Halloween Guide

A Guide to Halloween-themed Activities in the St. Louis Area

This coming Monday (October 31st) will be Halloween! Since the holiday will fall on a Monday, that means that this weekend will be filled with Halloween activities across the St. Louis area.

Depending on how long you have been in the U.S., you may already be somewhat familiar with American Halloween traditions. Halloween is associated with ghosts and witches and other scary themes (all in good fun of course!), and some people even adorn their houses and yards with spooky decorations this time of year. The most well-known Halloween tradition is “trick-or-treating,” where children dress up in costumes and go from house to house collecting candy from neighbors. However, children aren’t the only ones to enjoy Halloween fun or to dress in costume for this special day. You may have been invited to a Halloween-themed party this weekend, or you might decide to check out one of the many Halloween events taking place in and around St. Louis:


Though costumes are generally optional, whether you’re going to a Halloween party at a friend’s house or attending one of the events mentioned below, you will likely notice that many of the people in attendance are dressed in costume. Though it’s not required, dressing up can bring out the Halloween spirit and add to the fun.

Although Halloween has a spooky theme, Halloween costumes don’t necessarily have to be scary. Often the more creative a costume is, the better. You can look at photos from last year’s Halloween Party in the Central West End for ideas and inspiration. (Pets – yes, pets! – and children in costume take up the top half of the page; scroll down further for adults in costume.)

Ready-made costumes and accessories can be purchased at many stores this time of year, including large department stores such as Target and Walmart. In addition, many costume stores open up only during the Halloween season. Of course, if you are creative, you can also make your own costume. Check this guide for a list of Halloween specialty shops in the St. Louis area.

Halloween in the Central West End

If you decide to dress up in costume (or even if you decide not to) you might want to head over to the Central West End (just on the opposite side of Forest Park from the WashU’s main campus, on Euclid Avenue) for St. Louis’ biggest and most well-known Halloween party and costume contest on Saturday, October 29th. Children and family activities take place during the day, but starting at 6:00 p.m. it becomes an adults-only party, with a costume contest as the main event. Anyone may enter the contest, and cash prizes are awarded for best costumes. Admission to attend the events is free, but there is an entry fee to compete in the costume contest.

Haunted Houses

If you like to be scared, you might enjoy a visit to one or more of the local “haunted houses” that open for the Halloween season. Sticking to the Halloween themes of the spooky and macabre, commercial haunted houses are set up in a variety of locations, from warehouses and old buildings to outdoor locations such as corn mazes or even an amusement park. Visitors move from one scary scene to the next while actors in costumes and makeup do their best to make the guests scream. Haunted houses can be a lot of fun, but they are not for the faint of heart. Admission fees vary. Click here for a list of links to popular haunted houses in the St. Louis area.

Pumpkin Patches

A favorite Halloween tradition is the carving of pumpkins to make Jack-O’-Lanterns. Part of the fun is in going and picking out the perfect pumpkin. Visiting a local pumpkin patch, where you can literally pick your own pumpkin out of the field makes for a fun, family-friendly activity. More than just a field of pumpkins, commercial pumpkin patches generally provide a number of other family-friendly Halloween-related activities as well. For more information, check out this list of local pumpkin patches.

Other Halloween Activities

The Halloween holiday provides a great backdrop for fun parties and other activities. For an even broader choice of options for the Halloween weekend, the Riverfront Times publishes a more comprehensive list of activities taking place in St. Louis.