TUCSON – What makes Halloween more enjoyable for Tucson families than suiting up in creative Halloween costumes and going to all those parties, festivals, haunted houses or trunk-or-treats? Nothing … except perhaps all those hauls of candy! And Tucson is still chock-full of sweet fun and tantalizing treats at this year’s diverse array of Halloween events. Here are our top 12 choices of family-friendly events to try this season, some of which are even free (and provide free candy!).
Nightfall at Old Tucson, Oct. 18-19, 6 p.m.-midnight; Oct. 20 & 24, 6-10 p.m.; Oct. 25-26, 6 p.m.-midnight; Oct. 27., 6-10 p.m.; Oct. 31, 5-10 p.m.
Nightfall at Old Tucson, in its 29th year, brings Halloween activities at three scare levels: Frightfully Funny for all ages, Slightly Scary (parental discretion advised) and Horribly Horrific (might not be appropriate for kids or “some sensibilities,” according to the event’s website). Nightfall includes four haunt experiences – the Killbilly Basin, Happy Clown Snack Factory, Nightmare Infirmary and Iron Door Mine – in addition to a zombie apocalypse. On the lighter side, live shows with comedic hijinks are also presented. Edibles including churros, curly fries, corndogs and chicken fingers are offered at the Asylum Bites eatery, or get bratwurst, hamburgers and beverages at Doom Town. Many BBQ, American, Mexican, and snack foods are sold by additional vendors at the event. Old Tucson, 201 Kinney Road, Tucson. Admission for ages 12 and older: $29.50 + tax, ages 9 to 11 $22 plus tax, ages 8 and younger get in free. Those in groups of 10 to 49 people pay $24 admission + tax. Contact the studio for rates for groups of 50 or more. Some Nightfall activities include an additional fee.
Halloween Magic Show Party, Oct. 19, 6:30 & 7 p.m.
Presented by Screening Room and Magic Factory LLC, the event starts with a coloring contest at 6:30. At 7 p.m. the magic show begins, followed by a costume contest featuring 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes. Children can ask Mr. Pumpkin any question and get a response. The event also includes arts and crafts and free candy and toys. The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St., Tucson. Tickets booked in advance are $7, while tickets at the door are $10.
Hocus Pocus Halloween Party, Oct. 23, 7-9:30 p.m.
Sit back and enjoy the cult classic Halloween comedy movie “Hocus Pocus” starting Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy and Bette Midler at The Loft Cinema. The all-ages Hocus Pocus Halloween Party also includes a costume party with a “spooktacular” prize, and everyone gets a complimentary goodie bag containing spooky surprises and fun props that come into play during the movie. The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd., Tucson. Admission: Adults $12; kids ages 12 and younger and Loft members get in for $10. Passes aren’t accepted at this event.
Boo at the Zoo 2019, Oct. 25-27, 6-8 p.m.
The Reid Park Zoo “Boo” event features a “scare-ousel” zombie zebra, Zoofari Market spooky snacks, Pirates of the Scare-ibbean zone and an opportunity to meet Mermaid Odette, the Dread Fleet, favorite frozen princesses and the Arizona Justice League. There’s also a young-kid-oriented hay maze, in addition to glitter tattoos, live entertainment, a Western Skele-town, corn-hole games, treat stations, live entertainment and more. And don’t forget to stop by Dr. Z’s Mad Lab, or the pumpkin patch where you can get a family photo. Reid Park Zoo, 3400 E. Zoo Ct., Tucson. $9 admission for zoo members (who can get in early at 5:30 p.m.), or $11 for nonmembers to get in. Kids under age 2 get in free. The zoo’s website recommends purchasing online tickets in advance, as this event might sell out.
Haunted House guided painting class at Creative Juice Art Bar, Oct. 26, 10 a.m.
Saturday morning classes at Creative Juice Art Bar are suited to the whole family. On Oct. 26, a 2-hour guided painting class teaches kids and adults how to paint a shadowed haunted house and bats lit up on a glowing Halloween moon backdrop. Creative Juice Art Bar, 6530 E. Tanque Verde Road, Tucson. Sign up for a class by accessing their website. Each painting is $25.
Synergy Plaza Trunk or Treat, Oct. 26, 3-5 p.m.
Benefitting Big Brothers Big Sisters, this second annual Synergy Plaza Trunk or Treat provides a festival setting for Halloween fun. Several cars with open candy-filled trunks will be lined up on “Trunk or Treat Street,” where kids will walk away with a free bagful of sweet treats. Other activities include a photo booth, costume contest, inflatables, face painting and music. Admission is free, but donations to help Big Brother Big Sisters are accepted. Synergy Plaza, 2959 N. Swan Road, Tucson. To make sure enough free candy is available at the event, attendees must register at www.trunkortreattucson.com in advance.
1st Annual Tucson Terrorfest Horror Convention, Oct. 26 at 10 a.m.-Oct. 27 at 5 p.m.
Hosted by Tucson Comic-Con and Tucson Terrorfest Horror-Con and Film Festival, this horror-filled, free convention is suited to all ages, according to its Facebook page. Join other horror fans and watch cult classic and new horror films. Vendor goods and artistic works will be displayed in the exhibit area. Ramada by Wyndham Tucson, 777 W. Cushing St., Tucson. Free.
Halloween in the Wild, Oct. 26, 5-7 p.m.
Set in a creepy castle, the Halloween in the Wild event is geared toward all ages and described on Eventbrite.com as “fun, not too scary.” Events include games such as a candy corn guess, pumpkin weight guess, and cake walk. Kids gather candies at each game stop. Other highlights include Halloween arts and crafts, a haunted house and live animal encounters. A 6 p.m. costume contest includes categories such as Most Original, Most Boo-tiful, Scariest, and Funniest. Chick-fil-A will be at the event vending grilled chicken wraps, original and spicy chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. For those with a sweet tooth beyond candy, Silver Scoops AZ will also be at the event selling Thrifty ice cream and floats. Remember to bring a treat bag to load up with goodies! International Wildlife Museum, 4800 W. Gates Pass Road, Tucson. The activities are free with a paid admission: $10 adult, $7 military or seniors, $5 kids ages 4-12, ages 3 and under get in free. Museum members get in free too.
‘Night of Fright’ at the Pima Air & Space Museum, Oct. 26, 5-9 p.m.
The museum transforms into one Night of Fright,where all are invited to wear costumes and come trick-or-treat. Activities include more than 20 games, prizes and hundreds of planes to peruse. Treats and dinner options will be sold at the event. According to the museum’s Facebook page, “Kids can carry a cargo of candy,” and the whole family can meet Pima County Sheriff’s Department members and see the department’s Air Unit with helicopter between 5 and 7 p.m. The Bomb Unit, SWAT Unit with Bear vehicle and McGruff the Crime Dog will also be onsite. Pima Air & Space Museum, 6000 E. Valencia Road, Tucson. General admission is $10, but ages 12 and younger get in free.
Cake Decorating 102: Spooky Treats at Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, Oct. 27, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Kids and adults are invited to participate in the Spooky Treats event including personal instruction and live demonstrations by Executive Pastry Chef Shelli Soto. Kids learn how to make and decorate Halloween cookies and an edible haunted house, while adults learn how to frost and stack a two-tiered cake, fondant decoration techniques, fillings and frostings, and spiderweb decorating. Pre-made cakes are provided, as are all other edible ingredients and supplies. Participants can take home their edibles, an autographed recipe book and an apron. A costume contest happens too, with a gift certificate for a free dinner or Sunday brunch for two as the prize. Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, 5501 N. Hacienda Del Sol Road, Tucson. Register by calling 520-529-3500. Admission: Adult $199, child ages 6-12 $50.
Udall’s Haunted Playground, Oct. 30, 5-7 p.m.
The award-winning Udall’s Haunted Playground hosted by Tucson Parks and Recreation includes a well-lit, “safe” haunted playground and games, trunk-or-treat, a costume parade and music. The free event recently won the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association’s award for Outstanding Community or Neighborhood Special Event. Udall Park, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road, Tucson. Free.
Trick or Treat at Tucson Comic-Con 2019, Nov. 1, begins at 3 p.m.
The Halloween festivities continue the day after the official holiday at the Trick or Treat at Tucson Comic-Con 2019. A Halloween costume contest for children ages 12 and younger happens in the Kid’s Zone at 6 p.m. Remember to bring your own bucket or candy bag to collect candies that booth vendors will give to little heroes, ghouls, ghosts and villains. A zombie shooting gallery, in addition to sugar skull and zombie face painting, are also highlights. Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave., Tucson. Free with paid Comic-Con admission, which ranges from $5 to $45. (Note: The Comic-Con Annual Costume Contest and Youth Costume Contest events are separate from this Nov. 1 event.)
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