ATX Rookie Guide to Halloween

Story by Ceci Gonzales As a first-year student last fall, I was clueless on how to spend Halloween night amid a city full of activities ranging from haunted houses to comedy shows. Partly because I had class the following morning, I ended up watching my friends doll up for the night, then stalking their cute pictures on my newsfeed. Here are a few guidelines and friendly tips on how to spice up your Halloween night (unless you want to end up at home alone watching Netflix and stuffing your face with candy).

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Pumpkin Carving: Start your Halloween week by carving a pumpkin and watching a scary movie at Haymaker — a local restaurant on Manor Road — on Tuesday, October 28 at 6:30 p.m. You can BYOP (bring your own pumpkin) or purchase one from Haymaker upon arriving. Carving tools will be provided and the most creatively carved pumpkin wins a prize! For more information, visit

5th Annual Comedy Séance: Get some laughs on Halloween’s Eve at the popular comedy show hosted by Satan at the Spiderhouse Café. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the entry fee is $10.

Sixth Street: Probably the most popular attraction on Halloween night is downtown. Around 100,000 people roam the streets in costumes of all shapes and sizes. To be honest, it’s not for everyone, especially if you’re not comfortable with drunken crowds. Rule of advice if you decide to go: BE SAFE. Do not go out alone, monitor how much you drink and take a least one friend with you. Also, keep that pepper spray handy!

Monsters and hooligans flood Sixth Street on Halloween 2013. Photo by Lauren Ussery

The House of Torment: If you’re looking for a place with Hollywood-quality effects to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, try the highest-rated Austin haunted house,located at the Highland Mall. The House of Torment consists of three differently themed houses in which assortments of well-executed animatronics wait to terrify you. Check out their website for ticket prices and times.

Halloween Movie Showings: Enjoy a bag of buttered popcorn while watching the classic 1978 “Halloween” film or learn the callbacks to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at The Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline. Tickets are available at

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DIY: Instead of spending money on a brand new costume that you’re probably only going to wear once (nobody likes an outfit repeater) make your own! Pinterest is always ready to lend a hand when it comes to DIY projects, even when you need to make one last minute. Some of my favorites include Starbucks Girl, Morton Salt Girl, Sheldon and Amy from "The Big Bang Theory," Velma and Shaggy from "Scooby Doo," and the classic scarecrow.

Thrift Stores: Goodwill and Buffalo Exchange are good places to search for a costume when you have no idea what to be or if you have a small budget and are willing to whip out a few bucks for a costume. Make sure you wash your costume before debuting it, though. (Is that fake costume store blood or real blood?)

Customers browse through costume options at a Goodwill store. Photo courtesy of

Be mindful: Halloween is a holiday where dressing up in a costume for the sake of having fun is accepted. Just be careful on your costume of choice and how it might affect others. Ask yourself a few questions: What message will you be sending with your costume? What is the intended attitude of your costume (scary, silly, sexy)? Is my costume stereotyping a particular ethnic group or religion? Also, remember to R-E-S-P-E-C-T (find out what it means to me…) others’ Halloween getups. Do not shame anyone else’s choice of dress, even if it does not align with your opinions on decency. A costume that seems interesting to you is never an invitation to touch or take pictures without their consent.

Props: Props can add a special touch to your costume, and can make it more memorable. Just avoid choosing a prop that could be confused with the real thing (e.g., a gun or knife). Police officers are more alert on Halloween night, and you don’t want to end up in the backseat of a cop car while all of your friends are still out enjoying the festivities.


You’ve heard it so many times before, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you feel you can’t drive home, call or text a friend who would be willing to help you get home safely.