12 ways to celebrate Halloween in the Valley

Above: Head over to Tolmachoff Farms in Glendale to enjoy a mini maze, petting zoo, jumping pillow, and a bounce house. Lifestyle | 25 Oct |

While Halloween is a little less than a month away, these family-friendly events are getting into the holiday spirit early with pumpkin patches, hayrides, trick or treating, costume contests and plenty of festive photo opportunities.

Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival

This hot air balloon festival is made for families looking for a fun, different way to trick-or-treat this year. There will be over 20 hot air balloons glowing throughout the night that serve as trick-or-treat stops to gather a part of the 4,000 pounds of candy that will be available. There will be nightly costume contests for kids, adults, and groups or families; entering the contests gives you the chance to receive a trophy and a $100 VISA gift card. Be sure you don’t leave too early because there will be a firework show at the end of each night.

See the festival from a different view — Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Ride Co. will be hosting tethered balloon rides. These tickets are sold separately at the festival.

Information: Oct. 25 and 26 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Admission is $15 for adults (ages 13+), $10 for children (ages 3-12), and free for children two and under.

Vertuccio’s Corn Maze and Fall Festival

Vertuccio Farms is home to a seven-acre corn maze, mini-golf, giant jump pad, mini zip line, pumpkin bowling, animal area and more.

Information: Through Nov. 3. Admission is $10 per person and children two and under are free.

Mother Nature’s Farm Pumpkin Patch

Go grab a pumpkin ranging from 1 ounce to 500 pounds and stop to take a few Instagram photos while you’re at the farm. Explore the maze and feed the animals or have fun on a hayride or spider web crawl.

Information: Everyday through Oct. 31. Admission is $5 for adults and $10 for children.

Arizona Harvest Fest and Farmers Market

If you’re looking for a fun fall activity while on a budget, the Harvest Fest is free and is hosting activities such as a pumpkin toss, pumpkin pageant, and a pie eating contest. It also gives you a chance to check out local artisans’ work and pick fresh produce.

Information: Nov. 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Howl-O-Ween at the Phoenix Zoo

The zoo is calling out to everyone this Halloween season. Whether you like “scary or merry” activities, they have something for you. Scary activities include watching videos of paranormal activities and a “Toxic Trail” of flesh-eating zombies, while merry activities feature a character meet and greet and a science lab for fun experiments.

Information: Oct. 25 and 26 from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Admission is $12.95 general, $9.95 for members, children under two are free.

Schnepf Farms Pumpkin and Chili Party

For the foodies in Arizona, Schnepf Farms has several chili dinners, burgers, and sandwiches, as well as activities like hayrides, a roller coaster, and live music and entertainment.

Information: Every Thursday through Sunday through Oct. 27. Admission is $22 plus tax at the gate or $19 if you buy tickets online. Children under two are free.

Tolmachoff Farms

Head over to Tolmachoff Farms in Glendale to enjoy a mini-maze, petting zoo, jumping pillow, and a bounce house. If you feel like you’d like to be frightened this year, be sure to go on one of the nights throughout October and check out their Haunted Corn Maze and Field of Screams.

Information: Every Wednesday through Sunday through Nov. 4. Admission is $12 and children under two are free.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden Costume Contests

Love dressing up? These costume contests based on crowd participation have competitions for kids, adults, groups, and even pets. If you’re feeling really competitive, enter into a pumpkin pie eating contest too. Don’t leave without adopting a pumpkin that comes complete with a birth certificate, and sign-up for a carving experience with a world-renowned pumpkin carver. 

Information: Oct. 18 through 27. Admission is $10 per person Monday through Thursday and $15 per person Friday through Sunday. Children under two are free. Parking is free.

Pumpkin Patch Train at the Grand Canyon

Head out to this secret pumpkin patch near the Grand Canyon only accessible by train to pick out a pumpkin that you’ll be able to decorate. Wearing costumes is encouraged!

Information: Trains depart at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. on weekends throughout October. Admission is $29 for adults (ages 16+), $22 for children (ages 2-15), and free for children under two.

Dia De Los Muertos at Desert Botanical Garden

Visit the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden to celebrate Dia De Los Muertos. This two-day festival will have music, dance, and storytelling to learn what this holiday is all about. There will be crafts and face painting, and a procession through the garden to honor those who have passed.

Information: The Dia De Los Muertos Celebration is Nov. 2 and 3. The Ofrenda Exhibition is from Oct. 25 through Nov. 6. Admission is $24.95 for adults, $12.95 for youth (ages 3-17), and children under three are free. 

Mesa Arts Center Dia De Los Muertos Festival

Grab some delicious traditional food while viewing the different ofrendas, or altars, that families have created to honor their late loved ones. There will also be a crafts and jewelry market with live performances and family activities.

Information: Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Oct. 27 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission and parking is free.

Dia De los Muertos Phoenix Festival

Decorate sugar skulls and have your face painted before participating in the remembrance procession at sunset to pay homage to the departed.

Information: Oct. 27 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Steele Indian School Park.

Enjoy a Spooky Cocktail for Halloween

For those who are over 21 and looking for something to do, be sure to taste Blue Clover Distillery’s new Halloween-inspired cocktail, the Blue Goblet finished off with a blood red sugar rim. Then head to Undertow and try one of their signature drinks, like the Ultimate Sacrifice, Dead Eyes or Never Drink from a Skull.

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