Top Halloween Haunts and Frights Near Houston, Texas

Looking for Halloween ideas? Autumn is the season to start planning the ghost stories you’re going to share with the family on a scary Halloween family break in Houston, Texas. Although this region is recovering from a COVID-19 spike, local families are determined to keep celebrating whether online or in person.

Space Center Houston gets into the Halloween Spirit with astronauts trick or treating.
Space Center Houston gets into the Halloween Spirit with astronauts trick or treating. Photo c. Space Center Houston

Be sure to double check our listings for haunted houses for kids and fun Halloween ideas, below, to make sure they’re open. Although family vacationers can also find a variety of traditional haunted attractions — a scary haunted house for kids, a real haunted house or a haunted house tour perhaps — Houston also programs spooky, scary fun at a space center, local children’s museums, nature exhibits and more.

For more haunted house options across the country, visit our Haunted House and Halloween Weekend Breaks Directory Page.

Grownup Scary Fun in Houston, Texas

If you’re looking for intense Halloween frights, climb up to the 13th Floor Haunted House. This year they’re featuring three separate “rooms” packed with fright to keep all spines tingling. Expect staff to wear face masks, sanitize the scare surfaces and keep crowds at bay. Get a Fast Pass or Skip the Line add-on to the general admission ticket if you don’t want to wait your turn.

For a fun in-person event with teens, check out the Freaky-Deaky Concerts taking place Oct. 29 and 30 at Houston Raceway. From Deadmaus to Golf Clap and ToneshifterZ there’s bound to be music to die for. Many other famous Houston scares are going virtual. Check out the Goldstar entertainment calendar for digital frights for adults and more kid-appropriate fun.

Haunted Museums for Kids  & More

What’s scarier than being strapped into a huge rocket and thrust into outer space? Home of Space Center Houston, Houston offers many opportunities to learn about space exploration and the perils faced by astronauts. If you’re lucky, some space-themed carved pumpkins will be on display.

If your family loves science there are tons of exciting places where you can all stretch your left-hemispheres. The Houston Museum of Natural Science at Hermann Park (and two other locations) has nine educational halls where displays of nocturnal insects, dinosaurs and a focus on the body and its fascinating parts add a Halloween flavor to the learning. Check out their calendar for some spooky virtual learning in late October. On Oct. 30, they’re hosting a “Spirits &b Skeletons” event for over-21s.

Several fun attractions are included with the others on the Houston CityPASS for admission discounts. (Note: the IMAX theater and select exhibits require an additional fee; some require advance reservations). Locals and travelers may use their tickets up to 365 days after purchasing, with the CityPASS validity of 9 days after first use.

Houston Halloween Ideas and Themed Fun for Younger Kids

Need more Halloween ideas? Houston also has the Downtown Aquarium with its own spooky-themed underwater adventure complete with shipwrecks, white tigers, shark voyages, sunken temples and more. Downtown Aquarium is actually the combination of Fire Station No. 1 and the Central Waterworks building joining together to house a restaurant, 500,000-gallon aquatic wonderland, 200 species of aquatic life and other displays. There are even amusement park rides for an additional fee. Open daily; plan ahead to make the most of your visit and catch the Halloween events in person. 

Usually a place for three weeks of fun festivals prior to Dia de los Muertos is the The Children’s Museum. This year, the new Halloween Grosstopia takes place daily except Monday from Oct. 12-31.

Houston Halloween Ideas in the Great Outdoors

Sunset on the bayou at Armand Bayou Nature Center in Pasadena, Texas.
Sunsets on the bayou at Armand Bayou Nature Center can be spooky if you remind the kids how many alligators live there! Photo. c. Armand Bayou Nature Center

Another “free” Halloween idea and activity that everyone will enjoy is the Kemah Boardwalk in Kemah, 20 miles outside Houston. The 35-acre carnival of sorts offers restaurants (including the Aquarium, above), shopping, an arcade, carousel, Ferris Wheel and quite a few more rides. Weekends in October, it all becomes Boo on the Boardwalk, with weekend events, kids Halloween costume parades, and evening concerts and movies.

Teens and up will find frights at the Dungeon of Doom, a haunted house off the Boardwalk packed with fog effects, spooky sounds, strobe lights and creepy costumed ghosts who leap out at passersby. Once in awhile, the weather gets the best of Houston and the boardwalk is closed as it dries off. Be sure to call before your visit to make sure it’s up and running.

More nature-oriented activities can be found at the Armand Bayou Nature Center in Pasadena, Texas, about 28 miles from Houston. It’s the largest urban wildlife refuge in the United States. Families can walk along the boardwalk through swamps and marshes looking for birds and other wild animals. Check their schedule for Bayou canoe and pontoon boat tours — available by reservation with limited capacity to keep everyone safe and separated — and then make them really scary by mentioning the alligators that might surface unexpectedly. Especially in October, look for Halloween Night hikes and boat tours.

There’s also a butterfly garden, an 1800’s farm site and touch-tables that are perfect for the curious little ones. The modest admission fee (free for 3 and under) supports a great cause. Check the website for the weekly schedule.

Need more Halloween ideas and spooky haunted houses for kids? Find what’s going on across the country right here.

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