Halloween season is here!
As the cooler air brings out the goosebumps in Milwaukee, so do these special events for kids. They’re a great way to get young children into the Halloween spirit with not too many frights.
We also found some that are just a tad spooky, perfect for older kids.
1. Jack-O’-Lantern Jubilee (Red Arrow Park)
Saturday, October 28, 2023 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Usher in Halloween at the 2nd annual “Jack-O-Lantern Jubilee” on Saturday, Oct. 28 in Red Arrow Park, presented by WaterStone Bank.
Ideal for kids ages 2 – 10 and their parents, this pumpkin palooza offers a safe environment to celebrate Halloween, complete with free pumpkins, handfuls of free goodies, and oodles of activities for everyone!
New this year, the event will feature fall-themed produce and sweet treats, including Weston’s Antique Apple Orchard, Doughnuttery Mayfair, Pop’s MarketPlace, and Cottonmouth MKE.
There will be a free pumpkin patch (first-come, first serve), pumpkin decorating with A.W.E., performances by Frogwater, Mariachi Monarcas de Milwaukee, and the Extra Crispy Brass Band, free face painting, character meet & greets, Jolly Giants stilt walkers, bubble playtime, Storytime with the Pocket Lady and Wes Tank, and more.
Friday, October 27, 2023, 5-8 p.m.
Come celebrate Fall at the 4th annual BAYSHORE BOOgie Bash & Costume Contest presented by Spirit Halloween.
Bring your princesses, monsters, goblins, and little characters for a free and fun family-friendly event in The Yard at Bayshore.
Get ready to do the costume boogie with Kid Boogie Down who will also host costume contests and award prizes at 6:00 pm!.
Dance with the Halloween-themed Fairytale Princesses presented by Fairytale Birthday Company, enjoy laser light shows and bring your phone/camera to capture yourself in the not-so-spooky Halloween displays throughout The Yard.
Trick-or-Treat at Kilwins! Bring your costumed characters to Kilwins and receive a free chocolate treat from 5:00 – 8:00pm.
BOOgie Bash Partners: Fresh Fin, Goldfish Swim School, Tiffany’s Dessert Bar, El Sazon Dominicano, Rose Mob Grill, Tots on the Street, Sprecher Taproom, Spirit Halloween
3. Boo at the Zoo (Milwaukee County Zoo)
Enjoy “merry not scary” Halloween happenings at the Zoo!
Boo at the Zoo features wicked family-friendly activities including a Trick-or-Treat Trail, live pumpkin-carving demonstrations, dazzling light shows and animals.
All ghosts and goblins (and their parents) are encouraged to come in costume.
4. Scarecrow Lane (Friends of Retzer Nature Center)
Open daily September 22 -Oct. 31, 2023, Sunrise to 10 p.m.
Say hello to the unique scarecrows along the Blue Trail at Retzer Nature Center! Scarecrow Lane is a self-guided hike on the west end of the Learning Center building. The scarecrows, decorated by local families and businesses, will be on display through October 31.
On your half-mile hike, you’ll also see Retzer Pond and the Children’s Garden, filled with pumpkins, flowers, and other fall plants. Expect woodchipped and mowed grass trails with some sloped terrain. Some heavy-duty strollers may be able to handle the terrain, but it might be better to plan on walking.
While you’re there, you can also check out the newly renovated, accessible Discovery Trail, get a good view of Waukesha on the “Vista Trail”, and hike along boardwalks and babbling brooks on the the “Nature Trail.”
5. Pumpkin Fest (Basse’s Taste of Country)
Daily through Oct. 31, 2023
Start your family traditions and come explore Happy Jack’s Pumpkin Land at Basse’s! This ever-improving Pumpkin Festival is just 25 minutes northwest of Milwaukee.
Pick your own perfect pumpkin from the patch, challenge yourself in the 8-acre corn maze, and enjoy 65+ fun activities for the whole family, including jumping pillows, train, ropes course, duck races, arcade games and so much more! They add new activities every year.
There’s also pig races, dog shows, lumberjack shows, cowboy stunts, a dance party, and a candy cannon. Purchase corn stalks, straw bales, pumpkins of all sizes, squash, gourds, and more from the market.
6. Halloween Legends & Lore (Old World Wisconsin)
October 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 2023
Visit the candlelit turn-of-the-century village at Old World Wisconsin’s Halloween Legends & Lore, with live performers telling ghostly tales, fireside storytelling, a Victorian séance, a visit to the Emporium of Oddities, live music and treat-filled games for kids.
Visitors of all ages are invited to wear a costume (without a mask) and comfortable walking shoes as the tram will not be running during Halloween Legends & Lore.
Sweet treats, hot food and a special edition beer from Duesterbeck’s Brewing Company, created especially for this event, will be available for purchase.
Find out more and purchase tickets on the Old World Wisconsin website.
7. Halloween Haunts (Wehr Nature Center)
October 19-21, 2023
Halloween Haunts combines the make-believe, spooky fun of Halloween with the beauty of nighttime nature to create a fun event for the whole family.
For three nights each year, Wehr’s woodland is transformed into an Enchanted Forest complete with a cackling witch, a talking owl, and even some rapping arthropods.
Visitors are amazed by the over three hundred Jack-o-lanterns that light the path through the forest.
The walk is just spooky enough to keep kids on their toes, but is designed to create chuckles and smiles, not nightmares.
- NEW! Snap some family photos at a selfie spot
- Enjoy a magic show after your walk
- Donate to the virtual food drive
8. Jack-O-Lantern Nights (Racine Zoo)
September 28-October 29, 2023
In the crisp fall air, stroll through the Zoo along a dedicated paved pathway and become immersed in dazzling lights and charming decorations.
The intricately designed jack-o’-lanterns will look like pieces of art during the day and come to life at night for all to see.
There will be an abundance of custom designs to discover including cats, owls, scarecrows, and more Halloween-themed creations.
To compliment the jack-o’-lanterns, there will be enchanting light displays throughout the route.
Within the event, the Zoo will be hosting a decorating contest that businesses and organizations can sign up to participate in. Guests will be able to vote on their favorite decorated space and the winner will be announced at the end of the event.
As you take in the delightful sights, warm up with seasonal food and beverages on site.
NEW IN 2023: Pumpkin sculptures! These large structures will consist of multiple pumpkins placed together in the shape of an animal with details carved into them. Some animals that may be included are a giraffe, rhino, zebra, African penguin, kangaroo, orangutan, lion, tiger, emperor tamarin, lynx, and snake.
9. Happily Haunted Gardens (Bookworm Gardens)
The magical Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan will be decked out in thousands of twinkling lights for their annual Happily Haunted Gardens event.
Listen to stories, hunt for friendly ghosts, and stroll through a pumpkin walk. Don’t forget to wear your costumes.
Leave your trick-or-treat bags home! Children will receive a pre-packaged Bookworm goodie bag as they leave.
Dinner fare, munchies, and festive beverages will be available for purchase.
10. Not So Scary Halloween Party (The Hill Has Eyes)
Sundays in October 2023
The Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is ideal for kids and families who want to experience The Hill Has Eyes attraction when it is not so scary. Their actors will take you on a guided tour through the attractions, and kids will get to trick-or-treat along the way.
Kids are encouraged to dress up and be a part of the fun! All ages welcome, recommended for ages 8 and up.
Phantom Lake YMCA Camp, S110W30240 YMCA Camp Road, Mukwonago, WI 53149
Fridays and Saturdays, October 13-28, 2023, 6-10 p.m.
Journey through magical fairy lands, Viking ships, mermaids, witches, and wizards inhabiting the wooded trails and glistening shores of Phantom Lake YMCA camp.
The Hollows is an awe-inspiring, one-of-a-kind experience of 3,000 hand-carved jack-o-lanterns that will pique your imagination and create magic.
A portion of proceeds from the event provide financial support for an inclusion program enabling kids and families who might otherwise not be able to experience camp.
12. Halloween Glen
October 6th & 7th, 2023
Actors will present interactive and educational skits at eight decorated stations at Hawthorn Glen, Milwaukee Recreation’s 23-acre nature center.
This humorous and educational outdoor adventure is a great alternative to the usual Halloween events.
Following the hike, families are welcome to participate in a variety of fall-themed activities.
13. Haunted Halloween on Downer
Saturday, October 21, 2023
This family-friendly Halloween event is geared towards participants of all ages! Stroll Historic Downer Avenue, where businesses from Park to Webster will be hand out trick-or-treats for both children and adults.
14. Pumpkin Pavilion in Bay View
October 18-22nd, 2023
This four-day, family-friendly event brings over 2,000 Bay View residents and Milwaukee neighbors to Humboldt Park Pavilion. Guests come to carve pumpkins, admire the display of 1,000 lit pumpkins, enjoy live music, eat local food, and embrace the fun that is Halloween.
This event is entirely volunteer-powered. Since its inception, the Pumpkin Pavilion has added attractions, displays and new events each year.
15. Betty BOO’s Spooktacular at Betty Brinn Children’s Museum
October 28, 2023
The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum Halloween Spooktacular is returning!
Explore the Museum to discover themed activity spots, visit their haunt in the Be A Maker space, boogie down in Birdy Brinn’s dance party, meet some not-so-scary creatures and more.
Bring your costumes. Reservations are recommended.
More Halloween Events:
A harvest tradition in Drexel Town Square, this family-friendly outdoor event celebrates everything autumn. Festivities include a costume parade at 1 p.m., plus an all-day pumpkin decorating contest, petting zoo, pony rides, live music, Oak Creek Farmers Market, craft vendors, caricatures, face painting, hayrides through Emerald Preserve, a giant inflatable corn maze, and more.
Great Pumpkin Festival in Whitefish Bay
A full festival will take place Wednesday through Saturday, featuring live music along with food vendors and a beer tent. Residents will be able to pick up pumpkins at various times throughout the week and then return them to the park to be part of the walk-through lighted display on Sunday and Monday night (6-9 p.m.). There will be no pumpkin carving done on site, and no festival activities will take place on Sunday and Monday.
October Fright Nights (Milky Way Drive-In)
The Milky Way Drive-in is showing a PG-rated Halloween movies every weekend in October at 5 p.m. (think “Casper” and “Hotel Transylvania”).
Beforehand, you can walk through a Not-So-Scary Halloween Party every Sunday from 2:30-4:45 (more info above). A family bundle for both attractions is $45, and that gets admission for everyone in your vehicle.
Fall Fest in West Bend, WI
Dress in your Halloween best to trick-or-treat in downtown West Bend! Look for the pumpkin in the window for participating businesses. There will be lots of spook-tacular activities for the whole family to enjoy!
The Cedarburg Chamber’s Pumpkin Walk is a fun, community-wide event that celebrates all things Halloween. Bring your carved pumpkins to light up the street. Come as yourself or wear your costumes and creep down Washington Avenue to view the glowing pumpkins.
Species Spooktacular (Schlitz Audubon Nature Center)
Sunday, October 22, 2023
Various dates and times
Little Sprouts Play Café (locations in Shorewood and Mequon) is hosting a variety of Halloween events that are perfect for even the littlest of ghouls, including pumpkin decorating, family movie night, and a movement party. Click here for a list of events >>
Trick-Or-Treat Trains (East Troy Railroad)
October 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2023
The East Troy Railroad is offering Trick-Or-Treat Trains, running four Fridays in October.
Kids are encouraged to come in costume and take a 20-minute train ride from the East Troy Depot down to Byrnes Park. At the park, there will be trick or treat station and fall activities. When you return to the depot in East Troy, each child can pick out the perfect pumpkin to take home.
The whole experience will last approximately one hour and 20 minutes. Advance reservations required.
25. Ghost Train in Shorewood (CURRENTLY CLOSED)
Corner Bakery Shorewood Cafe – 1305 E. Capitol Drive
NOTE: The Ghost Train is currently not operating due to a lighting and audio issue.
If you’ve never seen the Ghost Train make its nightly run through Shorewood, you’re going to want to take a pajama ice cream ride and check it out.
The Ghost Train is an artistic sensory experience which enables visitors to travel back in history, imagining the round-trip journey of the ‘Twin Cities 400’ which was operated by the Chicago and North Western Railway from 1935-1963 and crossed Capitol Drive at the Oak Leaf Trail Bridge. The Ghost Train was brought to Shorewood by Public Art Shorewood and designed by Marty Peck, CLD-E.
Past Events TBD:
Sprecher Halloween Party
Trek n Treat at Grant Park
Urban Ecology Center
Fear District at Fiserv
Betty Boo’s Spooktacular
Halloween Party in Black Cat Alley
For more Halloween events and trick-or-treat times, check out our Events Calendar >>
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In 2013, Calie Herbst, a former teacher with three little ones, saw a need for a “One Stop Shop” for family fun in Milwaukee. So she founded Milwaukee With Kids. Her goal was to find the best this city has to offer families and share it with other parents. In one place.
In 2019, she published “Exploring Milwaukee WIth Kids”, a comprehensive Milwaukee travel guide for families and kids.
She appears regularly on WISN News, Fox 6’s ‘Real Milwaukee’, B93.3, and Wisconsin Morning News. She has been featured in Medium, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NPR, the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, and on CBS 58 News.
Calie is available for hosting, moderating and media appearances.