Looking for Halloween ideas? Autumn is the season is time 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 city was hard hit during the last hurricane season, local families are determined to keep celebrating.
However, 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.
Haunted Houses for Kids & Grownup Scary Fun in Houston, Texas
If you’re looking for intense Halloween frights this year, Houston boasts a real haunted house with “real” ghosts (at press time, we could not verify this claim). Nightmare on the Bayou at 1515 Studemont Avenue, Houston, TX 77007, is right next to Houston’s oldest graveyard and was voted #1 Haunted House in the U.S. by American Haunts. Be warned: Nightmare on the Bayou has high intensity scares, so get ready to scream your head off. Asthmatics must avoid the fog machines. No pregnant women, no one with heart problems allowed. They even suggest you wear closed toe shoes! There is a separate Ghost House and a Haunted Cemetery, each taking about an hour to survive.The haunts are open Fridays through Sundays from late September through Halloween, plus daily during the Halloween week.
Kroger’s has discount coupons so check those out; other online discount coupons, for military and service personnel, are also available for a discount. Your older kids will love the 15,000-square-feet of haunted attractions, while younger kids can enjoy other activities in Houston. Keep in mind that this haunted Bayou has thousands of Facebook fans, so some visitors have lived through the experience.
Halloween Ideas and Themed Houston Fun for Younger Kids
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.
A three-week festival that culminates in early November with Dia de los Muertos is the highlight of The Children’s Museum. Their Halloween Monsters Mayhem runs from mid October to the first weekend in November. Kids can go on a trick-or-treat monster hunt, explore the exhibits, paint pumpkins, experiment with monstrous matters, or participate in mask-making, zombie-makeup or other enlightening activities. Museum is open daily except for Monday; Thursday is Family Free Night.
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 has nine educational halls where OktoberPest, plus displays of nocturnal insects, add a Halloween flavor to the learning. Their Sugarland branch is hosting a kid-friendly, mid-day “Tricks, Treats & T. Rex” October 28.The museum is free on Thursdays from 2pm-5pm and is included with the others on the Houston CityPass for admission discounts. (Note: the IMAX theater and select exhibits require an additional fee).
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. For seven nights in October, the Aquarium shows off their beautiful white tigers (and snakes, octopus and more) on “Smash the Squash” by giving them carved pumpkins filled with a meaty treat. The tigers have a fantastic time smashing their pumpkins and devouring their treat.
Halloween Ideas in the Great Outdoors
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. From late September to the Big Day, 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 canoe and pontoon boat tours of the Bayou and then make them really scary by mentioning the alligators that might surface unexpectedly.
There’s also a butterfly garden, an 1800’s farm site and touch-tables that are perfect for the curious little ones. On October 28, there’s a sundown family event, “Creepy Crawlers,” with a haunted barn, haystack dive, guided night hike, facepainting, storytelling, games and outdoor activities. 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.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.