Spooky Season: How to Celebrate Halloween in 2021

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Large Jack o'lanterns at the Minnesota Zoo at night

Spooky Season: How to Celebrate Halloween in 2021

By Jake Juliot

Minnesota’s spookiest season is back. Whether you’re looking for frightful fun or not-so-scary tricks and treats, keep reading to discover how Minnesotans are celebrating Halloween this year.

Haunted Ships, Houses, Hayrides & More

If venturing into a creepy woods at night is more your thing, check out the Dead End Hayride in Wyoming, where you’ll be carted into a haunted forest on a wagon and prompted to find your way back by foot—with terrifying twists and turns around every dark corner. Check out the longest-running haunted hayride in Minnesota at The Haunting Experience in Cottage Grove. Molitor’s Haunted Acres in Sauk Rapids lets you be the intruder at their haunted walk through, where guests encounter multiple haunted houses and meetings with the undead. In Marshall, find five levels of thrills at the Haunted Tower on Erie Road in the Merit Center Fire Tower. The higher you go, the scarier it gets. If you dare, visit the Haunted Farm in Moorhead and explore multiple spaces filled with terrifying frights. Valleyfair turns up the scares when the sun goes down at ValleyScare’s Halloween Haunt, the upper Midwest’s largest Halloween event. Find haunted mazes, scare zones and monsters prowling the park. Find thrills in Duluth at the William A. Irvin Haunted Ship Tours. This self-guided tour in the historic ore ship will take you through dark, eerie hallways, where you encounter mysterious sightings and spooks at every turn.

For the Little Witches & Ghouls

Halloween is one of the best holidays for kids, and Minnesota has a number of safer ways for the little ones to experience all of its magic.

The ever-popular Sever’s Fall Festival in Shakopee is back with popular attractions like the corn maze, petting zoo, pig races and more. This year also brings something new for those wishing to stay in their cars. Stoneybrook Farms in St. Cloud has a 9-acre maze with easy and hard options, as well as a pick-your-own-pumpkin patch.

Anoka is known as the “Halloween Capital of the World,” and always provides a spooktacular time. Throughout October, Anoka will host a variety of Halloween festivities like outdoor movie nights, a scavenger hunt and more. Visit their Halloween hub to see event details.

In Duluth, at the Lake Superior Zoo, Boo at the Zoo is back for little ones to celebrate Halloween with some real party animals. Festivities include trick or treating, a mini pumpkin hunt and magic show. Visit Valleyfair to celebrate with Snoopy and the PEANUTS gang at The Great Pumpkin Fest for some not-so-scary Halloween activities and live entertainment.

Pumpkin-shaped entrance to the Pumpkins display at the MN Zoo

Pumpkin-shaped entrance to the Pumpkins display at the Minnesota Zoo

Spooky Celebrations After Dark

The popular Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is back at the Minnesota Zoo through Nov. 7. Stroll through thousands of carved and illuminated pumpkins. The walk is bound to put you in the festive spirit. Sever’s in Shakopee is putting a new spin on fall colors with its new Fall Lights drive-through display. See 1.2 million twinkling lights that dance to festive fall tunes through Oct. 30. Navigate through A&G Produce’s Moonlight Maze After Dark on select dates in October in St. Joseph. Snag a spot on Main Street in Anoka to see the Light Up the Night parade, with a full line-up of colorfully lit floats on October 23. 

Creepy doll beside a vintage sewing machine

Get dolled up and celebrate the Creepy Doll Costume Pageant / Nate DeBoer

Creepy Dolls and Cocktails 

The creepy dolls are back in Rochester at the Olmsted County History Center. See these creepy dolls and learn their mysterious history while you sip festive crafted cocktails and enjoy live music.  

Get Your Steps During a Spooky Tour

Stroll through your favorite Minnesota town and learn about its spooky history on an outdoor ghost walk. These ticketed events are led by an engaging storyteller who will share spooky tales and ghostly sightings throughout popular spots in Anoka, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Stillwater

More Seasonal Celebrations 

If you want less scares and more celebrations, check out Mankato's Old Town Day of the Dead community cultural festival with local vendors, food, live entertainment and more. 

For more fall fun, visit a pumpkin patch, discover a corn maze and find other seasonal festivals and events


Jake Juliot

Jake Juliot is a PR and communications specialist for Explore Minnesota. He loves attending shows at Minnesota's wonderful theaters and seeking out the latest and greatest craft cocktails and Minnesota beers.