Frightfully Fun Halloween Parades and Parties

Free and Cheap Halloween Events

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Free and Cheap Halloween Events
Marilyn Nieves/istockphoto

Low-Costume Fun

Sooner or later we all age out of trick-or-treating, but no one is too old to enjoy Halloween. While children gorge themselves on free candy and enjoy pumpkin patches and corn mazes, adults celebrate with their own sorts of revelry, from elaborate costume contests to scary movies to raunchy parades. Here are some of the best free or cheap Halloween events happening around the country this year. And if you're still deciding what to wear, be sure to check out which Halloween Costumes to Buy Now Before They Sell Out.

Village Halloween Parade, New York City
a katz/shutterstock
West Hollywood Carnaval, West Hollywood, California
Jeremy Ray Smolik/istockphoto

West Hollywood Carnaval

West Hollywood, California
More than half a million people attend the West Hollywood Carnaval, held along Santa Monica Boulevard. The free event offers multiple music stages, while nearby bars draw visitors with themed drink specials and contests. This night of excess and outrageous costumes (leave the kids at home) ends with a celebrity guest being crowned "Queen of the Carnival."

Related: 17 Halloween Celebrations at Theme Parks Across America

Festival of the Dead, Salem, Massachusetts
Festival of the Dead

Festival of the Dead

Salem, Massachusetts
The home of the Salem witch trials embraces its notoriety with a monthlong Festival of the Dead. Some events have steep prices, but others are free, including the Psychic Fair and Witches' Market (with free psychic readings) and the Salem Witches' Magic Circle on Halloween night, when practicing witches and open-minded visitors from around the globe honor the dead.

Emma Crawford Coffin Race & Parade, Manitou Springs, Colorado
Emma Crawford Coffin Race & Parade

Emma Crawford Coffin Race & Parade

Manitou Springs, Colorado
Named for a woman whose coffin was displaced from the top of Red Mountain by railroad construction and bad weather, the Emma Crawford Coffin Race & Parade begins with a lively parade on Oct. 26. The free event concludes with 70 teams — each consisting of one "Emma" and four "mourners" — racing homemade coffins down Manitou Avenue to win trophies for speed, creativity in coffin design, and more.

Halloween in New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana
Roberto Michel/istockphoto

Halloween in New Orleans

New Orleans
Often named the nation's most haunted city, New Orleans has a Halloween second only to Mardi Gras for liveliness. Walking tours delve into the city's rich, spooky history and peek into voodoo shops and graveyards. A free celebration lights up Frenchmen Street, the music-venue-lined avenue near the French Quarter, with elaborate costumes and seasonal marketplace vendors. Not scary enough for you? Check out the Most Extreme Haunted Houses in America.

Halloween on Halsted, Chicago, Illinois
Nishan P./Yelp

Northalsted Halloween Parade

Chicago's beloved Northalsted Halloween Parade celebrates its 23rd year Oct. 31 in the city's LGBT-friendly Northalsted neighborhood. Anyone who takes the time to register (for free) can join the festivities and costume competition in categories including youth costumes, drag, scariest, most creative, and group costume. Keep an eye out for people on stilts, fire twirlers, and other entertainers among the 2,000-plus competitors walking the 0.4-mile parade route.

Little Five Points Halloween Festival and Parade, Atlanta, Georgia

Little Five Points Halloween Festival and Parade

The self-proclaimed "best Halloween parade in the South" takes over this historic Atlanta neighborhood Oct. 19. Costumed participants and floats from local businesses come out in droves for the free event, but the main attraction may be the food trucks and neighborhood restaurants selling everything from barbecue to wood-fired pizza at pop-up stalls throughout the event.

Louisville Zoo Halloween Party, Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville Zoo

Louisville Zoo Halloween Party

Louisville, Kentucky
The Louisville Zoo transforms into a "cheery, not eerie" seasonal wonderland of costumed storybook characters and trick-or-treating for children 11 and under each Thursday through Sunday throughout October. Families can view certain animals before enjoying a hay maze or strolling through decorative walkways with disco and “Wizard of Oz” themes. Tickets start at $8.50 for non-members.

Fantasy Fest, Key West, Florida
Chuck Wagner/shutterstock

Fantasy Fest

Key West, Florida
The beach town of Key West celebrates the season with Fantasy Fest Oct. 21 to 30. Many of the best events are free, including the Reddy Ice Fantasy Façade Competition, the family-friendly Bahama Village Goombay Festival, the moving cocktail party that is the Masquerade March, and the 70,000-person Fantasy Fest Parade.

17th Street High Heel Race 16820
17th Street High Heel Race 16820 by Ted Eytan (CC BY-SA)

17th Street High Heel Race

Washington, D.C.
One of Washington's proudest Halloween traditions is a different kind of drag race. Hundreds of drag queens run a quarter-mile in their most extravagant outfits — stilettos included. The free Oct. 29 event starts at 9 p.m. with a pre-race costume parade and food vendors. Arrive early to get a good spot among the thousands of attendees and enjoy drink specials from bars along the route.

Dia de Muertos, Seattle, Washington
Dia de Muertos Festival Seattle

Dia De Muertos

The city's largest Dia de Muertos festival takes place in the shadow of city landmarks such as the Space Needle on Nov. 2 and 3. The free celebration honors the departed through family-friendly activities, meticulously created community altars, and cultural rituals that let attendees create sugar skulls and paper skeletons before marching in a joyous musical procession.

Related: 10 Amazing Day of the Dead Celebrations Around the World

The Pumpkin House, C-K AutumnFest, Kenova, West Virginia
C-K AutumnFest

C-K AutumnFest

Ceredo and Kenova, West Virginia
The centerpiece of this event is the Pumpkin House, an attraction that began with only four carved pumpkins in 1978. Today about 3,000 jack-o'-lanterns draw more than 30,000 people during the free C-K AutumnFest. The festival on Oct. 25 and 26 also features an arts and crafts show, cruise-in, tractor show, food vendors, and a bake-off.

Neewollah, Independence, Kansas
Carin Barwick/Neewollah


Independence, Kansas
This Kansas town has celebrated its own annual October holiday, Neewollah ("Halloween" backward), since 1919. Most events Oct. 18 to 26 are free, including a chili cook-off, parades, movie screenings, live music, talent shows, and craft fairs. Tickets to a musical and festival queen events are $6 to $14.

Nightmare on Normal Street, San Diego, California
Nightmare on Normal Street

Nightmare on Normal Street

San Diego
This outdoor dance party features a runway-based costume contest, live entertainment, food trucks, and bars. Ticket prices for the Oct. 26 event start at $20.

Salt River Fields Balloon Spooktacular, Scottsdale, Arizona
Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival

Salt River Fields Balloon Spooktacular

Scottsdale, Arizona
Children trick-or-treat for 4,000 pounds of candy as colorful hot-air balloons float overhead at the Salt River Fields Balloon Spooktacular. Tickets to the seventh annual event, Oct. 28 and 29, are $15 for adults and $10 for children. It's an extra $25 for adults and $15 for children to take a tethered balloon ride, but there's plenty to enjoy on the ground, including live music, fireworks,  a free kids' zone, costume contests, and a haunted trail.

Related: The 14 Worst Halloween Candies for Your Teeth

Grand Day Parade, Anoka, Minnesota
Grand Day Parade!

Grande Day Parade

Anoka, Minnesota
This town of 17,000 is the self-proclaimed "Halloween Capital of the World" and hosts free or cheap movie nights, scavenger hunts, costume contests, a home-decorating competition, a bonfire, and other events all month long. They culminate in a Grande Day Parade on Oct. 29, when floats and child-friendly costumed marchers take over Main Street.

Halloween on the Mile, Coral Gables, Florida
Shop Coral Gables

Halloween on the Mile

Coral Gables, Florida
Halloween on the Mile activities begin the afternoon of Oct. 31, with businesses along Coral Gables' Miracle Mile hosting events such as trick-or-treating, reading circles, a children's film, pet and kid costume contests, and a photo booth.

Athens Halloween Block Party, Athens, Ohio
Athens Halloween Block Party

Athens Halloween Block Party

Athens, Ohio
A three-block stretch of Court Street crowded with bars and restaurants has drawn as many as 30,000 Athens residents, Ohio University students, and other revelers to celebrate Halloween. Drink specials and trick-or-treat stations are expected on Oct. 26, as well as two stages of live music interrupted only by a massive costume contest.

Not-So Silent Halloween, Indianapolis, Indiana
Indy Arts Guide

Not-So Silent Halloween

Horror is on the marquee at Indiana Landmarks Center on Oct. 25. Local horror TV host Sammy Terry emcees the evening, which features audience participation activities, spooky live organ music, and special lighting effects, followed by a screening of the 1955 Bela Lugosi cult classic "Bride of the Monster." There's a costume contest with a cash prize for the winner. Tickets start at $15.

Related: 21 Horror Movie Locations You Need to Visit

Oak Lawn Halloween Block Party, Dallas, Texas
Oaklawn Dallas Neighborhood

Oak Lawn Halloween Block Party

All ages are welcome at the Oak Lawn neighborhood's gigantic street party on Oct. 26, but some of the sexier costumes in the parade and the uproarious live commentary may not be appropriate for children. It's free to get in, and there's food, beer, and live music throughout.

Deadweird, Deadwood, South Dakota
Deadwood Chamber of Commerce


Deadwood, South Dakota
South Dakotans turn the historic frontier town into something scarier Oct. 28 and 29 with a Monster Ball with live music, dancing, and prizes, and a $10,000 costume contest. Spooky tours and ghost stories take place all month at the Adams House Victorian mansion.

Freakfest 2016
Freakfest 2016 by John Benson (CC BY)


Madison, Wisconsin
With three stages and more than a dozen musical acts, Freakfest, billed as the region's largest annual Halloween party and music festival, is more than a bargain with advance tickets priced at just $10. Situated on the city's State Street entertainment corridor, this year's event on Oct. 26  features Lil Yachty and Gin Blossoms.

Related: The 25 Most Terrifying Places in America

Hallowe'en in Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan

Hallowe'en in Greenfield Village

Dearborn, Michigan
Part of the Henry Ford history museum complex, Greenfield Village is a place where stepping back in time is the norm. The village's Halloween attractions include costumed characters like the Headless Horseman, more than 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins, and treat stations, as well as craft beers, warm apple cider, and fresh doughnuts. The Halloween festivities run from Oct. 11 to 13, 17-20 and Oct. 24 to 27. Henry Ford museum members get in for $14.50, while nonmembers pay $17.