google search will prove useful, but we thought we’d highlight just a few of the best options, since we’ve still got a couple weeks left of spooky activities. Most of them are perfectly appropriate for both kids and adults, but some are pretty intense…we suggest you check the websites to be sure.
Haunted Houses: Classic for a season. Come September, SLC has no shortage of proper haunted houses (one even includes its own free shuttle, the Zombie Bus) that sprout up throughout the valley. Spots like Nightmare on 13th, Fear Factory, Asylum 49, Castle of Chaos, Shadows of Fear, etc. are well worth visiting for those who love a good jump scare. These are decidedly not recommended for kids, and even adults should prepare to be frightened via varying levels of participant engagement…Utah takes its haunted houses pretty seriously.
Boo Lights/Howl & Growl: A Hogle Zoo event for the whole fam. Throughout October, after most animals hit the proverbial (wait...the literal) hay, thousands of animal-shaped lights wake up. It’s a not-too-spooky way to get some zoo time with the wee ones and enjoy some Halloween fun. On Mondays, go for Howl & Growl, when they add trick-or-treating (and a few more activities) to the BooLights ticket.
BrewLights: This is another Hogle Zoo event based on Zoo Brew, a weekly themed party running through the summer where visitors get to drink adult beverages after hours while supporting animal conservation. There are sips from local breweries, small bites, and wildlife. And on October 18th, it becomes “BrewLights: Trunks & Treats,” from 6:30 to 9:30pm. No guarantees on which animals will be “out,” as it’s bedtime, but visitors can count on Zoo Brew-only animal encounters and no kids (this event is 21+ only).
Evermore Park: An immersive Halloween experience, to say the least. Located in Pleasant Grove, this is where you come to interact with characters, see performances, do some trick-or-treating, and plenty more. Think: Halloween festival filled with shows, games, themed shops, and then some. Visitors can also get a ticket to Lore, which is reported to “take the scare up several notches,” and book a ride on the Evermore Express, which offers a unique look at the village alongside a ghost story.
WitchFest (Gardner Village): From mid-September through October, Gardner Village becomes something of a haven for sirens and conjurers. WitchFest offers activities like scavenger hunts, paint nights, the express train and tractor-pulled wagon nights, an escape room, face painting, a 5-course meal and tribute to Edgar Allen Poe, and “Witches Night Out.” Visit the website for tickets and a complete list of offerings.
Boo Fest (Guadalupe neighborhood): A friendly neighborhood party that was started by two residents of the area, this spooky gathering has grown considerably over the last 4 years. Case in point: a handful of local businesses now sponsor the event, including Mountain West Hard Cider, Rocky Mtn. Power, Mark Miller Subaru, Koyote, and the Fairpark Community Council (where you can find information and updates). Hosted this year on Oct. 28th, from 5:30 to 10:00pm at the Nelson Wheeler Whipple House (564 W. 400 N.), it’s a totally free event where visitors can expect trunk or treating, a costume contest, live music AND a D.J., tarot readings, and even a beer garden.
Frightmares (Lagoon): From September 8th to October 29th, Lagoon transforms into a Halloween wonderland of sorts. It’s all decorated to suit, of course, but you can also expect scary character interactions and a handful of haunted rides in the park. And for those who prefer to steer clear of anything unnerving, there’s a designated “no scare” zone for kids and glow sticks can be purchased for $1 to indicate that you’d rather not engage in the spooky stuff.
Frights Under Lights (Living Planet Aquarium): During the day this time of year, the aquarium becomes Halloween on the High Seas, complete with an interactive pirate experience for the kids. But after hours (from 6:30 to 10:00pm) on October 27th, they also host Frights Under Lights, wherein attendees are encouraged to dress up, bring comfy blankets or chairs, and watch a Halloween-themed light show. The event also includes aquarium access from 6:30 to 8:30, trick-or-treating, illuminated stomp lights, and food trucks prior to the light show.
Pumpkin Days (Wheeler Farm): Think super wholesome, fall-time fun. This 75-acre working farm is great to visit at any time of year, and Pumpkin Days is no exception. The event includes a maze and play land, corn pit, duck races, hex climbers, and pedal tractors for the kids, but visitors can also take advantage of the pumpkin patch for photo ops (or pumpkin purchases).