Parents of tweens and teens, we know that Halloween can be a tricky holiday to navigate. Our kids are on the verge of – or even well past – the trick-or-treat years. They crave something thrilling, but may not be mature enough or have the taste for horror. They seek more independence while we grapple with keeping them safe. What does a traditional Halloween look like to a tween or teen bridging from pumpkin parties to more adult entertainment?
We’ve rounded up several ways to celebrate Halloween that run the spectrum from slightly spooky to flat out frightening. You know your child best. Some of these outings are ideal for the kid who still likes to stick with the family. Others are designed for teens (and adults) who are comfortable with independent outings.
If you landed on this page hoping to find Twin Cities Halloween events for kids, we have a monster master list to browse. This includes free events, ticketed events, parties in the park, trick-or-treat trails, and fall festivals of all kinds.
All of these Halloween-time ideas would make a great outing for families with kids at least 7 years of age. There’s definitely a spooky vibe going on, but the events focus more on storytelling than scaring for entertainment.
Landmark Gangster Ghost Tour | St Paul
Could Landmark Center be haunted by St Paul’s most infamous residents? Cross paths with a few shady characters on this interactive tour. This would be a fitting Halloween event for tweens or teens who are fascinated by living history. Oct 23, 6-9pm. Tickets/$10, reservations/advanced ticket purchase is required. Tours on the half hour.
Shadows & Spirits of the Capitol Tour | Minnesota State Capitol
Creep along a one-hour guided tour through the shadowy rotunda, hallways and chambers. Encounter historical “spirits,” including a night watchman, Civil War veteran, a woman suffragist, and more, who will tell stories of the Capitol’s early history. This tour is appropriate for age 7 and up. Oct 18, 6:30-7:30pm. $12-$15/pp.
Low Scare at Fright Farm | Maplewood
For a junior version of their haunted house, Fright Farm offers a matinee with milder thrills. Tickets include treats and prizes, face painting and a magic show. This may be the right option your tween (and probably for many parents, too). Oct 27, 12-4pm. $6/pp.
Bare Bones Halloween Extravaganza | Hidden Falls Regional Park, St Paul
An outdoor spectacle of puppetry, stilting, fire and music. Over 250 souls contribute to this local arts event and it grows every year. Some of the imagery might startle young children so we suggest bringing your tweens & teens for a family evening out. Oct. 25-26, 31, & Nov 2; gates open at 6:30 and show at 7pm. Free with suggested donation.
APPROPRIATE FOR TEENS ONLY
ValleySCARE | Valleyfair Amusement Park
On select nights, the park transforms into ValleySCARE with haunted mazes, scare zones and prowling monsters upping the fright factor for the younger crowd. Parents, note that Halloween Haunt attractions are “rated PG-13” and not intended for kids under 13 years of age. Trust us on this one; even if your kid isn’t fazed by the bone-rattling roller coasters, the scare zones might terrify. Select Friday & Saturday nights Sep. 21 – Oct. 26. $36+/pp.
Arty Costume Party | Walker Art Center
Teens might enjoy spending Halloween at the Walker listening to ghost stories on the Haunted Garden Tour, though we feel this is an event best shared with a parent. Teens are welcome to wear costumes to show off on the Walker Cinema stage runway but note that there will be cocktails served in the lobby beforehand. Also beware that Jim Jarmusch’s vampire flick Only Lovers Left Alive, screened at 7pm, is rated R. Oct 31, event runs 5-7pm. FREE admission.
Victorian Séance: Fact or Fiction? | Alexander Ramsey House, St Paul
Séances, popular in Victorian times, were believed to be the best way to connect with the spirit world. This program – appropriate for ages 16+ – gives you a taste of what a 19th-century séance would have been like conducted by a Victorian medium. Oct 24-26, programs at 8, 9, 10, and 11 pm. $22-$24/pp.
Fright Lights Halloween Spectacular | South Entrance of Nickelodeon Universe®
The lights and music become more spooky for an older audience and some of the rides are given a spooky treatment. Friday + Saturday at 8 pm-10pm. Ride prices apply.
SCARIEST OF THEM ALL
These fear-fests are best left to the teens who want maximum thrills. It’s likely Mom and Dad won’t be along for the ride. Take comfort knowing we’ve chosen attractions based on a minimum recommended age and a no-contact policy.
Fright Farm Haunted House | Maplewood
Listed by local media among the scariest haunted houses in Minnesota, reserve this one for teens who you believe can handle horror and what is described as “psychologically intense”. The scenes at Fright Farm blend local legend and folklore and may be gruesome. One Low Scare matinee is performed Oct 27. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit Ramsey County Sheriff’s Foundation which supports public safety and community programs. Weekends starting Oct 4 & Halloween, 7-11pm. $13.60/pp.
Scream Town | Chaska
I warily recall Scream Town (known as Spooky World if you grew up in the ’90s) being the scariest haunt around when I was a teen. And while personally, I don’t think my own teen is anywhere near ready to tackle the terrors, it may be a good fit for yours. Scream Town officially claims to be recommended for ages 10 and up. One ticket price gets you inside 6-7 incredibly frightening themed attractions plagued by unspeakable creatures and dead ends; tour as many times as you dare. Parents are admitted FREE to the park, but will have to stay on the sidelines while their teens brave the horrors. Weekends starting Sept 28-Halloween. $36/door, a small online discount.
The Haunting Experience | Cottage Grove
One ticket is all you need for a screamfest: venture through the haunted house and scare yourself silly on the hayride. You know your teen best. The attraction suggests visitors be at least 12. Select dates starting Sept 21, opens at 7pm. $17-$25/pp (lower price indicates weekday pricing).
ESCAPE ROOMS – an alternative to Halloween
My teen isn’t one for guts and gore, but he does go crazy for the thrill and challenge of an escape room. These are interactive, themed puzzles that get the adrenaline flowing. The games usually last about an hour. Each escape room holds a small group of people (8 to 10 – book with friends or take a chance with strangers). Participants work together to find clues to solve a mission and escape the room. We’ve rounded up what we think could be the best Twin Cities escape rooms for an alternative Halloween outing.
DROP-OFF TEEN EVENTS
Explore the 1889 village at night by playing Ghost in the Graveyard — an exciting and active night game of hide-and-seek. Enter through the west entrance. This program is FREE and is open to ages 12-18.
Halloween All Nighter | 3rd Lair SkatePark | Friday Nov 1, 2019 | 9pm – 7am
Drop off your Teen or Tween for an all night event that includes mini contests, games, raffles, pizza, and more. Staff will be on hand to keep everyone safe. This is limited to kids aged 10 to 16 with the average participant ranging from 11 – 14 years old. Once check in completes doors are locked and riders are not allowed out until 7am. Pizza an drinks are included in the fee. $50.00. A parental waiver is required.
We hope this list has given you a few ideas of where your tween or teen could get into the Halloween “spirit”. Remember, we’re also dying to share our ultimate Twin Cities Halloween Guide if you dare…