As All Hallow’s Eve approaches (that’s Halloween to you and me), the entire metroplex is gearing up for a scarefest. Of course, the big grocery and department stores have been ready since, oh, July. The local towns and cities haven’t taken it to that extreme yet, quite, but they’re usually in gear by mid to late September. It seems that I’m the late one, because I’ve waited until just over three weeks from the event to concern myself with this particular harvest festival.
Oh well — at least I’m on it! And there’s a lot to be on, too — not the least of which is the great Dallas Farmer’s Market Annual Pumpkin Party on October 18, where you can enjoy refreshments, music, and, yes, pumpkins at excellent prices. Similarly, the Great Pumpkin Festival will be taking place at the Dallas Arboretum through November 15. And there are the many small events everywhere, often associated with churches; one such is the Wylie United Methodist Church Fall Fest and Pumpkin Patch, where the family can enjoy food, shopping, bouncy houses, and even pumpkins straight from a real pumpkin patch.
Individual cities are also putting on their own shindigs; a good example is Farmer’s Branch, which is hosting its annual Halloween in the Park for free on the evening of October 25, at Farmer’s Branch Historical Park on (where else?) Farmer’s Branch Lane. On Halloween itself, the city of Plano is offering its yearly Kid’s Night Out at Plano Market Square Mall from 8-10 PM. This offers the kiddies a safe alternative to traditional trick-or-treating, where they can beg for candy, play games, win prizes, and hang out in a family-friendly environment. Similar small events are going on all over the metroplex, so if you’re planning to be in a particular city during the week or so prior to October 31, plug the name of the city into the Interweb and see what’s goin’ on.
I have, of course, saved the haunted houses for last, because they’re the absolute apex of Halloween events here in the Metroplex. Probably the best exhibition of Halloween horror is taking place in Waxahachie — in the same location, if I’m not mistaken, as Scarborough Faire. I speak, of course, of Screams, that superlative collection of five (count ’em, five) haunted houses all in a row. Screams, which open 7:30 PM-1:30 AM every Friday and Saturday night from now until All Hallows Day (November 1), plus Thursday the 30th, bills itself as the World’s Largest Halloween Theme Park, and it probably is. Now, Waxahachie’s a bit far from most of the Metroplex, especially if you’re coming from Dallas’ but like Scarborough Faire, the event is so enormous and cool that it’s something you should definitely see if you can. It’s certainly worth going out of your way for, if horror is your thing and you don’t mind paying $22 a ticket (plus $15 if you want a Fast Pass, which lets you step to the head of the lines).
There are many, many haunted houses in the Metroplex this year. I won’t try to list them all here — there are literally dozens — but besides Screams you should definitely consider the Hangman’s House of Horrors in Fort Worth; the Texas Scaregrounds in Kennedale (four big events); Thrillvania Thrill Park in Terrell; and, of course, Fright Fest at Six Flags in Arlington. If you want to be scared silly, here’s your chance!