Our list of free and cheap Halloween events includes fun things to do for kids, families, teens, and adults in Seattle and around the Puget Sound region. From daytime family fun to night time adult entertainment, there’s a little something for everyone.
History of Halloween traditions
The meaning of Halloween stems from several cultures and traditions, which have morphed and changed over time.
Catholic and some other Christian religions honor saints and martyrs on All Saints Day, which is celebrated every November 1. Halloween or “All-Hallows’-Eve” is therefore the night before All Saints Day—”hallows” being a saint or holy person. The souls of the dearly departed are honored the next day on All Souls Day, November 2. Traditions include special prayers, visiting cemeteries, and giving donations to the poor. An older custom gave “Soul Cakes” to the poor in exchange for prayers for the departed…perhaps an early version of “trick or treat”? There seems to be no singular recipe for soul cakes. Some customs fry donuts in the shape of a ring, symbolizing eternity. There are similar traditions for honoring departed loved ones in other cultures.
Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican tradition observed every year from October 31 to November 2. Traditions include home altars adorned with marigold flowers to honor deceased loved ones, decorated skulls made from sugar, and specialty breads (usually sweetened, but recipes vary from one locale to another). Visiting cemeteries to decorate graves is also customary.
Although Japanese Buddhist Bon-Odori is a summer festival, this tradition also honors the spirits of one’s ancestors. Families usually hold a special reunion to visit and tend to their ancestors’ graves. The spirits of their ancestors are also said to visit the household altar setup during Bon-Odori.
Halloween costume ideas
Our Halloween costume page includes history of Halloween traditions, 100+ costume and make-up ideas, plus a list of places to pull together the most scary or fantastical costume.
Check out Where to find u-pick pumpkin patches and farm stands. On this page, you’ll find a long list of locations for u-pick pumpkins and farm stands, plus instructions for How to carve a pumpkin and links to Pumpkin Carving Templates, Patterns & Stencils, and No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating Ideas.
Haunted houses and corn mazes
Our big list of Halloween haunted houses and corn mazes includes mostly very scary attractions intended for adults and teens who like to be scared out of their wits. Seriously scared. Most cost more than $15 per person. We also offer suggestions for ways to see them for less. For little kiddos, some locations offer a special “kid’s” time, when the lights are on, and the scare-o-meter is turned off. Often these sessions are also at a lower price. Daytime corn mazes are usually very family friendly.
If trick-or-treat is your plan, check the Seattle-Tacoma trick or treat map to find locations for trick-or-treating around the Puget Sound region. We include safety tips and a parent’s guide for dealing with Halloween candy.
Halloween family fun
Cities and parks departments around the region host Halloween-themed events and fall festivals for families. Many are free; some have nominal charge. We list many events on our calendar (scroll down for list). Or you can visit their websites directly to see what’s up and coming:
- Seattle Parks and Recreation events calendar (seattle.gov)
- West Seattle Blog includes Delridge and White Center on the West Seattle event calendar (westseattleblog.com)
- 2023 Bellevue Halloween Guide (bellevue.com) lists venues on the eastside
- Tacoma Metro Parks community centers ()metroparkstacoma.org
- Everett Parks & Community Services (everettwa.gov)
- Spooktacular – Washington State Parks Foundation (waparks.org)
But wait, there’s more!
- Our big list of Halloween haunted houses, corn mazes, spooky tours
- Scary (and not-so-scary) movies for a Halloween night at home
- 100+ cheap and fun DIY ideas for Halloween costumes
- Guidelines for safe Halloween celebrations
- And here’s a list of 101+ always free things to do for fun.
- More free and cheap things to do every day: Greater Seattle on the Cheap event calendar.
- Still more ideas for frugal fun: Greater Seattle on the Cheap home page.
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Halloween events around Puget Sound
Free and cheap Halloween events and things to do around the Puget Sound region. We continue to add events through the month of October as details become available.
Sunday, December 31, 2023