Through Nov. 1
2200 S. Swanson St.
$25-$55, frightfactor[email protected]
This “high scare” haunted house is nationally renowned for its professional quality frights. Insanity, zombies, blood, guts and gore — this is not kid stuff. And it’s only gotten madder since they collapsed all their smaller shows into one big one last year. Afterward, you can get your picture taken with the monsters, which has led to some awesomely surreal Facebook posts.
Terror Behind the Walls
Through Nov. 8
Eastern State Penitentiary
22nd St. and Fairmount Ave.
It’s almost not fair, having a haunted house in the cellblocks of a massive old stone prison — what other attraction could possibly compete? And while Eastern State Penitentiary no longer houses inmates, we’re not convinced you won’t spot one of their ghosts during a creeptastic outing through of the most popular Halloween attractions in the country. The very brave can opt to don a glow necklace and be marked for extra frights.
There are plenty of tours of old abandoned buildings on offer, but this is one of the few haunted ships in the area. Legends about paranormal activity on the Olympia date back to 1895. You’ll hear macabre tales of murder and suicide on the high seas, and the story of “Gunner” Johnston, one of the ship’s more famous ghosts.
Mutter Museum Flashlight Tour
Oct. 28 and 30
19 S. 22nd St.
The collection of anatomical oddities at the Mutter Museum is pretty creepy already, but seen by flashlight, it ought to be Halloween material for sure. They’re also a powerful reminder of all the things that can go wrong — sometimes horribly wrong — with human bodies. And that’s a lot scarier than imaginary stuff like vampires or zombies.
Ghost Tales and Goosebumps: Local Legends by Firelight
Oct. 30, 7 p.m.
Laurel Hill Cemetery
3822 Ridge Ave.
Of course we can’t list Halloween events without a walk through a cemetery, can we? After an introduction by author Susurrus Din — no stranger to the grotesque and arabesque — you’ll tour the grounds in the night by the lights of candles, lanterns and campfire as your guides spin some of the area’s classic ghostly and macabre legends.
‘The Second Annual Penny Dreadful Show’
Oct. 26, 8 p.m.
624 S. Sixth St.
The magic/burlesque troupe Envoute will present their Halloween show for the second year, taking you into the always spooky world of Victorian England, specifically London’s highly sketchy East End, where Jack the Ripper stalked the streets. And if he didn’t kill you, the tuberculosis would. How do magic and burlesque fit into all this morbidity? The answer is: perfectly.
‘War of the Worlds’
Oct. 30 through Nov. 2
Black Box Theater, URBN Center Annex
3401 Filbert St.
This performance re-creates Orson Welles’ notorious 1938 radio theater adaptation of “War of the Worlds.” Welles’ innovative conceit — presenting the alien invasion tale as a sequence of live news bulletins — caused a minor but legendary panic in the area, and secured his reputation as an edgy young genius. Makes you wonder how he’d do it today: A series of live tweets, perhaps?
‘Jug-Baby: An Autobiography’
Nov. 2, 7 p.m.
4014 Walnut St.
Pay what you can
This one-woman puppet show is about a genderless creature that spent its infancy in a jug. Released into the wide world, it discovers it can to mold itself to reflect the desires of whomever it meets. It’s not strictly a Halloween show, but it sure sounds creepy enough to be included. Two more performances take place later in November at other venues; check the website for details.
Heaven and Hell Halloween Party
Oct. 31, 8 p.m.
Lucky Strike Lounge and Lanes
1336 Chestnut St.
$5-$20, 21+, 215-545-2471
Lots of bars have DJ sets and costume contests on Halloween and that’s fine, but a few people get more creative, which is even better. Lucky Strike Lounge and Lanes has two themed floors for their Halloween bash, one “Heaven” and one “Hell.” If you want to bowl, you’ll have to go in on a group ticket.
Nov. 1, 10 p.m.
100 Spring Garden St.
This bar party may not take place on Halloween, but runs until 6 a.m. on Nov. 2, so that makes up for the imperfect timing. So if the season — or that Monster Energy Drink you just chugged — has got you feeling diabolically energized, this is the place to be.
Walk the Dead Carpet
Oct. 31, 8 p.m.
Paddy Whacks Irish Sports Pub
150 South St.
At this Halloween party, you’re encouraged to dress up as your favorite dead celebrity or TV/film character. As if to tempt you to toe the “too soon” line, the event poster shows the motley crew who’ve passed this year, from Shirley Temple to Joan Rivers to Casey Kasem. Will you dare? How can you not? Make it a tribute!
Boo2! Halloween Concert and Dance Party
Oct. 31, 8 p.m.
Temple Performing Arts Center
1837 N. Broad St.
$10, [email protected]
DJ Statick provides bookending sets for this concert by a 12-piece costumed band called Boo, led by trombonist Steve Tirpak and performing a range of covers in styles including blues, R&B, jazz, rock and hip-hop. You’re encouraged to wear you own costume — and dance!
East Passyunk Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday
Oct. 25, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
E. Passyunk Ave. at Tasker St.
This festival is full of different events for all ages. Fall Fest includes arts and crafts vendors, food trucks and seasonal bites from area restaurants and live music, while the more kid-oriented Spooky Saturday features pumpkin painting, cider and doughnuts, costume contests for kids and dogs, and trick-or-treating at local shops.
Sinister Cinema: Halloween at the PFS Roxy
Oct. 29 through Nov. 2
2023 Sansom St.
Philadelphia Film Society presents a selection of classic and modern frights, from Todd Browning’s immortal 1931 “Dracula” to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 take on the Bram Stoker novel. There are also two Roger Corman Poe adaptations, “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “House of Usher,” plus “The Night of the Living Dead” and John Carpenter’s “Halloween.”
Stay Dead! An Improvised Horror Comedy
Oct. 24 through Nov. 1
2030 Sansom St.
Horror and comedy already have a lot in common — scares depend as much on timing as laughs. So it’s only natural that Philly Improv Theater is celebrating Halloween with this show, where the team will make up a new horror film on the spot each night. It’ll be just like “Troll 2,” except intentionally funny.