Halloween is one of the hallmarks of fall in Michigan. Whether it’s in the eighties or snowing, there’s fun to be had, be it trick-or-treating for the kids and their parents, or events for grown-ups only after the little ghouls and goblins have gone to bed. But Halloween wasn’t always a party; after all, there’s a reason it is synonymous with “scary” to so many people. The holiday has its roots in an old Gaelic festival that commemorated the end of summer. It was said that on that day the wall between the spirit world and ours is at its thinnest, and the dead can walk again among the living.
Interesting, but old news. Want to know what’s happening this year? It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a killer party, great music, fun for the whole family, or all of that and more, you can find it in Michigan.
2727 Brandywine Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
October 30 and 31, 7:30pm
Free (optional canned food donation)
The custodian of this haunted graveyard is a self-described “traditional Halloween enthusiast”, so no serial killers, bloody knives, or dismembered bodies here. That doesn’t mean it won’t scare your pants off – you’ll experience creepy animated sculptures and blood-curdling storytelling, all in a spooky atmosphere.
As well as a frighteningly good time, you will have an opportunity to give canned food to a noble cause. Admission to this chilling spectacle is free, but they’ll be collecting donations for the Food Gatherers food bank in Washtenaw County.
920 Washington Avenue, Muskegon, MI 49441
October 26, 7:30pm
$10 in advance, $12 day-of, 18+
The people at Watermark Live are putting on more than a concert for you this year. That’s not to say there won’t be one – The Crane Wives, the dynamic folk group from Grand Rapids, will be playing a full set. Special guests The Turnips will also be in attendance, with their original blend of rock, folk and blues. This event (for those 18 and older, only) will be stocked with beer from Founders, Bells, and New Holland. If you’re really feeling the Halloween spirit, you can enter the costume contest for a chance to win a cool $50 in cash. It’s worth it just to see The Crane Wives in action!
Traverse City State Park: 1132 US31-N, Traverse City, MI 49686
Free (with DNR Recreation Passport)
There was just too much to pack into one day, so this family event will last the entire upcoming weekend. You can show up on Friday evening and enjoy a scavenger hunt or the classic autumn bonfire – perfect for marshmallow roasting – and then return on Saturday for pumpkin carving, face painting, a haunted hayride, and more. Because we love our State Parks, come back Sunday morning to lend a hand by picking up trash and leaving the place as beautiful as you found it. There’s no specific admission cost for this event, but you will need a Recreation Passport from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Founders Brewing Company Annual Spooktacular Halloween Party
235 Grandville Avenue Southwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
October 27, 9:30pm
Founders Brewing Company has been a staple of the Grand Rapids craft beer scene since they opened their doors in 1997. If you’re a fan, you can’t miss their annual Halloween party. This year’s live music will be provided by Black Jake and the Carnies, a bluegrass band from Ypsilanti. Founders’ very own Oracle will be playing as well, bringing their old-school rock vibes to the stage. Walking up to the bar for the next round is the adult version of trick-or-treating, but without the risk of ending up with an apple or a toothbrush.
Haunted in the House
1526 Broadway Street, Detroit, MI 48226
October 26, 8:00pm
$35 in advance, $40 day of, 21+
Want to have a great time and support the arts while you’re at it? With proceeds going to the Detroit Opera House, Haunted in the House is the perfect Halloween event for you. There’s a cash bar if you want to add to the free drink you get with your ticket, as well as dancing, fortune tellers, and more! Local DJs, including Detroit’s DJ Tom T, will be spinning the vinyl. If you’ve got some extra money burning a hole in your pocket, you can drop an extra $40 to get the VIP treatment including a preview at 7:30pm, an open bar until 10:00pm, hors d’oeuvres, and valet parking. There’s always a chance that you’ll win back the cost of admission and more in the costume contest!
There are so many great events in Michigan this Halloween, and I haven’t mentioned any of the incredible haunted houses. If that’s what you’re looking for, I recommend checking out Fear Finder. They do all the work, so all you have to do is show up ready to be scared. Whatever you decide to do, have a great time and celebrate responsibly!