The bewitching hour is upon us and Halloween in West Michigan is creeping around the corner. On October 31 little monsters, ghouls, ghosts, superheroes, warrior princesses and ninja turtles will hit the pavement to fill their buckets with tasty treats, but before All Hallow's Eve, there are multiple family-friendly, and adult-only, Halloween activities happening around the Grand Rapids area.
Location: John Ball Zoo
Dates: October 21-23 and October 28-30
Time: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
The West Michigan community is invited to go "Boo" at the zoo this Halloween season. For the past 20 years, Zoo Goes Boo has taken place at John Ball Zoo in various forms. This year, kids will be able to trick-or-treat at 20 booths around the zoo, and enjoy music, giant inflatables, magicians, stilt walkers, contortionists, a drum-along drum circle, and a comical graveyard with ghosts, witches and aliens. The entertainment will be different every day during the two weekends of Zoo Goes Boo.
Photo courtesy John Ball Zoo
Location: Downtown Market Grand Rapids
Dates: October 22-23
Time: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Visit the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids to watch professional pumpkin carvers turn ordinary pumpkins into stellar sculptural works of art. Throughout the weekend, kids can enjoy face-painting and design their own mini pumpkin to take home, all for free. Families will also have the option of purchasing pumpkins at the pumpkin patch and take them into the banquet room where the market will host free family carving stations. For those 21 years or older, the Market Bar will be serving pumpkin beer.
Image courtesy Downtown Market Grand Rapids
Location: Starts and finishes at Sixth Street Bridge
Date: October 22
Time: 6:30-7:15 p.m. (wave start)
Similar to a scene out of "The Walking Dead," runners in The Zombie Dash have a singular mission: Survive. (Crossing the finish line is a bonus). Participants in the three-mile Zombie Dash will be members of a small group of survivors on a scouting mission with the objective of exploring an urban quarantine area under the cover of darkness. Can you survive the hoard of 300 zombies taking over the streets of Grand Rapids?
Photo courtesy The Zombie Dash
Location: Van Andel Arena
Date: October 23
Time: 12-4 p.m.
Van Andel Arena has been providing entertainment for West Michigan audiences for the past 20 years. To celebrate this milestone, the venue is hosting a special Halloween-themed open house that is free and open to the public. The first 5,000 people will receive a free hot dog, popcorn and Pepsi, and the first 2,000 people will receive a 20th birthday cupcake. There will also be costume contests, a live DJ, trick-or-treating, treat bag decoration stations, Halloween photo booths, ticket giveaways and self-guided tours of the arena.
Location: Grand Rapids Children's Museum
Date: October 27
Time: 5-8 p.m.
Little ghosts and goblins are invited to the Grand Rapids Children's Museum for a night of Halloween fun at this special trick-or-treating party. At Trick or Treat at GRCM, kids will decorate treat bags and spooky art projects, experiment with "monster slime," and trick or treat throughout the museum. The candy collection doesn't have to stop at the GRCM though. The GRCM has partnered with Vault of Midnight and several other businesses along Monroe Center St. NW, which will be staying open later on October 27 with treats for the kids. Be on the lookout for orange balloons at the designated trick-or-treating locations.
Photo courtesy Grand Rapids Children's Museum
Location: Grand Rapids Art Museum
Date: October 29
Time: 12-4 p.m.
As the name implies, this could be the seriously most amazing Halloween party of all time for people of all ages. This spooktacular event will feature trick-or-treating in the galleries of the GRAM, art-making and story time. Scheduled for 2 p.m. is the Seriously Amazing Costume Show featuring 20 kids from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Grand Rapids program showing off costumes they've created in collaboration with professional designers from across West Michigan. If that's not enough, guests will also be free to explore the museum's latest exhibition, Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion.
Photo courtesy Grand Rapids Art Museum
Location: Stella's Lounge/The Waldron Public House
Date: October 29
Time: 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
There's no need to travel to the Upside Down to enjoy the creepy sights and sounds of Halloween this year. You only need travel to the Stranger Things-themed Halloween party at Stella's Lounge. During this free, no-cover event for the 21+ crowd, The Back Room of Stella's will be decorated to look like the Upside Down, and the first two floors of The Waldron Public House will be the mirror image of the Hawkins, Indiana forest and Byers Home (respectively) from the popular Netflix show. Stranger Things related beverages and food specials will also be available throughout the event.
Image courtesy Stella's Lounge
Location: 2070 Waldorf NW, Grand Rapids
Date: Open through October 31
Times: Thursday and Sunday (and on Halloween) 7:30-9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 7:30-11:30 p.m.
No list of Halloween activities in West Michigan would be complete without The Haunt. Over the past 16 years, The Haunt has terrified more than 350,000 people throughout the attraction's 20,000-square-foot compound of fear. Aside from the wicked main attraction filled with ghastly monsters and other horrors, guests are invited to stumble through ABANDONED, an outdoor attraction in which your only guide is the moonlight (if there even is any). Guests can also explore an expanded 3D maze. As The Haunt's website suggests, bring a friend. You don't want to do this alone.
Photo courtesy The Haunt