A colorful tradition celebrated throughout the American Southwest, Latin America and Mexico, Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, honors and celebrates departed loved ones in a festival setting.
Here's where you can take part in Día de los Muertos festivities in Phoenix.
Come view Ofrenda installations at the Desert Botanical Garden. The installations are created for this event by local and renowned artists. During this time you can see the interactive altar honoring Día de los Muertos.
The offerings placed on the altar for Dia de los Muertos usually consist of a wash bowl, basin, razors, soap and other items the traveling spirit can use to clean-up after the journey. Pictures of the deceased are also placed on the altar as well as personal belongings for each person and any other offerings the deceased may enjoy. Candles are used to help light the way for the spirits as well as other decorative items such as papel picado (tissue paper cut-outs), wreaths, crosses and flowers.
Celebrate the Halloween season as Mexico’s Day of The Dead comes to life with The Phoenix Symphony in a Latin flavored performance featuring Mexican Folklore Dance Company, Ballet Folklorico. Sure to be a hit with the entire family, enjoy the color, pageantry and friendly chills, as The Phoenix Symphony both tricks and treats. Come one hour early with children for pre-concert festivities including the instrument petting zoo and crafts celebrating the Halloween season.
Spirits will connect at the Mesa Arts Center's annual Dìa de los Muertos Festival - a community celebration complete with a community altar, live music and performances.
The Day of The Dead festival will also feature delicious food, a mercado featuring an assortment of Dìa de los Muertos merchandise, jewelry, arts and crafts, children's activities, and more.
This family-friendly event is free and open to the public. Join the CALA Alliance at Margaret T. Hance Park for the inaugural Día de los Muertos Festival. See Aztec Dancers, La Calaquitas, El Paseo, La Mascarada and Las Coronas, participate in an artist mask-making workshop, march in a colorful procession with eight-foot tall animated puppets, shop the artists' Mercado, listen to live music, enjoy children's craft activities, food and much, much more!
Cuisine and Culture of Día de los Muertos kicks off the Día de los Muertos celebration at the Desert Botanical Garden. An interactive experience, the evening begins with the history of Día de los Muertos presented by multimedia artist Zarco Guerrero. The presentation is then followed by dinner catered by Silvana Salcido Esparza, executive chef/owner of Bario Café.
A cash bar will be available serving wine, beer and margaritas. One complimentary margarita will be served upon arrival.
The festival in Chandler features traditional music and dance by local performers, storytelling from SMCC Storytelling Institute, children's activities, folk arts and crafts, ethnic food, the first annual El Katrin / La Katrina contest, community altar, and a candle light procession.
Commemorate and celebrate your loved ones through music at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). MIM and the Consulate General of Mexico in Phoenix present Día de los Muertos, A Celebration of Life through Music. This weekend-long celebration will feature a variety of musical and dance entertainment and activities related to this important Latin American tradition. The Latin America gallery and the Tree of Life exhibit will be highlighted by MIM docents as well.
Enjoy entertainment that will bring the history of Día de los Muertos to life with song, dance and storytelling. Experience the Desert Botanical Garden's interactive community altar, enjoy delicious food and pastries, and browse through beautiful art and jewelry for purchase in the Garden's Mercado.
The festivities of Día de los Muertos at the Desert Botanical Garden will culminate with La Procesión. The ancient indigenous tradition of marching as a community to ancestral burial sites that honors those who have gone before us.
This year, La Procesión has been expanded to progress from Boppart Courtyard to Ullman Terrace where guests can take part in a unique and interactive memorial by placing candles at the triptych, toasting loved ones, and enjoying continued traditional music and dance.
Looking for something to do for Halloween in Phoenix? Here's our big spooky list of haunted houses, trick-or-treat events, ghost tours, zombie walks and more. Happy Halloween!
Chambers of Fear Haunted House is returning for its third season. It has been featured on national and local TV, newspapers, and is regarded as one of the top haunted houses in the United States. This year’s haunted house features more than 25,000 square feet of screams, with two new additional haunted house attractions, Hillbilly Nightmare, and the Den of Darkness.
Experience an 18-hole miniature golf course that has undergone a terrifying transformation, through the month of October.
The Gauntlet is one of Arizona's award-winning haunted houses. The Gauntlet is a terrifying maze full of heart-pounding terror. The multi-level haunted house contains ground-breaking special effects, animatronics and skilled actors. The Gauntlet is not recommended for young children under 13 years old and those with heart conditions.
Come view an exhibition of artworks that evoke childhood memories of the monsters and mayhem of a child's imagination. Things that Go Bump in the Night are conjured up in visions of mystery created by several regional artists. From the creature that hid beneath your bed, to nightmares of stuffed animals come to life, the exhibit holds a wide array of images that evoke childhood memories of a cold, autumn night. The artworks relay stories and cultural folklore passed down through generations.
Learn about animals that "wear" masks, hide with camouflage, or even apply make-up. Bring a gently-worn costume and swap it with other guests as part of the EEK-O-Friendly Costume Swap. It is a great way to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Watch animals throughout the Zoo enjoy the Pumpkin Stomp and Chomp. Children in costumes can participate in the costume parade each day at 11 a.m. There will also be crafts, games and prizes at Harmony Farm. Intended for ages 7 and under.
Little ghosts and goblins (with their parents) are invited to trick-or-treat, door-to-door at Anthem's commercial properties for free from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 26. A map with participating Anthem businesses and locations will be posted online at www.OnlineAtAnthem.com as the event nears.
Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort will be transforming its River Ranch into a festive, "spooktacular" carnival where guests and locals are invited to enjoy Halloween treats, family-fun activities and an opportunity to give back to the Phoenix community. Parents and children will find more than 20 activities and craft booths ranging from fortune telling to ring toss. Children are encouraged to dress in costumes. Live music and snack booths will be available
Do you dare venture into the desert on the night of a full moon? Join the frightful fun as you creep through the windy turns of the Stargazer Trail under the light of the full moon (2.2-miles round trip). Dressing in costume is encouraged but not mandatory. Bring a flashlight and wear clothing/costumes that allow you to hike safely on desert terrain.
Haunted attractions include zombies, witches, vampires and other frightening characters hiding around every corner. Sneak through the Fields of Fear and be careful not to awaken what is lurking inside. Test your luck against the creepy clowns of the Monster Midway and dare to enter the Maze of the Mind. Enjoy other haunted activities, DJ music and much more. This event is recommended for ages 8 and up.
Bring the whole family to Salt River Fields for the most exciting Halloween event the Valley has ever seen. Over 30 hot air balloons will adorn the night sky while kids go trick-or-treating in a fun and safe environment.
Spooktacular has something for everyone: live music, food and beverage, Kids Zone, vendors market, tethered hot air balloon rides, haunted house and much more.
Before you get decked out for that Halloween party, partake in this growing tradition. The fourth annual Zombie Walk invites participants to get ghoulish and creep and moan their way around Downtown Phoenix. More than 5,000 undead are expected to show up for the walk, which begins and ends at The Heritage and Science Park. Food vendors, fortune tellers and make-up artists will be on hand. After the walk, shuffle over to a beer garden at the Rose and Crown pub.
Guests will be lead above, below and beyond Main Street. Hear firsthand accounts of things that go bump in the night from Mesa business owners. The tour will feature actual accounts of paranormal happenings in some of Mesa's oldest buildings explaining the present-day hauntings. Downtown Mesa's architectural history is also shared. Does Mesa have tunnels? What floats down the stairs in the old territorial jail cells? Do chairs roll, doors slam and can you hear whispers in the dark? Not recommended for young children. Prior registration is required.
Your family will have a bewitching good time at this free admission event in Tempe featuring live entertainment, costume contests and face painting. Carnival games and food booths will be provided by local civic groups as a fundraiser with tickets sold for those activities.
Looking for a safe place to take the kids this Halloween? Come out to The Halloween Monster Bash in Peoria. There will be a parade of costumes contest, trick or treating, inflatable activities, carnival games, make-n-take crafts, puppet shows, a fright zone, entertainment and more.
Why trick-or-treat from door to door when you can ride a train at the Verde Canyon Railroad and still score plenty of candy and prizes? There will be a costume contest held for the kids, and plenty of candy and ghost stories to go around.
There will be a costume contest for dressed pets and pet owners starting at 6:30 p.m. The pet costume contest will be $10 per category and proceeds will benefit a local rescue organization. Immediately following the costume contest businesses will be open for trick or treating, games, pumpkin carving, petting zoo, a spider village, and thriller dancers.
It's that time of year again! Everything is pumpkin flavored and there's a festival going on every weekend in Phoenix. Here's our roundup of festivals in Phoenix this fall.
The Arizona Center for Germanic Cultures expands its traditional Old World Phoenix Oktoberfest to two days. Both days the festival features live musical entertainment, dancing, a variety of competitions for all ages, vendors, German cooking and other demonstrations, traditional German food, beer, wine, schnapps, and much more. Saturday also features a free "Kinder Village" children's area with inflatable's, games, contests, and interactive kids' activities.
The annual Rainbows Festival and Street Fair is a celebration of the diversity of the LGBT community. The event is located in historic Heritage Square Park in downtown Phoenix. Each year, the Rainbows Festival draws a crowd in excess of 25,000 gay and lesbians, family members and friends. This is one of the largest LGBT events in the state of Arizona.
Each year, the Festival Stage at the annual Rainbows Festival is the center of excitement. The stage features local entertainment from noon until 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
The third annual Herberger Theater Festival of the Arts celebrates the arts in downtown Phoenix with a day featuring performances, dance, food vendors, visual art, live music, children's activities, film shorts, pet adoptions, wine tasting, Lunch Time Theater excerpts and more.
Come out to the grand re-opening of the 2012-2013 season of the Scottsdale Street Fair. Special appearances for the grand opening include the 2012 Arena Football Champions, the Arizona Rattlers, and Emmy award winning television and radio personality, Pat McMahon.
Live entertainment from local bands will be featured all day as well as a performance from the Baton Boosters. The ALS Association of Arizona is also hosting a registration booth for their upcoming "Walk to Defeat ALS" on October 20th. Local and visiting artists will be showcasing their unique products, art, jewelry and plenty of delicious food.
For Mom and Dad, the fair features a new and improved kid's entertainment zone featuring four bounce houses, hamster balls, a swing ride and zip line.
There will be new and exciting attractions for the 2012 Arizona State Fair and many of the fun attractions will be returning as well. Like the United States Arm-wrestling Championships, Arizona Lottery Backyard, Arizona State Fair 5k and Fun Run/Walk, Figure 8 Racing and so much more. There will be something for everyone in the family. Numerous food booths will be there to get your carnival cravings.
Come out and enjoy Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake this year. There will be 15 kinds of German beer, authentic German food, wine gardens, Daschund racing, Kinderfest KidsZone, music and much more.
Visiting Greece is an affordable stay-cation at the Greater Phoenix Greek Festival with Greek food, music, dancing, jewelry, art, grocery items and activities.
Come experience 17 acres of fully restored property, showcasing historic buildings from the famous Bartlett Ranch built in 1886. The perfect setting for Arizona's biggest western family fun event.
There will be gunfights, stunt shows, American Indian dancers, trick horses, magic shows, live music, a kids korral, and much more.
The festival will be a celebration of the vibrant culture, music, fashion, art, history and adaptive re-use of the Lower Grand Avenue Arts and Small Business District and adjoining neighborhoods. The free Historic Commercial Building and Adaptive Reuse Tours, begin at 8 am and continue hourly until 11 am, courtesy of the Phoenix Revitalization Corporation (PRC). Free screenings of "The Greenest Building," shown at the conclusion of the tour are courtesy of Steve Weiss and No Festival Required.
More than 50 teams take up the taco-making challenge as fans sample and savor their creations. Taco competitors are judged by officials of the National Taco Association. The stakes are higher than ever with $10,000 prizes. The event is filled with music, food and fun including, Lucha Libre Wrestling, Boutique Tequila Expo with more than 100 types of tequila, Hot Chili Pepper Eating Contests, Chihuahua Beauty Pageant, Surf Band Music Showcase, Mariachi Contest and more.
The annual festival brings together thousands of Arab and Americans to enjoy the Arab culture and entertainment. More than 35 international singers, dancers and musicians from all over the Arab World perform 20 Hours of live entertainment on stage.
Activities include folklore shows, an international food court, hookah lounge, kid's rides and booth vendors.
Celebrate everything fall while getting an early start on your holiday shopping at this annual event, now in its fifth year. Activities include fine arts and crafts vendors, live entertainment and music, a pumpkin patch, pony, hay and barrel rides, inflatable jump houses, a food court with Rotary beer and wine garden, and carnival rides and games by Frazier Shows Carnival.
Come out and celebrate The Tenth Annual SerbFest. Your admission becomes your passport to experience all of the traditions of Serbia. Be sure to bring your appetite and try delicious homemade Serbian cuisine and pastries. There is also live Serbian music and traditional folk dancing, church tours of a Byzantine style church, a shopping bazaar which includes religious, cultural and ethnic items, and a Kids Zone where kids can play all day. All proceeds will benefit the Child Crisis Center.
Cook is a chance to sample culinary creations from many of Phoenix's finest restaurants, and vote on your favorite restaurant while enjoying live entertainment, a festive atmosphere and live cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs. Cook raises funds to help fund HRC's efforts to ensure a nation where every citizen is treated equally, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Fountain Hills Festival of Arts and Crafts features nearly 500 artists, artisans and gourmet food provisioners. Over 200,000 visitors are attracted to this event to do their holiday shopping, purchase art and enjoy good food and live entertainment.
Many of the artists in this fair offer unique holiday themed ornaments that have become family tradition. Enjoy live music, abundant breakfast and lunch selections in shaded seating areas make this a great way to spend the day in Fountain Hills.
The Veterans Tribute Ride honors our armed services and veterans. Funds from the ride will benefit the Arizona National Guard and USO Arizona. The free family festival brings our community together in a day of remembrance and celebration for their service
Voted Best Free Festival in 2011’s New Times Best of Phoenix awards, this family-friendly festival has a street fair atmosphere and has drawn upwards of 5,000 attendees in past years. The event is open to the public and will offer a variety of local businesses, restaurants, food trucks, live music and children’s activities. The event historically has been a great place to get a jump start on holiday shopping, while attendees can enjoy some of the valley’s best restaurants, breweries and wineries.
The annual ArtFest of Scottsdale is one of the valley’s most popular holiday traditions. Downtown Scottsdale features 200 artists from across the country where you can find that one of a kind gift just in time for the holidays. Visitors will enjoy fine art, fine crafts, local authors (located in the "Book Street" section), live music throughout the festival, taste tempting foods in a beautiful sculpture garden setting. Other amenities include hands on kids activities, Scottsdale art museum, great restaurants, plenty of close parking and unique shops.
This fall visit The Farm at South Mountain to meet Arizona's local grape farmers and wine producers while learning wine production and tasting various wines. Over 20 of Arizona's top wine growers will be featuring their finest wines and creations. Participate in the educational wine seminars to get the full experience.
Experience the music, art, culture, food, traditions, and innovations of Arizona's American Indians. Enjoy activities for the whole family such as live music, entertainment, traditional foods, art demonstrations, crafts, guided hikes and more.
The Tempe Festival of the Arts consistently ranks among the Top 20 art festivals in the nation by Sunshine Artist and has received the Pinnacle Award from the International Festival and Events Association. The fall event attracts nearly 250,000 visitors to the Mill Avenue District over the course of a 3-day weekend.
While the Tempe Festival of the Arts primarily focuses on art and the artists that create it, there are also a wide variety of other activities for guests to enjoy. Live entertainment stages provide musical entertainment for festival-goers. Performances by a number of well-known local musicians keep audiences in high spirits throughout the day. In addition to the scheduled entertainment, street performers, vendors, sponsor exhibits and entertainment booths are set up for the amusement of Festival visitors.
If you find yourself too busy to make turkey dinner this year, or just need a place to take your weekend guests, there are many restaurants here in Phoenix offering up special Thanksgiving feasts.
Enjoy a three course dinner that includes items such as harvest soup, roasted turkey and gravy with andouille stuffing, orange-scented green beans and a chocolate pumpkin chiffon tart.
Details: District American Kitchen and Wine Bar at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown 320 N. 3rd Street, Phoenix. $31 for adults, $15.50 for kids, and $15 for the 6oz wine pairing. 602-817-5400
From traditional favorites to awe-inspiring desserts and carving stations to expertly prepared food displays, bring your family and friends together to enjoy the true Thanksgiving Dinner experience at The Wigwam.
With two fabulous options for you to choose from, Red’s Bar and Grill Dinner Buffet or Litchfield’s Three Course Dinner your holiday will be complete.
Details: The Wigwam 300 E. Wigwam Boulevard, Litchfield Park. Red's Bar and Grill 11am -7pm, Litchfield's 3pm -8pm. Adults $33 Kids $17. 623-856-1094 for Red's Bar and Grill or 623-856-1053 for Litchfield's.
Enjoy a full thanksgiving day buffet at the with featured items such as a full breakfast buffet, appetizer buffet, salmon, traditional turkey, prime rib and gourmet desert bar.
Complimentary glass of champagne or cider is included with every purchase.
Details: Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort 1 San Marcos Place, Chandler. 11am - 3pm. $38.95 per adult/ $18.95 per child (age 4-12). 480- 812-0900
Celebrate all you are grateful for with your friends and family this Thanksgiving in a setting like no other. Savor inspired cuisine created by Chef Beau MacMillan while taking in the breathtaking views of Paradise Valley.
Guests can enjoy a special four-course prix-fixe menu with items such as pumpkin risotto, local autumn greens, a traditional turkey dinner and duck.
Details: Elements at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa 5700 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley. 12pm - 9pm. $65 per guest. $18 per child, 12 years and under. 480-948-2100
Celebrate Thanksgiving three ways at the Arizona Biltmore with a Gourmet Feast, Family Style Dinner or Lavish Buffet.
Thanksgiving Buffet in the Gold Room
Adults $80, $40 for children 12 and under
Five-Course Holiday Menu in Wright’s at The Biltmore
$80 for adults, $40 for children 12 and under
1:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Family Style Dinner in Frank & Albert’s
$45 per person
11:00am - 10:00pm
Details: The Arizona Biltmore 2400 E. Missouri Avenue, Phoenix. 602-955-6600
Spend Thanksgiving at one of the Valley’s hidden gems, where the chef is preparing quite a feast. The menu includes creamy foraged mushroom and roasted chestnut soup, slow roasted heritage turkey, baked stuffed New England lobster, and all the typical Thanksgiving fixings. As for dessert there will be house-baked pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream, or warm apple crisp with vanilla ice cream.
Details: Quiessence Restaurant at the Farm at South Mountain 6106 S. 32nd Street, Phoenix. Three Seatings: 12:00pm, 2:30pm, 5:00pm. $65.00 per person. $29.00 Children (Under 12). Reservations required. 602-243-9081.
Avanti will be offering a special four-course prix-fixe meal for their Thanksgiving dinner guests.
The First course: choice of Curried Pumpkin Soup or Pumpkin Ravioli; second course: choice of Waldorf Salad or Avanti Caesar Salad; third course: choice of oven-roasted Turkey with Gravy or Turkey Breast Rollatini (both served with Whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes, Sautéed Candied Yams, Green Beans, Fresh Cranberry /Orange Relish); fourth course: Pumpkin Pie with ice cream, Pecan Pie with ice cream or Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Details: Avanti Restaurant. 2728 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix. $34.50 per person, $12.95 per child 10 and under. 602-956-0900.
Scottsdale’s downtown resort, the Hotel Valley Ho, makes this holiday a little happier with special dinner offerings. Specials will include butternut squash soup, slow-roasted Red Bird Farms Turkey, and pecan and pumpkin pie.
Details: Café ZuZu at the Hotel Valley Ho 6850 E. Main Street, Scottsdale. 5:30-10:00pm. A la carte pricing. 480-421-7997.
Take in the panoramic views of the Palm Course and Camelback Mountain while at the McCormick Ranch Golf Club’s Thanksgiving Day Buffet. They will have featured menu offerings such as slow roasted turkey with traditional stuffing, shrimp cocktail, candied yams, green bean casserole, carved herb-crusted prime rib, mashed potatoes, fall harvest vegetable medley, assorted pies and cheesecake.
Details: McCormick Ranch Golf Club 7505 McCormick Parkway, Scottsdale. Noon - 6pm. Adults $25.95 Children Ages 6-12 $12.95. Reservations 480-948-7010 x 21.
Fall is finally here, bringing the thrills and chills of Halloween! Time to sift through the patches for that perfect pumpkin, get lost in a corn maze and get spooked at the many haunted attractions right here in Greater Phoenix.
Rawhide's annual Doomtown event returns this year, adding extra goblins and goo to complement the already haunting experience. The new Halloween season brings the spine chilling Train of Lost Souls, The Digger Payne Saga: The Return of the Prodigal, Legend of the Zombie Hunter, the Kreepy Kidz Zone and more.
Details: Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse, 5700 West North Loop Road, Chandler, AZ. Wednesday 5-10pm; Thursday-Sunday 5-11pm; Open Monday October 31st 5-11pm. 480-502-5600.
As one of the top rated pumpkin patches in the Southwest, the farm hosts this annual party through the whole month of October. Join the fun with hay rides, live music, food, plenty of kid’s activities, a 10 acre corn maze, and of course a pumpkin patch!
Details: Schnepf Farms, 24810 South Rittenhouse Road in Queen Creek. $15 per person at gate, children 2 and under free. Discount tickets $12 at Fry's. Wear a costume the last weekend and admission is $8. Thursday and Sunday 10am-9pm. Friday and Saturday 10am-10pm. 480.987.3100
Families can enjoy the festivities of the season with a 10-acre corn maze, mini hay maze for younger children, barrel train rides, farm animals, air pillows, hop-along pony rides, a bounce house, educational pizza farm, pedal race cars, a pumpkin patch and more.
Details: Vertuccio's Farm 4011 S. Power Rd, Mesa. $7 a person ages 4 and younger Free. Monday-Thursday 9am-9pm Friday-Saturday 9am-10pm Sunday 10am-6pm. 480-650-6611
This patch is stocked with pumpkins daily, and also features an air bounce, hayride, straw bounce, animal feeding, and Alexander's Adventure Maze.
Details: Mother Nature's Farm 1663 E. Baseline Rd, Gilbert. Admission is $7 per child and includes a pumpkin and activities. Adults are $3. Hours are 9am - 9pm. 480-892-5874
The World famous 13th Floor Haunted House is created by nationally recognized and award-winning haunted house designers. Prepare to be terrified by 60,000 square feet of horror, two epic haunted attraction walkthroughs for one price.
Details: 2814 W. Bell Rd, Phoenix. General Admission $25, VIP $30. Friday and Saturday 7pm - Midnight; Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 7pm - 10pm. 602-456-2250
Chambers of Fear, was named top haunt in 2010, is returning in 2011 with more scares and screams that will keep you coming back for more. Chambers of Fear is re-themed and ready to make you scream!
Details: Bell Mar Plaza 11340 W. Bell Road, Surprise. General Admission $18, Fast Pass $25. Thursday and Sunday 7pm - 10pm; Friday and Saturday 7pm – Midnight. 623-255-6896
Jack and Jill went up the hill, and never came back down! Join the search party at this haunted house, now in its sixth year. This unique experience promises to be more spine tingling than ever.
Details: 9847 N 14th Street, Phoenix. General $10, VIP $15. Friday - Sunday 7pm - 10pm. 602-380-6913
Attractions include Horror High, 3D Fear Factory, Castle of Darkness, and Goldminer's Revenge. Park also features Monster Midway, snacks and treats, MonStore Booth, glow accessories, Psychic corner with tarot and palm reading, and the Last Ride Coaster.
Details: Loop 101 and McDowell, Scottsdale. Admission $22, All attraction pass $27, speed pass $32, VIP package $80. Open 7 days 7pm-11pm, Friday and Saturday open 7pm-1am. 480 444-2590
If you are interested in encountering real spirits, take this tour through the haunted Hotel San Carlos. As you are guided through this Phoenix landmark, you will visit the paranormal hotspots and hear stories about the personalities who are said to haunt them. Guides will provide some historical information, along with stories passed down by staff members and past guests.
Details: Hotel San Carlos 202 North Central Avenue, Phoenix. Tickets are $13 for ages 13+ and $7 for ages 8-12. 602-414-0004
Held at the Desert Botanical Garden, this festival features hay rides, petting zoo, carnival games, pony rides, live music and more.
Details: Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. Free with paid garden admission. Thurs and Friday 9am -12pm. Sat and Sun 8:30am - 3pm. 480-481-8188
Don't miss this once-a-year tour of downtown Mesa's historical sites paired with tales of ghosts and goblins. Go above, below and beyond Main Street and hear firsthand accounts of things that go bump in the night from Mesa business owners. The tour will feature actual accounts of paranormal happenings in some of Mesa's oldest buildings and share the incredible history of the past helping explain Mesa's present-day haunting.
Details: Arizona Museum of Natural History 53 N MacDonald, Mesa. Tickets $12. 6pm - 8pm. 480-835-7358
If you’re lookin’ to get your groove on, then check out this costume dance party with fog machines, decorations and music.
Details: Just Breathe, A Wellness Sanctuary 828 N. 2nd Street, Phoenix. Admission $5. 8pm-midnight. 602-256-1400
This tour takes participants on a historical walk through some of Phoenix’s early cemeteries with costumed reenactment characters telling the stories of our pioneers and notorious underworld inhabitants, and who knows what else you may encounter on this visit!
Details: Pioneer and Military Memorial Park 1317 W. Jefferson ,Phoenix. $10 per adult, $5 per student aged 6 through 12. 10:30 am. 602-534-1262.
This event, now in its fourth year, is a celebration of all things Fall. This year, event activities include: an Arts 'n' Crafts Fair, a Pumpkin Patch to purchase and decorate pumpkins, Kids Zone with inflatables, Eurobungee, pony, barrel and hay rides, live entertainment, food court and Rotary Beer Garden, Frazier Shows Carnival, a Hot Chili Cook-Off and much more.
Details: Anthem Community Park, 41703 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway, Anthem. Free event. 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. 623-742-4510
Boo at the Zoo is a fright-free Halloween tradition enjoyed by families and guests of the Phoenix Zoo for more than 20 years. Guests will be treated to a fall festival including games and activities for the little ones at the Zoo's Harmony Farm. Find your way through our Fall Festival Maze, home to friendly scarecrows. Look for fun and festive photo opportunities in our Pumpkin Patch
Details: Phoenix Zoo 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. Free with Zoo admission. 9am - 4pm. 602 273-1341
Join renowned parapsychologists Dr. Barry Taff and Loyd Auerbach as the entertaining crossroads where thought-provoking research meets the truly spine-tingling. They will share their stories of hauntings, poltergeists and things that go bump in the night. These are ghost stories for grown-ups!
Details: Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe, Phoenix. $24-$34. 7pm.
Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak will transform its famous River Ranch into a spooktacular scene this Halloween season. Guests and locals are invited to indulge in festive treats and family fun including over 20 activities and craft booths, fortune telling and face painting.
Details: River Ranch at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak 7677 North 16th Street, Phoenix. Two cans of food or $5 per person. 5pm – 7pm. 602 997-2626
Come to the screening of the film production schools student created videos for the Halloween season. The genre of the videos is horror so expect some bloody, gory, and scary material.
Details: Collins College - 14th Street Studios 1425 W. 14th St, Tempe. Free Event. 7pm – 10pm.
Follow your ghoul guide through the museum as they share legendary stories of Southwest disasters, murders, hangings, and lost loves. Many of the buildings at Pioneer have been moved from their original homes, from locations in remote areas of Arizona. Many have seen horrible deeds performed and, in some of them, the ghosts of the past still reside.
Details: Pioneer Living History Museum 3901 West Pioneer Road, Phoenix. Tickets $11. 6pm to 8pm. 623-465-1052
Celebrate this Halloween with fun activities for the whole family such as the Pumpkin DNA extraction, alien Mars rocket rover and carnival games.
Details: Challenger Space Center Arizona 21170 N. 83rd Ave ,Peoria. $5 per person, children under 3 free. 6pm - 10pm. 623 322-2006
Held on the field at the Peoria Sports Complex, this family event includes a Parade of Costumes contest, trick or treat from lighted hot air balloons, carnival games, make-n-take crafts, entertainment and much more.
Details: Peoria Sports Complex 16101 N. 83rd Ave. Peoria. Free with canned food donation. 5pm – 9pm. 623 773-8700
Children of all ages will enjoy a night of safe and friendly Halloween fun as they visit Frankenstein's Fishing Hole, play Ghost Bingo and decorate pumpkins. The event will also have a variety of games, inflatable bounces and slides, free activities, a food and beverage court, vendor and sponsor booths and an entertainment stage.
Details: Freestone Park Ballfield Complex 1045 E. Juniper Road, Gilbert. Free event. 5pm-9pm.
Come Saturday, October 29th, 2011, when the dead will take to the streets of downtown Phoenix and you're invited to join the horde!
Details: Heritage Science Park 115 North Sixth Street , Phoenix. Free event. 5:30pm – 10pm. (602) 262-5029
Head to the Zoo for a night of frights for the entire family. Activities will include a zombie graveyard, an alien invasion, horse-drawn wagon ride, haunted trails, trick or treating, live DJ, movies, camel rides and more.
Details: Phoenix Zoo 455 North Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. $6 for members, $8 for general public. 6:30 pm – 11pm. 602 273-1341
While joining the hoard of the undead at the Zombie Walk, head over to the Rose and Crown for live music, costume contest, beer garden, and horror films.
Details: Rose and Crown Pub 628 East Adams St, Phoenix. Free event. 7pm – 10pm.
Taking place Halloween night, this annual blockparty is an all night ghoulish celebration with live music by Hot Chelle Rae and 51Fifty. The streets will be filled with an expected 5,000 scary spectators as well as in Axis/Radius and Suede. A costume contest will also be held awarding $10,000 in prizes.
This family-friendly event takes place in Fountain Hills along the Avenue of the Fountains. The kids will enjoy free carnival games, trick-or-treating and bounce houses, and your four-legged canine kids will enjoy trick-or-treating too, at an event where pets are welcome.
Details: Ave of the fountains, Fountain Hills. Free event. 4pm - 8pm. 480-837-8168
This Halloween weekend, get all dolled up and get ready to sip bottomless bootleg hooch with the ghosts of pre-prohibitionery times. For one night only, Narcisse Champagne and Tea Lounge will transform into a 1920's speakeasy for a Murder Mystery Dinner and Halloween Party featuring music, dancing, freak show street performers, fortune tellers, bubbles, booze and more.
Details: Narcisse Champagne and Tea Lounge 15257 N. Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale. $20 for party, $125 for mystery dinner and party. Dinner seating 5:30pm, Halloween Party at 9pm. 480.588.2244
An annual party that will have a Luminarias ceremony, live DJ, a catwalk and costume contest. While taking part of the festivities hang out at the Oasis pool area or the rooftop SkyDeck overlooking the city skyline and surrounding mountain ranges.
Details: The Clarendon Hotel 401 W. Clarendon Ave, Phoenix. Tickets $25. 8pm. 602-252-7363
Wizards, witches, and owls, oh my! Create a fun and spooky craft inspired by instruments on display, including the pig-headed fiddle used in the filming of the last Harry Potter film. Adults and children can let their imaginations run wild as they decorate and embellish their own miniature zither. Gain further inspiration from the Desert Echoes Flute Project as they play musical selections from the Harry Potter movies.
Details: Musical Instrument Museum 4725 E. Mayo Blvd, Phoenix. $2 per craft with admission. 11am - 4pm. 480 478-6000
Ready for some sweet treats? Join the public for a Free safe and fun evening at Eldorado Park's annual event. Take a trip through the Haunted Forest, win candy at the game booths, and enter into one of the many competitions for costumes and pumpkins! End the evening with a bang by staying for the fireworks show!
Details: Eldorado Park Ball Field 1909 N Miller Rd, Scottsdale. Free event. 6pm – 9pm. 480-312-0217
Join Apache Junction Parks and Recreation at Prospector Park on Monday, October 31st from 5-8pm for our Free Halloween Festival. The Costume Contest will be at 6pm for all ages. Pumpkins for our pumpkin carving contest needs to be submitted by 7pm. Food and Games will be provided by our local non-profits for a fee.
Details: Prospector Park 3015 N. Idaho Rd, Apache Junction. Free event. 5pm – 8pm. 480-983-2181
Fall not only brings cooler weather to Phoenix, but it also brings some of the best festivals. Here’s a roundup of the fall festivals we are looking forward to the most.
Cala Festival (September 14 – November 16)
This fall Greater Phoenix will celebrate Arizona's rich Latino cultural heritage with the Celebración Artística de las Américas (CALA) Festival. During the two-month celebration there will be theatrical and musical performances, film festivals, art exhibitions and culinary offerings throughout the Valley
Ballet Under the Stars (September 18 – 25)
Ballet Under the Stars allows Arizona communities to enjoy dance in a unique outdoor setting complete with a stage, lighting, costumes, and beautiful Arizona weather. These events are free and open to the public.
Arizona Fall Frenzy (September 30)
Arizona Fall Frenzy is a one day event along the Tempe Beach Waterfront. The festival features recording artists such as Blink 182, and the valley's own Jimmy Eat World. Accompanying the wide variety of musical acts will be food vendors, beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), sponsor booths, arts, crafts and more. This will be a night for both local Arizonians and out-of-state visitors alike to come enjoy.
Rainbows Festival (October 1 and 2)
The annual Rainbows Festival and Street Fair is a celebration of the diversity of the LGBT community. The event is located in historic Heritage Square Park in downtown Phoenix. Each year, the Rainbows Festival draws a crowd in excess of 25,000 gay and lesbians, family members and friends. This is one of the largest LGBT events in the state of Arizona.
Dine Out With the Chefs (October 2)
Dine Out with the Chefs showcases its largest number of chefs to date, representing many of the Valley's finest restaurants. Five new establishments have been added to the distinguished Dine Out roster this year, joined by 18 returning favorites. Guests have the opportunity to mingle with renowned culinary masters and to sample their mouth-watering creations, from delicious soups, salads and appetizers to some of their signature dishes and most decadent desserts.
To complement the brilliant cuisine, the event also features live entertainment, tastings of fine wines and tequilas, cooking demonstrations and a book signing, among other surprises.
Phoenix Fashion Week (October 5 – 8 )
Sponsored by Phoenix magazine, this seventh-annual fashion extravaganza features established and emerging designer runway shows, seminars, a model of the year competition, student design scholarship competition, designer sample sales, glitzy after-parties, a Fashionably Pink charity event and celebrity fashion show benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the event’s signature Style Villa shopping experience. Guests will also enjoy a VIP lounge created by ASID North Interior Designers.
Phoenix Greek Festival (October 7 – 9)
The festival will include a superb full-scale authentic dinner menu, al la carte meals, delicious pastries, an extensive line of imported groceries, live entertainment, Greek beer and wine, a variety of vendors to choose from-jewelers, music, novelty items, and more. Plenty of parking with shuttles available. As always, a percent of the proceeds will benefit the Phoenix Children's Hospital. Come out for a spectacular three-day event that you, your family, and friends will enjoy.
Arizona State Fair (October 15 – November 4)
New and exciting attractions for the 2011 Arizona State Fair are expected and many of the favorite attractions from past years will be returning as well. Don't miss fun events such as, the United States Arm Wrestling Championships, Arizona Lottery Backyard, Arizona State Fair 5k & Fun Run/Walk, Figure 8 Racing and so much more. There will be something for everyone in the family. Numerous food booths will be there to get your carnival cravings.
Tempe Oktoberfest (October 7 – 9)
This Bavarian-themed celebration offers a taste of Regensburg, Germany, one of Tempe's sister cities. The three-day fete features a polka-dance floor, multiple entertainment stages, wine and beer gardens and a German-food market with heaps of strudel and bratwurst. During the day, bring the kids to see the dachshund racing and Kinderfest area. As the sun goes down, the crowd gets more mature - and the suds really start flowing.
Phoenix Oldworld Oktoberfest (October 15)
This celebration, hosted by the Arizona Center for Germanic Cultures, a non-profit group representing people of Germanic roots, is modeled after the world's largest and first Oktoberfest, which began more than 200 years ago in Munich. From lederhosen to accordions, the festival promises an authentic German experience, including a sauerkraut cookoff, imported German products and a stage where Bavarian bands play throughout the day.
Arizona Taco Festival (October 15)
Everyone from Valley restaurants to amateur competitors will sign up for their chance to taco-battle it out for $7,500. Expect a huge VIP Tent, Lucha Libre wrestling, beer donkeys, a main bar experience sponsored by a local taco shop, a Margarita Challenge, hot chile pepper eating contest, and a Boutique Tequila Expo Tent featuring over 30 different brands of premium tequilas, a kid’s zone, and so much more.
Kokopelli Krush (October 21 – 23)
The highlights of this annual festival are the daily grape-stomping competitions, which begin at 7:15 Oct. 21 and at 1 p.m. Oct. 22 and 23. Arizona wine tastings are featured and ceremonies for the bistro's 1 millionth bottle-opening are held at 7 and 11 p.m. Oct. 22. A kids zone is available, and daily live entertainment includes performances from Alonzo on the steel drum and island beats and reggae tunes from Kush County.
Grand Avenue Festival (October 22)
The Grand Avenue Merchants’ Association will be hosting the free 3rd annual Grand Avenue Festival on October 22nd, from 3 – 11 pm. The festival will be a celebration of the vibrant culture, art, history and adaptive re-use of the Lower Grand Avenue arts and small business district and adjoining neighborhoods.
Phoenix Food Truck Festival (October 22)
Sample food at more than 30 food trucks, including Short Leash Hot Dogs, Carte Blanche, Frufrupops, Sunshine and Spice, Sweet Republic, Toms Pig Rig, Pizza People, Udder Delights and Emerson Fry Bread. The Four Peaks Beer Truck and Dos Cabezas Winery provide beverages at a cash bar. Live music from four bands is sponsored by Stinkweeds Records. Hosted by Roosevelt Row Community Development Corp. and the Phoenix Street Food Coalition.
Arab American Festival (October 22 – 23)
Celebrate Arabian culture with more than 35 international singers, dancers and musicians offering 20 hours of on-stage entertainment. Activities include folklore shows, an international food court, a hookah lounge, kids rides and vendors.
Cave Creek Wild West Days (November 3 – 6)
Wild West Days, Arizona's largest western venue and a Cave Creek signature event, will be held from November 3-6, 2011 in downtown Cave Creek. The four-day venue kicks off with a golf tournament at Rancho Manana Golf Club followed by three days of non-stop family entertainment including: mutton bustin', live music, a period costume competition, musical performers, period vendors, a western parade and Walk for 100 benefit, bathtub races, the Trainer's Challenge, Miss Wild West Days and various horse-related activities and other festivities. Wild West Days is a renowned annual western experience.
La Gran Fiesta (November 5 and 6)
The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts hosts this mix of culturally themed activities, concerts and dance performances showcasing Mexican, Caribbean and South American acts. The programs are free during the day and ticketed at night. Evening shows include a performance by Grammy Award-winning musician Sergio Mendes of the group Brasil. Don't miss the mercado with Latin food and drinks.
Frontier Town Firefighter Chili Challenge (November 5)
Firefighters and regular Joes from all over the state are invited to make their best chili in a contest with cash prizes up to $500. Proceeds benefit local charities, such as the 100 Club, which supports the families of fallen first responders.
Chiles & Chocolate (November 11 – 13)
Sample gourmet chocolate, zesty salsas and Southwestern food at this festival. See dance performances and listen to Latin music from DJ Miguel Ivery. A chile-roasting station offers fresh-roasted chiles, and vendors sell such food and beverages as chicken mole, burritos, street tacos, chips and salsa, brownies, soda, water and lemonade.
Chandler Museum Chuck Wagon Cook-off (November 12)
Try a plate of chuck wagon food prepared by one of the competing authentic 1880s chuck wagon teams, including selections like chicken-fried steak, cowboy beans, sliced potatoes, biscuits and fruit cobbler. Sample sizes are offered. Judges decide the winner at noon. A petting zoo, horse rides, candle dipping, tours and a general store are available and weaving and blacksmith demonstrations are featured. Pioneer Pepper and the Sunset Pioneers perform songs of the Old West.
Heard Museum Spanish Market (November 12 and 13)
Vibrant Latin culture will be on display at one of the Valley's largest all-Spanish markets, which also features strolling mariachis, folklorico dancers and cultural foods. More than 75 artists from Arizona and New Mexico will display their original works, which range in price from less than $10 to more than $1,000. Pieces include milagros sculptures, colcha embroidery, pottery, jewelry and paintings.
Festival at the Farm (November 19)
Shake hands and drink the juice of Arizona's own grape farmers and wine producers in the picturesque setting of Phoenix's historic The Farm at South Mountain this fall. More than 20 of the state's top wine growers will gather to showcase their finest wines at this interactive event. Guests will learn about Arizona wine production, participate in fun and educational wine seminars and taste dozens of wines. Come experience all the joys that wine has to offer.