Katherine Harrison, volunteer with Kino School, talks to Tristian Clark, kindergartner, in the Toy Story 4 room at Kino School, a K-12 private school, 6625 N. First Ave. on October 31st, 2019.

A Saturday night. A full moon. Halloween 2020 had all the elements of being the best one ever. Then, a pandemic happened and now everything is weird. Still, there are still two days to take advantage of some pretty spooktacular events. 

Festivities may look eerily different this year with the Pima County Health Department recommending that the community avoid door-to-door trick-or-treating, Halloween parties, haunted houses and festivals, all events that can put you in close proximity with others.

But, Tucsonans are getting real creative to make sure kids and families can still enjoy some Halloween magic. Communities are delivering candy bags to homes and groups have organized drive-thru events and fun things you can do while staying home. 

If you are still planning to trick-or-treat, the health department recently issued guidance on how to minimize risk while you're out and about.

  • Recommendations for those handing out candy include: setting up in open spaces rather than your doorstep, having a table or station set up where kids can grab treats and go and making sure pathways are clear of decorations and objects that might cause groups to bunch.
  • For adults, take hand sanitizer and apply to your hands and kids' hands while you're out, and wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before eating any candy or treats.
  • Trick-or-treaters should also wear cloth face masks (not costume masks) to cover their mouth and nose.
  • Everyone is advised to wear a cloth mask, keep six feet of distance between people who do not live with you and stay home if you're not feeling well or are sick. 

It's also a good idea to avoid neighborhoods that usually attract hordes of Halloween visitors. The Winterhaven neighborhood, for example, typically attracts thousands of trick-or-treaters and its board of directors is asking visitors and residents follow local and national health guidance and not participate in trick-or-treating in the neighborhood this year to prevent a large crowd from gathering.

If going door-to-door feels too frightful this year, consider one of these trick-or-treating alternatives instead: 

Have a spooktacular celebration at home

Creating space in your home to display some of your spooky books and items is an easy way to get into the Halloween spirit.

P.S. Dried flowers can add some detail to any creepy look.

There's no place as risk-free as staying in your home sweet haunted home. You can still scare up some fun by decorating your house, creating your own scavenger hunt, cooking up a Halloween inspired dinner (mummy hot dogs and eyeball meatballs, anyone?) and watching your favorite not-so-spooky movies.

Check out these local places and resources that can help make staying in extra fang-tastic:

  • Download a free desert-themed pumpkin stencils designed by Arizona Daily Star illustrator Chiara Bautista to carve the cutest Halloween pumpkin. There are four designs to choose from with step-by-step instructions and a video tutorial. Tag #ThisIsTucson in your creations on social media so we can see your masterpieces. 
  • Make your Halloween really rock, literally, with a virtual rock painting class hosted by Tipsy Picasso on Oct. 31 at 2 p.m. For $25 you'll get a kit with six rocks, paints and brushes, or you can use your own supplies and watch the livestream for free, although donations are appreciated. 
  • For the older kids: It wouldn’t be spooky season without some good ghost stories and when you live in a town as old as Tucson, there’s quite a few to tell. Head over to the This is Tucson Facebook page anytime for a virtual ghost tour to learn about the history and happenings at popuar Tucson haunts from local paranormal investigator and owner of Tucson Ghost Company, Becky McKiddy-Gydesen. 
  • Go on a virtual "Spooky Solar System Stroll" with Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium on Friday, Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. Flandrau staff will show you some of the spookiest parts of our solar system and answer all your out-of this-world questions in this family friendly event. Sign up on Flandrau's Facebook event page

Hop on your broomstick for these drive-in and drive-thru events

fotos por Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star

Tucsonenses disfrutan el autocinema Cactus Drive-in at Medella Vina Ranch.

Enjoy all the Halloween fun and treats without having to leave your car at these upcoming drive-thru events. Really get into the spirit by decorating your car and dressing up the kiddos — after all, half the fun of Halloween is having the chance to show off your costume. 

Scary Good Sisterhood

Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona is hosting a kid-friendly drive through event at its midtown headquarters. Collect a goodie bag and drive through five different themed stations: cookies and costumes, 'She'roes, pumpkin PATCH, women of importance and membership mash for interactive activities. You don't have to be a Girl Scout to attend, this event is open to all ghouls. 

When: Friday, Oct. 30, 6-8 p.m. 

Where: Girl Scouts Angel's Charity Place for Girls, 4300 E. Broadway. Enter the event from Columbus Boulevard. 

Cost: Free

Find more information on the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona website

Drive-thru Candy Bag Distribution with Tucson Park and Rec. 

Join Tucson Park and Rec. for a rolling trick-or-treating event. Kids will get a bag filled with candy, a face mask and small fun toys. This event only has 1,000 fun bags available, so be sure to cruise in early.

When: Friday, Oct. 30, 4-6 p.m.

Cost: Free, costumes encouraged

Visit Tucson Park and Rec. Facebook event page for more information.

HSSA Drive-thru Trick-or-treat

Roll through in your decorated car and costumes and receive free goodie bags from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona's education department. 

When: Friday, Oct. 30 from 4=30-6:30 p.m. 

Where: Humane Society of Southern Arizona, 635 W. Roger Road

Cost: Free

Drive-thru Trunk-or-Treat at Casas Church

Visit Casas Church for their first drive-thru trunk-or-treat event. Cruise through the decorated activity tents, and enjoy live music and candy.

Where: Casas Church, 10801 N. La Cholla Blvd.

When: Friday, Oct. 30, 6-8 p.m.

Cost: Free to attend

Visit Casas Church Facebook event page for more information.

Drive-Thru Trunk-or-Treat

Cruise over to Grace Community Church for a fun, family drive-thru experience for the kids. While you creep along in your vehicle, enjoy live music, hands-free games, to-go food boxes, raffles and prizes. Remember to wear your costume!

Where: Grace Community Church, 9755 N. La Cholla Blvd.

When: Saturday, Oct. 31, 5-7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free, but registration is required

Visit Grace Community Church Facebook event page for more information and to register.

Tucson Dragway's Drive Thru Trick or Treat

Dress up and drive through the dragstrip at Tucson Dragway to collect goodies and treats from local businesses, community leaders and racers. Candy bags will be handed out using extendable reach poles to minimize contact. 

When: Saturday, Oct. 31, 4:30-11:30 p.m. 

Where: Tucson Dragway, 12000 S. Houghton Road

Cost: $10 per vehicle. 

Reserve your ticket and find more information on Tucson Dragway's website

Candy Drive-Thru at North Valley Baptist Church

Visit a trick-or-treating event on wheels this weekend! Trick-or-treaters and little ghouls can roll down their windows and cruise the parking lot to receive treats from their vehicles. Volunteers will be wearing face masks and gloves during this event. 

Where: North Valley Baptist Church, 700 E. Palisades Road

When: Saturday, Oct. 31, 5-7 p.m.

Cost: Free to attend

Halloween Drive-thru Spooktacular

Oro Valley Parks and Recreation is hosting a drive thru event on Halloween night with goodie bags for kids, an online costume contest and costumed characters. 

When: Saturday, Oct. 31, 6-8 p.m. 

Where: Oro Valley Community and Recreation Center, 10555 N. La Canada Drive

Cost: Free

Find more information on the Oro Valley Parks and Recreation Facebook page

"Hocus Pocus" on the big screen

Is it really even Halloween if you haven't watched "Hocus Pocus" several times during the month of October? You still have a chance to catch the Sanderson Sisters on the big screen on Halloween night, Oct. 31, at these drive-in theaters:

Outdoor events for ghouls and goblins

The last moments of a super blue blood moon before it dips below a ridge as seen from Gates Pass in Tucson on Jan. 31, 2018.

Stretch the celebration to last all day with these outdoor events from sunrise to sunset. 

Costumes and Critters at Reid Park Zoo

Bring the kids in their costumes to prowl around the zoo for some safe and physically-distanced Halloween fun at the Reid Park Zoo.

This year’s Halloween event has been reimagined with health and safety in mind. The number of guests in the zoo is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance. All guests over 5 are required to wear a face mask.


Daytime: Oct. 30-31, with timed admission between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Evenings: Oct. 30-31, 5:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.

Cost: $10.50 ages 15 and up, $6.50 ages 2-15

Where: Reid Park Zoo, 3400 E. Zoo Court

Visit Reid Park Zoo's website for more information and to reserve tickets. 

"Curse of Captain Cutthroat" at Trail Dust Town

Arrr! Visit the Trail Dust Town's Halloween event this month! The Pistoleros Wild West Show will transform their stage to perform "The Curse of Captain Cutthroat". This 30 minute, high-impact pirate action show will have cowboy style fight scenes, sword fights, cannons, high falls and firey explosions for all to enjoy.

Where: Trail Dust Town, 6541 E. Tanque Verde Road

When: Every Friday-Sunday in October, at 7 and 8 p.m. 

Cost: $10 

Visit Trail Dust Town and Wild West Stunt Show website for more information.

Chalk for Hope, Heroes and Halloween

The Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance and Long Realty have come together to create a Halloween chalk art walk. This fun-filled event is socially distanced art walk where visitors can view murals created by local artists with designs of firefighters, healthcare workers and public safety officers.

Kids are encouraged to come dressed in first responder, healthcare and fun Halloween costumes. Attendees who arrive in costume will receive pre-packaged trick-or-treating bags of candy in-front of Walmart, while you meet local fire-fighters, police officers and other first responders. Plus, you can also participate in the face mask competition and make your own mural onsite thanking Oro Valley’s public safety community.

When: Saturday, Oct. 31, 2-5 p.m.

Where: Oro Valley Marketplace, 12155 N. Oracle Road

Visit SAACA website for more information.

Full Moon Hike at Sabino Canyon

Take the family, but leave the werewolves at home for this two-mile evening hike under the full moon at Sabino Canyon with Beyond Tucson. Bring a flashlight, loose-fitting clothes, insect repellant, water, and hand sanitizer in case you need to use the restroom. Be sure to keep your distance from others and bring a face mask to wear if you are in close proximity to other people. 

When: Saturday, Oct. 31. Meet at the recreation area at 6:15 p.m. The hike will begin at 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Sabino Canyon, 5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road

Find more info on the Beyond Tucson website and RSVP by emailing rsvp@beyond-tucson.org

Kids Halloween Drama in the Park

Wear your costume and enjoy Halloween fun in this outdoor drama class. All kids receive a free Halloween swag bag.

Where: Riverfront Park, 551 W. Lambert Lane

When: Saturday, Oct. 31, 9 a.m.

Cost: $15 per child, ages 5-11

Visit the Drama Kids International of Tucson Facebook event page for more information.

Quince, Corn, Halloween and More

This four-hour event has twelve activity stations spread out around a large, four-acre garden. This year's quince festival includes a cajeta de membrillo (sweet quince paste) demonstration, kid activities, spear-throwing, corn tortilla tutorials and much more!

Where: Mission Garden, 946 W. Mission Lane

When: Saturday, Oct. 31, 10 a.m.

Cost: $5 donation, face masks and social distancing required

Visit the Mission Garden Facebook event page for more information.

Halloween Howl Haunted Cave Tour

Muhaha! Colossal Cave is hosting haunted cave tours in the dark. Learn about the "Lady In White" and possibly catch a glimpse of her and other spirits roaming the cave.

Where: Colossal Cave, 16721 E. Old Spanish Trail

When: Friday, Oct. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 31, 5-9 p.m.

Cost: $10-$20

Visit the Colossal Cave website and click "book tours" for more information.

For your fur babies

Morgan Hilpert and her dog Tate, a Beagle, are dressed-up as mimes at the Dogtoberfest for Handi-Dogs in 2013 

Halloween isn't just for the human kids. Here are a couple ways to celebrate with your fur babies, too!

Spooktacular Drive-thru Microchip Clinic and Safe Halloween Alternative

If you brought home a fur-ever friend during the pandemic, you can get your pet microchipped and pick up candy bags at this free event hosted by Pima Animal Care Center. For microchipping, dogs must be on a leash and cats must be in carriers as staff will remove them from the vehicle to perform the procedure. You can also just drive through and pick up candy without participating in the micro chip portion of the event. 

When: Saturday, Oct. 31

Where: Pima Animal Care Center, 4000 N. Silverbell Road

Cost: Free

Find more information on PACC's Facebook event page

HOOOOWL-EEEN Spooky Mongrel and Hound Celebration

Enter your pup in a costume contest, get treats for tricks and join the Pooch Parade at St. Philip's Market on Halloween.

When: Saturday, Oct. 31, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parade is at 10 a.m. 

Where: St. Philip's Plaza Market, 4280 N. Campbell Ave. 

Cost: Free

Find more information on the St. Philip's Plaza Market event page

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