The Grackle

Observations, Reflections and Miscellany from the Wacoan

Things to do in Waco this Weekend

October 27-31

7 years ago

By Juliana Mudd, Richelle Braswell & Palmer Brigham

Happy Halloween weekend! Celebrate the spooky holiday with the many events happening around town. And we want to be a part of all the fun you’re having, so let us know what you’re up to on social media by tagging @WACOAN and using our hashtag, #WacoWeekend. You just might be featured in our Monday morning social media recap!


Family-Friendly Halloween Events

Quick, name your favorite fall produce! Apples? Sure. Corn? Even better. But if you said “Pumpkins, of course!” you’re probably in the majority here. Why are pumpkins so emblematic of the fall season and everything this season entails? Is it their status as a superfood? Their bright orange color that so nicely complements the natural fall foliage? The pumpkin spice everything available at grocery stores these days? Perhaps these reasons play some part in the almost universal adoration of the pumpkin, but some experts say there is a more sentimental reason for this fondness — a nostalgia for simpler times when agriculture was a way of life and fall represented the bounty of harvest time.
And family memories made during this time of year seem to be just a little clearer and photos just a little sharper. With Halloween as the official kick-off of the holiday season, it seems that everyone is maybe just a little more cheerful. So, if the sight of a round, orange gourd stirs up a longing to lose yourself in a corn maze or sip a pumpkin spice something in the cool, crisp air, read on! We compiled a list of places and events where you can have your pumpkin experience — and probably eat it too.

If you’re up for a bit of a drive, head out to the Robinson Family Farm in Temple. From a pumpkin patch to a critter corral, there’s tons to explore. Get lost in the corn maze, catch a ride on the hayride and tractor train or take part in all the other games and activities. This event is open Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free, and wristbands for unlimited activities cost $10 per person. To learn more, visit
Closer to home, the Pumpkin Patch at Central Christian Church Waco on Lake Shore Drive is open 10 a.m. until dark every day through Tuesday, October 31. The Pumpkin Patch at Point of Truth in Robinson is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, through October 31. And stop by Carleen Bright Arboretum to take some pictures in their pumpkin patch through the end of the month. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 28, exercise your artistic ability at the Paint a Pumpkin event at Anniversary Park in Cameron Park. Finally, for a whole celebration that revolves around pumpkins, attend Pumpkinfest, put on by Waco Cultural Arts Fest, at East Waco Park from 2-5 p.m.
Or perhaps you’re in the minority that doesn’t care for pumpkins. Never fear — here are some other fall festivities and family-friendly Halloween-themed events. Admission is free for the events listed in this section.

Saturday, October 28

• Fall Festival at St. Louis Catholic Church from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Third annual Halloween Festival at Brazos Park East and Cameron Park from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
• Trunk or Treat at Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce from 5-8 p.m.
• Picnic and Movie Night in the Pumpkin Patch at Central Christian Church from 7-10 p.m.
• Trunk or Treat at St. Paul Lutheran Church at 5 p.m.

Sunday, October 29

• Annual Fall Festival at St. Paul Lutheran Church from 9:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• No Limitations with Trunk or Treat at Elite Therapy’s new location, 601 W. Loop 340 from 3-5 p.m. This event is sensory friendly.
• Trunk or Treat & Chili Cook Off at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church from 6-7:30 p.m.
• Trunk or Treat at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church from 6-8 p.m.

Tuesday, October 31

• Trunk or Treat at Zion Lutheran Church of McGregor from 5:30-9 p.m.
• Trunk or Treat at Austin Avenue United Methodist Church from 6-7:30 p.m.
• Trunk or Treat at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church from 6-8 p.m.
• Trunk or Treat Extravaganza at Christ the King Baptist Church from 6-8:30 p.m.
• All Saints’ Carnival at Carver Park Baptist Church from 6-9 p.m.
• Trunk or Treat at Concord Baptist Church from 6-9 p.m.

All Weekend

Older artists from around Waco and Texas invite you to admire their handiwork at the Apple Tree Bazaar Arts & Craft Show. More than 80 vendors will display their work Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Extraco Events Center. Tickets cost $5 for both days. Proceeds from the craft fair benefit Meals on Wheels Waco. Visit for more information.
Scream! The Waco Haunted Houses present special events for Halloween. Ready your vocal chords for Zombie Karaoke Friday and Saturday. Participation in karaoke will earn you a free t-shirt. Dress up for the costume contest and enjoy the various games and prizes. The Waco Haunted Houses are open 8 p.m. to midnight both days. Tickets cost $20. Visit for details.

The friendly ghost is here! Waco Hippodrome Horrorfest presents “Casper” this weekend. Friday showings are at 12 p.m., 3 p.m and 7:15 p.m. Saturday showings are at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. If you catch that morning time, breakfast is available in the form of an all-you-can-eat cereal bar. Sunday showings are at 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Then, on Monday, the Hippodrome Horrorfest concludes with “Risen” at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit
If you love musicals and satires on American society, you don’t want to miss the Midway ISD Fine Arts department’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie”! Follow superstar Conrad Birdie as he tries to make one final hit before the army sends him away. Performances are Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The Friday performance will include American Sign Language interpretation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Reserved seats cost $12, and VIP seats cost $17. To purchase tickets, visit

Take a bizarre journey to Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s residence as the Waco Hippodrome and the Waco Civic Theatre presents “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” This classic film is accompanied by a Waco Civic Theatre shadowcast performance. Screenings are Friday and Saturday at midnight. Tickets are available at

Friday, October 27


If you love horror films, you should check out the 8th annual Dark Mirror: Waco’s Horror Film Festival in the Michaelis Academic Center on McLennan Community College campus. Brief discussions of the films after each showing will focus on the way they can be viewed as a “dark mirror” of American culture. The 1984 movie “Gremlins” starts the festival at 3 p.m., followed by the 1987 movie “Evil Dead II” at 5 p.m. The 2004 movie “Shaun of the Dead” is the third and final movie, which starts at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, but viewer discretion is advised for anyone under the age of 17, and no minors will be admitted without an accompanying adult.

The Art Center of Waco will host A Night with Spirits at Balcones Distillery from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Union Revival will keep the night lively with some storyteller and folk rock music. Pair Balcones cocktails with hors d’oeuvres provided by Patti’s Kitchen. Have fun and wear a costume. Tickets cost $35 for members and $45 for non-members. Purchase tickets at
Hey, Jude! All Beatles fans will love Beatlemania64, a Beatles tribute band. Catch them live at the Jones Theatre at Baylor University from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20 for general seating, $35 for 3rd and 4th row seats and $50 for the front two rows. All proceeds benefit the James Swain Memorial Scholarship Fund. Tickets are available at the door. For more information, call 717-3078.

In the mood for some rockin’ country? Catch Lorena-natives The Brett Hendrix Band as they start the show at The Backyard Bar Stage & Grill at 8:30. Immediately following is Texas country singer-songwriter Kevin Fowler. Tickets cost $20 for attendees under 21 and $15 for those over 21 in advance. Tickets for both age groups cost $5 more the day of the event. To purchase tickets, visit

Saturday, October 28


Wake up with the Waco Downtown Farmers Market. Chat with local vendors, eat breakfast or a snack and enjoy the day. Stop by 500 Washington Ave between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Get up and run! Acres of Smiles will host the third annual Halloween Fun Run & Festival at Brazos Park East. Dress up in a costume for a chance to win a costume prize. The race begins at 9:30 a.m. followed by a free festival at 10:30 a.m. Children under 11 can race along the 1K decorated trails while adults can race in the 5K. Entry fees cost $10 for the children and $25 for adults. All registered participants have the chance to win various raffle prizes, including movie tickets and spa vouchers among other products and gift cards to local businesses. Visit to register and for more information.

Don your green and gold to cheer on the Baylor Bears as they play against the University of Texas Longhorns. The game begins at 11 a.m. in McLane Stadium.
Want a longer run than the Halloween Fun Run? Then sign up for the Chupacabra Trail Run at Redwood Shelter in Cameron Park. This race is the last one in the Huaco Cuatro Trail Run Series. Choose between a 5K, 15K and 30K, all starting at 8 a.m. If you can’t attend the race live, you have the option to enter the virtual race. Entry fees cost $35 for the 5K, $45 for the 15K, $55 for the 30K and $35 for the Virtual Trail Run. Prices for the 5K, 15K and 30K increase by $5 after October 27. Registration for the Virtual Trail Run ends October 26 at 11:59 p.m. To register, visit
Love Halloween and comics? Celebrate Halloween Comicfest at Bankston’s. Be sure to wear a costume to compete in the Costume Contest. Browse through the $5 Sidewalk Sale or enjoy the “Stranger Things” marathon. Pop next door to King’s Landing for some food and drink specials. This family-friendly event takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Dress up your furry friends and head on over to Harley-Davidson of Waco to enter the Pet Costume Contest with the Humane Society! Goodie bags will be given to the first 50 pets, and prizes will be awarded to the pet (and owner) with the cutest, scariest and most original costumes. The contest starts at 1 p.m. Pet adoptions with The Humane Society of Central Texas will occur onsite from 1-4 p.m. Visit for more information.
Slippery Minnow is throwing a Halloween Party & Costume Contests from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Enjoy live music from Fenix Theory, games and drink specials. The pet and children’s contests occur from 4-5 p.m. with both winners announced at 5:30 p.m. The adult contest occurs from 8-10 p.m. with the winner announced at 10:30 p.m.

Boo! The Historic Waco Foundation and the Heart of Texas Storytelling Guild co-host Haunted History at East Terrace. Hear ghost stories and tour the East Terrace House Museum by candlelight. Enjoy many fun activities, such as a costume contest, skeleton ring toss and ladderball. This free event occurs from 7-9 p.m. For details, visit
Writers, get your pens or keyboard ready! National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) looms ever closer. Stop by Panera Bread at the Central Texas Marketplace from 1-2:30 p.m. for the NaNoWriMo Kickoff Event. Meet other local participants and brainstorm your creative ideas. Share your passion and prepare for the 500,000-word novel you aim to write beginning Nov 1 and ending Nov 30 at 11:59 p.m. Find out more at

Sunday, October 29

Grab your hiking shoes for Waco Walks’ first “Science in the City” walk. You will meet at Indian Spring Park before starting the approximately 2.5-mile scenic walk near the Brazos River, including a trip over the Suspension Bridge. Learn about springs, bridges, stormwater and more with some stops for science demonstrations. This free event is great fun for everyone in the family. Leashed dogs are welcome. To learn more, visit

Monday, October 30

If you want to enjoy some music for Halloween, stop by McLennan Community College. The Choral Halloween Concert will be held from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Ball Performing Arts Center. This free event is open to the public. For details, visit

It’s spooky time at DPM After Dark! Did you know McLennan County Paranormal Investigations has declared the Dr Pepper Museum as a haunted location? Tour the museum at night from 10 p.m. to midnight and learn about the investigations and some behind-the-scenes Waco history. Tickets cost $20 and include a large Dr Pepper float in a souvenir cup. This event is for adults 18 and older. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, October 31


Don’t want to go trick-or-treating? Head on over to the Cameron Park Zoo for its annual Halloween Zoo Boo from 6-8 p.m. Explore the zoo and find the specially themed exhibits. Kids can also enjoy candy stations, face painting, bounce houses and more. Advance tickets cost $9 for adults and $6 for children ages 4-12. Tickets the day of the event cost $1 more. To purchase tickets, visit
Creekside Spooktacular is back for 2017! This event, presented by Regent Care Center and the City of Hewitt, has fun for everyone in the family. Enjoy bounce houses, games, trick-or-treating, costume contests and more. While the event lasts from 6-8 p.m., the costume contest is at 7 p.m. with three age groups: 0-3, 4-7 and 8-12. Food will be available from Pokey O’s, Raising Cane’s, Dave’s Burger Barn and the Hewitt Lions Club. This event is free, but donations are welcome. A percentage of the funds raised will benefit Hewitt First United Methodist Church’s Hallelujah Food Pantry. To learn more, visit
Put the ART in party! Painting with a Twist will have two Monster Mash Bash Parties: Silent Hills from 6-9 p.m. and Neon Skull from 7-9 p.m. Costumes of all types, from simple to elaborate, are welcome and encouraged. Snacks, prizes and spooky surprises will keep the fun going. This event is for adults only. Reservations cost $35 for Neon Skull and $45 for Silent Hills. Visit now to make your reservation.

If “Thriller” gives you chills, you won’t want to miss this show. Waco Hippodrome presents the Michael Jackson Tribute Light Show Spectacular from 8-11 p.m. Danny Dash Andrews, the #1 Michael Jackson impersonator, will star in this musical show that spans Jackson’s entire career. Tickets cost $50 for VIP front seating with some bonuses, $25 for floor seating and $20 for balcony seating. To purchase tickets, visit
Isabelle Demers, Associate Professor of Organ at Baylor University, and her students present the annual Halloween Organ Concert. The concert will be held in the Jones Concert Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building on Baylor University campus. This free event is open to the public from 7:30-8:30 p.m. For details, visit

Live Music

Friday night, catch folk and Americana artist Julia Tucker at Kissing Tree Vineyards from 7-10 p.m. From 8-10 p.m., Purple Heart Veteran Nick Sterling will be performing his acoustic set at La Fiesta. Or stop by Klassy Glass from 8-10 p.m. for a jazz trio performance by Byron Swann. For an acoustic evening, Cami Maki and her indie band will be performing at Papa Joe’s Texas Saloon from 8-10 p.m.
Divad Nedloh will get Saturday night going with a little bit of rock at La Fiesta from 7:30-10:30 p.m. For some Texas country music, stop by Lakeside Tavern, where Cameran Nelson will take the stage at 8 p.m. Relax and kick back at Valley Mills Vineyards’ Sip and Swirl as Steve Idlett performs from 8-11 p.m. Tune into The Backyard Bar Stage & Grill for Cory Morrow’s feel-good country jams as he takes the stage at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 attendees 21 and up or $15 for those under 21 and are available at For a weekend encore, visit Melody Ranch for Jordan Lee and the Revelry’s performance starting at 10 p.m.