Ann Arbor is abuzz this October with many spectacular, spooky Halloween-themed activities. These Halloween happenings are geared toward all ages, with some events better suited for the kids, while others cater to the whole family.
The festivities kick-off this weekend with “Pumpkins, Lanterns, and Leaves” at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens on Friday, Oct. 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. Get into the spirit of the holiday by carving pumpkins and making masks while wearing a costume. A parade of lanterns will cap off the night. This event costs $12.50 to attend and registration is required.
Friday’s not the only day to appreciate the haunted holiday this weekend. Cobblestone Farm, located at 2781 Packard Rd., is hosting their Hallow Harvest on Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. Children can take part in a scavenger hunt, as well as a variety of other fall-themed games. Cost is $5 per family or $2 for adults and $1 for kids.
The final week of October brings even more spooky fun to the neighborhood.
Heading into the Halloween-weekend, Zingerman’s Deli will host a “Halloween Hootenany” on their patio on Thursday, Oct. 26., from 4 to 7 p.m. Dress as a classic ghost or ghoul, come as your favorite superhero, Disney princess, or movie character, whatever you decide, all participants will enjoy pumpkin drawing, cookie decorating, face painting, music and more as part of this spooky celebration. This event is geared towards children 12 and under. Snacks are provided and it costs $8 for kids to attend. Admission is free for parents.
“We have been doing the Zingerman’s Deli Hootenany for around 10 years. Creating a space for kids to come out and dress up in their full costume, have fun with other kids, eat some great food and even get a little spooky is what it is all about. It’s also a great place just to have fun while you’re eating a family dinner. Where else do kids get to eat dressed up like dinosaur?” says Rodger Bowser, Chef and Managing Partner at Zingerman’s Deli.
Towsley Auditorium at Washtenaw Community College is the site of a hair-raising Halloween concert perfect for all ages. “Halloween Haunts” is a free, hour-long concert event consisting of spooky-themed music. The Washtenaw Community Concert Band will play music about snakes, werewolves, sorcerers, trolls, skeletons, magic and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Gordo the Magician will perform a trick during the playing of “Abracadabra.”
“It is a fun event for the community because everyone can get into the fantasy of Halloween by listening to good music. All ages can make-up a silly or serious costume if they like, everyone can enjoy refreshments, and of course, there will be Halloween candy!” says Shirley Cafmeyer, President of the Washtenaw Community Concert Band. “We did our first concert seven years ago and it was a huge hit with our audience, all ages came. We love seeing everyone, including ourselves, in costume. Everyone is smiling and happy!”
“Halloween Haunts” will take place Friday, Oct. 27, at 7:30 p.m. Towsley Auditorium is located at 4800 E. Huron River Dr. in Ann Arbor, inside the Morris Lawrence building at WCC.
Ann Arbor residents are in for a “Spooktacular” Saturday, on Oct. 28, beginning with the Halloween Bash from 12 to 2 p.m. at the Farmers Market. Costumes are encouraged for participants as they take part in trick-or-treating and pumpkin painting.
“It’s a chance to get out and not only shop at the market, which is always fun, but it adds a little bit of festive excitement,” says Stephanie Willette, Market Manager. “It creates more ways for the kids to participate and get them involved, instead of just the parents.”
Next on the docket on the 28th is the Halloween Skate at Veterans Memorial Park from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Who can be the ghastliest ghoul? The creepiest clown? The scariest skeleton? Attendees will find out in the costume contest, where the winner will receive a 10-punch pass for open skating. Admission is $4 for youth (ages 18 and under) and for seniors (ages 55 and older) and $5 for adults. Skate rental is $3.
Finish your day of happy haunting at the Briarwood Mall Boo Bash. Trick-or-treating will take place around the mall from 5 to 6 p.m. with Halloween-themed activities going until 8 p.m.
It’s not just the kids who love the Halloween fun, those with dogs can see that their canine friends want to join in too. And they can. On Monday, Oct. 30, from 5-6 p.m., Olson Dog Park is hosting its annual Howl-O-Ween party, featuring treats, a costume contest, and a photo station.
“The City of Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation Services unit works hard to provide events and opportunities for all members of our community. The Howl-O-Ween event brings a community of dog lovers together for a fun and adorable time,” says Josh Landefeld, Parks Unit Deputy Manager.
Finally, on the spookiest day of the year, October 31st, the Main Street Area Association is hosting its annual Halloween Treat Parade from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will take place throughout downtown on Main, Liberty, Washington, Ashley, Fourth, Fifth, as well as across Huron on North Main Street.
Many businesses and community groups participate in this event, including the Ann Arbor Police, Safe Kids Huron Valley, and the Ann Arbor District Library. The AAPD and SKHV will be in front of 306 Main St. handing out badges and safety bracelets (for trick-or-treating) to the kids. Additionally, the library will host two story time activities at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
“There is nothing better than having our downtown sidewalks packed with hundreds and hundreds of our tiniest community members! Downtown businesses love this event almost as much as the kids. We get great participation from the businesses and we love the fact that the AADL and the AAPD add to the festivities- a true community collaboration.”
So, which haunting activities will you attend to get your spook on?