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North Hills Monthly

How to Have a Howlingly Good Halloween at Any Age

Sep 24, 2019 10:33PM ● By Vanessa Orr

Zombies of the Corn

Pittsburgh is a fantastic place to celebrate Halloween, whether you’re looking for something fun for the little ones to do, an activity a little more daring for those teenage dates, or a bar crawl featuring all kinds of costumed fun.

“We have a unique position in the marketplace because we provide ‘friendly startles, gotchas galore and fright levels for all ages,” said Debra Dion Krischke, founder of Zombies of the Corn, which has been taking place in Freedom, PA for the past seven years. “While many haunts have an adult focus, we have tons of gotchas that are family-friendly.”

Visitors to the 70-acre compound located just outside of Cranberry can shoot zombies with paintball guns, spend time in the Z Maze, listen to ghost stories from a master storyteller and enjoy movies in an outdoor theater. Those 10 and over can also visit the Zombie Compound, where people “scream, swear and then laugh,” said Dion Krischke, adding that the last few weekends of the event sell out every year.

Cheeseman Fright Farm is now celebrating its 20th year of thrills and chills. “Our event takes place outside and includes a haunted hayride to the farm grounds, where visitors walk among the evil creatures that lurk around every corner,” said Betsy Cheeseman. “There are intense sounds, smells, sights and strobes that make hearts race until the end!”

Here’s a short list of local events for all different ages, sure to help you celebrate the holiday in a hauntingly great way.

For the Kids and Kids at Heart

Zombies of the Corn 

Sept. 27-28, Oct. 4-5, 11-12, 18-20, 25-27, Nov. 1-2, 282 Rochester Road, Freedom, PA. Have you ever wanted to play paintball but didn’t like the idea of getting shot or getting dirty? We have found the solution. The zombies have the rage but ONLY you have the weapons! A specialized Zombie Fighting Vehicle allows 24 people per ride to join our cause to eliminate these creatures that have an insatiable hunger for human flesh. Shoot fast, shoot true, and shoot to kill.

Kennywood Happy Hauntings

Oct. 5-27, Kennywood Park, 4800 Kennywood Blvd., West Mifflin, 15122. With the sweet smell of fall in the air, Kennywood transforms into a festival of fun! Pumpkins replace flowers, and cornstalks sprout up throughout the park. Young riders can enjoy Kiddieland and favorites such as the Merry-Go-Round, Auto Race, and Jack Rabbit. Plus, Thomas Town™, trick-or-treating, hayrides, and more! Enjoy traditional fun fall activities in the one-of-a-kind setting of Kennywood! This event is geared for children under 10. 

Kennywood Phantom Fright Nights

Oct. 5-27, Kennywood Park, 4800 Kennywood Blvd., West Mifflin, 15122. Face your fears with haunts, scare zones and thrilling rides. Experience the spectacle of terror on select nights. Not recommended for children under 13. Schedule and tickets at 

Halloween Gateway Clipper Cruises

The Gateway Clipper fleet is offering a number of kid-friendly October events including a Mad Scientist Laboratory Cruise (Oct. 12); Princess & Superhero Halloween Party (Oct. 19); “Spooky” Afternoon of Halloween Fun (Oct. 26); and the all-new Halloween Breakfast Cruise (Oct. 26) To see sailing times and reserve tickets, visit

Zoo Boo at the Pittsburgh Zoo

Oct. 19-20, 26-27, 10am-3pm. Pittsburgh Zoo, 7370 Baker St., 15206. Come dressed in your favorite costume for the all-new, not-so-scary Trick or Treat Trail, or head into the Pumpkin Patch Pavilion for the Monster Mash Dance Off. Other activities include Gymkhana’s Haunted Hideaway, character meet & greets, haunted house and Halloween parades. Bring your own treat bag. All activities included with general admission unless otherwise noted.

Pittsburgh Monster Pumpkin Festival

Saturday, Oct. 19, 10am-dusk, and Sunday, Oct. 20, noon-6pm. A spectacular fall festival where these monstrous fruits are the headline entertainment. Three venues are involved along Pittsburgh’s North Shore Riverwalk, including the Allegheny River, where the Great Pumpkin Paddle will feature rowers in hollowed out giant pumpkins who will race against each other in a series of heats. Food, drinks and craft vendors, pumpkin drops and master pumpkin carvers. Free admission. 

Bump in the Night at Frick Park

Oct. 18-19, 25-26, 6:30-9pm., Frick Environmental Center. Designed for children three to nine and their adults, Bump in the Night is an annual family fun event celebrating fall. Take a night hike; see and learn about nocturnal animals; sit around the campfire; carve a pumpkin; and watch a musical performance! Top off the night with refreshments and cookies before you head home with your carved pumpkin. Kids 3-9, $12. Adults $15. Children under 3 not admitted.

Harvest Valley Farms Fall Festival

Saturdays and Sundays in October, 10am-5pm. 125 Ida Lane, Valencia 16059. The entire valley is transformed from a full-time working produce farm into a fun-filled, pick-your-own pumpkin festival! Other activities include hayrides, cornstalk maze, farm animals, kids’ straw tunnel, corn pit, face painting, live music and more! 

Soergel Orchards Fall Festival

Sept. 27-28, every weekend in October, 2573 Brandt School Rd., Wexford, 15090. Celebrate fall at the farm! Pick out a pumpkin, and enjoy games, hayrides, great food and more! 

Cheeseman Fright Farm

Sept. 20-21, 27-28, all weekends in October, 7-10pm. Prepare for the fright of your life! On an isolated, 650-acre farm, no one will hear you scream! Includes haunted hayride, corn maze and multiple walk-through attractions. Attractions geared toward teens and adults (12 years and younger MUST be accompanied by an adult). 

Pumpkin Festival at Cheeseman Farm

Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 21-Oct. 27, 11am-5pm. It’s time for harvest and you can pick up your local favorites at Cheeseman’s, including honey, apple butter, and of course, pumpkins.  Activities include hayrides, petting zoo and hay jump; $4 per person, children 2 years and under are free when accompanied by an adult. All pumpkins picked in the patch will be brought back to the barn and weighed to determine the price.

The Scarehouse

Starts Sept. 27-Nov. 3, 2420 Penn Avenue, Strip District. The Scarehouse has been ranked as one of America’s Scariest Halloween attractions. Stalked by a Killer is an escape game in which participants have one hour to escape with their lives. The Basement features a series of intense and R-rated horrors that challenge the limits of fear. Stalked by a Killer is recommended for ages 12 and older, and guests under the age of 16 will require adult supervision. You must be 18 years or older to enter The Basement, and willing to sign a waiver. Tickets for both activities at

Adults Only

Nightmare on Forbes Street

Now through Halloween Night, opens at 4 p.m., 268 Forbes Ave., downtown. Pop-up bar featuring frightful cocktails and food, including The Krueger, Satanico, Freddy’s Fingers and Twisted Souls. Fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater PA.

Halloween Bar Crawl

Saturday, Oct. 19, 3-11 p.m., Southside Flats. Wear your coolest, scariest or sexiest costume and join Bar Crawl Live in Southside. Five+ bars involved, drink specials, prize for best costume. Tickets $19.99 (early bird) to $29.99.

Ninth Annual Boo & Brew Bash

Saturday, Oct. 19, 6-10 p.m., downtown. Calling all Make-A-Wish® supporters 21 and over... tour some of Downtown Pittsburgh's best bars, enjoy classic brews and signature cocktails culminating in an official After Party featuring late-night bites. Boo & Brew registration includes drink tickets redeemable from 6-10 p.m. at each of the bar crawl stops (four drinks total) and appetizers at the event’s official After Party. All proceeds support Make-A-Wish and help create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

HEARTH's Halloween Costume Contest at Bar 11

Thursday, Oct. 24, 7-10pm. Join HEARTH at Southside's infamous Bar 11 for a haunting good time! There will be delicious drinks, snacks, a silent auction, and a costume contest! Costume contest entry is $20 on Eventbrite and $25 at the door. Your entry will also include general entry to Bar 11 for the evening and a raffle ticket to win a special prize. Those not entering the contest have a $5 cover at the door. Southside street parking is limited; there are ample Ubers and Lyfts available within the area.