Update 10/27: New events added! Welcome to West Chester fall activities where apple picking, festivals, beer, and ghosts, oh so many ghosts, take over. Around here there is no season we can’t get behind and that includes autumn. There are so many activities planned lately that my weekly “Mark Your Calendars” reminders have been busting at the seams.
So to help you get ahead of the game, here’s what you can expect over the next couple of weeks sorted by a few categories I made up. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see all the activities listed in date order.
If you have or know of an upcoming fall or Halloween event that is open to the public and is not listed here, leave a comment or drop me an email and I will get it added. (Note: I plan to do something similar for the Christmas holiday so if you want to get in that post – same email.)
I don’t know if you’ve heard but West Chester is haunted by a dark and gruesome past and there is more than one walking tour dedicated to making you aware of it. Are all ghost tours created equal? I’ll let you decide. Here are your options.
Tour: Chilling West Chester: A Dark History Walking Tour
About: From the horrors of the Chester County Prison to the cold-blooded killers tried at the courthouse, West Chester’s streets and alleys have witnessed two hundred years of spine-chilling history. Note: Due to the tour’s graphic content, it is not recommended for children.
Host: Chester County History Center
Dates: New dates added! Wednesday to Saturday now through Oct. 31. Weekdays 6 or 8 p.m. starts; Saturdays look for afternoon hours. Tour lasts one and half hours.
Differentiator: The historians and educators at the Chester County History Center
Tour: Haunted History of West Chester
About: A lantern-guided walk through West Chester’s spooky history from haunted taverns to forgotten burial grounds, and the traces of the past which might still remain there.
Dates: Most nights between now and Halloween. Look for times between 6:30 and 9 p.m. Tour lasts one and half hours.
Differentiator: Access. Want to talk ghosts on a Monday? This is the tour for you.
Tour: “Spirits Haunting Spirits” Pub tour
About: Ghost Stories of macabre events that took place in downtown buildings. You will be escorted by a “Ghost Host” and explore the catacombs of the buildings.
Date: Oct. 22
Differentiator: Alcohol. Cheers!
Tour: Back Alley Bedlam Prowl and Restless Souls Lantern Stroll
About: Choose between back alleys and haunted streets as you listen to hear 300-plus years of Borough ghost stories.
Dates: Every Thursday through Sunday now through Halloween.
Differentiator: Complimentary “aura” reading from a professional medium
It’s all about the kiddos
These events are specifically for the kids out there – literal, not at heart.
New this year, Lulu Casita’s is hosting its first-ever Boo at the Park. The event is scheduled for October 16, 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Marshall Square Park. Attendees will play games, do crafts, and trick-or-treat with their favorite Disney, Marvel, and Sesame Street characters. Tickets are $30 for kids; $5 for adults and are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Agnes is hosting a Trunk or Treat event on October 28 in the school parking lot. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
Back by popular demand is Toddler Trick or Treat at East Goshen park. Mark your calendar for October 28 at 10 a.m. and bring your little one(s) out to the park to trick or treat around the playground. Then head to the Hicks Pavilion for a Halloween-inspired toddler storytime. This event is free but registration is required.
Then on Saturday, October 29 from 1 – 3 p.m. , head to First Presbyterian Church West Chester on W. Miner Street for a free indoor trick or treat. Bring is a bag or bucket to collect your candy, and come in costume!
Also on Saturday, West Chester Area YMCA is Halloween at the Y. Activities start at 5 p.m. and include a floating pumpkin patch. Wade into the YMCA pool to grab a pumpkin to take home (swimsuits required). There will also be a Mad Scientist’s Lab, Haunted House, face painting, crafts and a bounce house. This event is open to members and non-members alike. Email Brandon at email@example.com to register.
Proving this season isn’t just about the kids.
This year the Social Lounge is introducing a Haunted Tales Dinner. The 3-course price fixed menu starts at 6 p.m. and is followed by haunting tales of West Chester. Dinners are $42/plate and are being held on October 12, 19, 26, and November 2.
A Tilted Axes Halloween is returning on Friday, October 28 from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. There will be a costume contest, cash prizes, dancing and $25 ax throwing for those properly attired. Note lanes are limited and reservations encouraged.
Kildare’s is hosting two Halloween parties this weekend – one on Friday (10/28) and one on Sunday (10/30) each will feature drinks specials and a $500 cash prize for the best costume. If you want a chance at that prize, you will need to be there before 11:30 p.m. and catch the eye of a staff member. Staff will be selecting standout participants from the crowd.
Iron Hill is giving you reason to have a beer and your candy too with thier Boo’ze and Candy pairing event. Candy will be on hand starting on Friday, October 28 through Halloween, n4 p.m. to close. Request a pairing at your leisure. Choose from Monster Mash, for your fruity candy fans, or Count Chocula, no explaination needed.
Levante is hosting a Boos & Booze event at their West Chester Taproom starting at 11 a.m. on October 29. Enjoy live music, adult trunk or treating, and prizes.
After you wrap up at Levante swing by Artillery for their Onyx & Haunted Halloween event featuring local favorite Onyx & Honey and a haunted revolutionary war bar. The no-cover concert begins at 8 p.m.
Also on October 29, Chester County History Center is hosting its largest fundraising event of the year, its popular Halloween ball. There will be live music, circus performances, and food catered by Spence Cafe. Tickets are $125/each. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. This year’s theme is Le Cirque.
And West Chester Elks Lodge #853 on Washington Street is hosting Spooked at the Moose on Saturday night – from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. There is a $10 cover but that gets you live music, a full bar, and a costume contest with $50 cash prize. You do not need to be an Elks member to attend.
Ghost trains and other spooky modes of transportation
These haunted tales will travel.
On Saturday, October 29, the American Helicopter Museum is hosting a family-friendly Haunted Helicopters exhibit from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be activities and treats as well as your usual cast of helicopters. Members and kids 12 and under are free. Everyone else is $15.
On Oct. 28 hop aboard the West Chester Ghost Train with the Westtown-West Goshen Rotary Club. The event which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. features a buffet dinner, open bar, and ghost stories from local authors. Tickets are $75 each or two for $135.
The Fall Foliage Express is already underway at the West Chester Railroad (the next train is Sunday, Oct. 16 at 12 p.m. and again at 2 p.m.). Later in the month the weekly tree viewing is paired with costumes and light trick-or-treating on the Halloween Special train. Tickets for either train ride are $20 adults; $18 for kids 2-12. Parents of small children note: kids under 2 are free on the Foliage Express train but will cost you $8 on the Halloween Special train.
Parades, festivals and Trick or Treating hours
Get all your fall feels while emersed in the season’s beautiful natural backdrop.
East Goshen’s annual Pumpkin Festival is taking place on Saturday, October 15 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Stop by for your annual pumpkin – that’s what we do – plus, hayrides, vendors, music, and their famous kid’s pumpkin bowling.
Hang out at the park or come back later for East Goshen’s 6th Annual Food Truck & Music Festival. Gone are the pumpkins and hay bales and in their place live music from Dueling Pianos and Not Quitting Our Day Jobs, drinks from Locust Lane Brewery and Chaddsford Winery, and plenty of food truck options to sustain you through the four-hour festival. Festivities begin again at 2:30 p.m.
Also on Saturday (10/15) Matlack Florist on 201 N. Chester Road is hosting a Matlack Florist Fall Fest. Stop by from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m for complimentary apple cider donuts, pumpkin carving demonstrations, fall photo ops, a make-your-own floral bunch bar, and live music from 12 – 3 p.m.
Fall Fest Weekends are underway at Highland Orchards. Stop by the farm on any weekend in October for apple and pumpkin picking as well as kids activities, hayrides, apple cider donuts, and adult beverages. Farm Market and pick-your-own open at 9 a.m. Other activities start at noon.
Don’t forget the West Chester Halloween Parade is returning on October 26 this year. The parade starts at Church and Market Street at 7 p.m. Treats will be available at “donation stations” before the parade begins. Stay after for performances by the West Chester University, East, Henderson, and Rustin marching bands. Also Bishop Shanahan, East, Henderson, and Rustin Dance/Cheer teams will be performing.
Trick or Treating will be held in West Chester borough and East Bradford Township from 6 – 8 p.m. on Halloween night. Westtown Township and East Goshen Township say they do not regulate dates or times for Halloween activities and ask that you coordinate with your neighbors. General best practice – lights off, leave the house alone.
Curl up with a good scare or a seasonal family favorite.
Uptown’s $5 Movie Mondays have a decidedly spooky feel for October. Choose from Ghostbusters (10/10); Corpse Bride (10/17) or the Rocky Horror Picture Show and costume contest on October 31. All movies are $5, include popcorn and start at 7 p.m.
This Saturday (10/15) West Goshen will be showing Encanto at West Goshen park as part of thier fall movie in the park series. Movie starts at 7:30 p.m. This is a free event but a dry goods donation (aka soap, shampoo, diapers) is encouraged. Blankets are also encouraged.
Lectures and other high-brow haunting events
Culture and arts
Chester County History Center Director of Education Jennifer Green will be presenting her book, “Dark History of Penn’s Wood” at the American Helicopter Museum on October 14 from 7 to 8 p.m. Cost is $25 a person and includes a signed copy of the book. Register by October 12 if you are interested in attending.
The Brandywine Ballet is getting ready for its fall performance and this year they are bringing the classic thriller Dracula to life. Shows take place at West Chester University’s Emile Asplundh Concert Hall. There are two showings scheduled either at 4 p.m. on October 15 or 2 p.m. on October 16. Tickets range from $25-45 depending on your seating preference.
Finally get the fall feels with the West Chester University Fall Choral Festival at Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall. The festival features a variety of choral works written for large and small ensembles and takes place on October 25 from 8:15 – to 9:45 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. No tickets or are reservations required.
Mark your calendars
- Oct. 12 – The Shadow of Humphry Marshall: Delaware Valley Horticulture in the 19th Century (virtual), 7-8 p.m. This is a Chester County History Center “Pay as You Wish” event. Registration is required.
- Oct. 12 – Haunted Tales Dinner, The Social Lounge, 6 p.m., 3-course price fixed menu followed by haunting tales of West Chester. $42/plate. Can’t make the 12th? Also available on the 19th, 26th, and Nov. 2nd.
- Oct. 13 – Simplify Weekly Meal Planning, West Chester Public Library, 7-8 p.m. Event is free but registration is required.
- Oct. 14 – Food Truck Night, Fame Fire Company, 4 – 8 p.m.Food trucks, craft vendors, parking – what more could you want?
- Oct. 15 – Matlack Florist Fall Fest, 201 N. Chester Road, 9 a.m. -5 p.m. Enjoy complimentary apple cider donuts, pumpkin carving demonstrations, fall photo ops, a make-your-own floral bunch bar, and live music from 12 – 3 p.m.
- Oct. 15 – Encanto, West Goshen Community Park, 7:30 p.m. This is a free event.
- Oct. 15 – 16 – Dracula, Emile Asplundh Concert Hall, 4 p.m. (10/15) or 2 p.m. (10/16) This is the fall performance of the Brandywine Ballet. Tickets range from $25-45 depending on the section.
- Oct. 16 – Fall Foliage Express, West Chester Railroad, 12 or 2 p.m. 90-minute historic train ride through the picturesque Chester Creek Valley; Adults – $20; kids 2-12 – $18; kids under 2 are free.
- Oct. 16 – Boo @ the Park with Lulu’s, Marshall Square Park, 9:30 – 12 p.m. character trick-or-treat, spooky sensory stations, games, pumpkin painting, costume contest and more. Tickets: $30/child, $5/adult. For Tickets – Email luluswestchester@hellowestchester
- October 17, $5 Movie – Corpse Bride, Uptown Theater, 7 p.m. All movies include popcorn.
- Oct. 22 – Chester County Flu Vaccine Clinic, Fugett Middle School, 9 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. flu shots and COVID boosters will be available. Flu shots are available for those 6 mos and older. COVID boosters to those 12 and older. There is no cost to receive a shot but if you have insurance bring your card and wear your mask – and be sure to register.
- Oct. 22, 23 – Halloween Special Train, West Chester Railroad, 12 and 2 p.m. Costumes encouraged on this 90-minute foliage tour with a brief trick or treating stop at the Glen Mills layover.
- Oct. 22 – CommUNITY Dance Fair, East Bradford park, 2 p.m. Enjoy dance performances, vendors, games and more. This event is free and open to the public.
- Oct. 22 – Community Book Discussion: Caste – the Origins of Our Discontent, Melton Center, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Hosted by former WCASD Director of Equity Dawn Mader. This event is free and open to the public. Registration encouraged.
- Oct. 24 – Chester County Community Fund Annual Meeting and Legacy Celebration, Uptown Theater, 4 – 6 p.m. RSVP by October 14 to 610-696-8211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Oct. 25, Fall Choral Festival, Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, 8:15 – 9:45 p.m., The Fall Choral Festival features a variety of choral works written for large and small ensembles, for women’s, men’s, and mixed choirs.
- Oct. 26 – West Chester Halloween Parade, Downtown West Chester, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 28 – Oct. 31- Boo’ze and Candy pairing event, Iron Hill, 4 p.m. to close. Choose from Monster Mash or Count Chocula. Request a pairing at your leisure.
- Oct. 28 – A Titled Axes Halloween, 19 Hagerty Blvd, 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Includes: costume contest, cash prizes, dancing and $25 ax throwing with costume. Note lanes are limited and reservations encouraged.
- Oct. 28 – West Chester Ghost Train, West Chester Railroad 230 E. Market Street, 6 -9 p.m. The Westtown-West Goshen Rotary Club is hosting a train ride filled with ghost stories from local author Bruce Mowday and others. Plus buffet dinner and open bar. Tickets – $75; 2 for $135.
- Oct. 28 and Oct. 30, Kildare’s Halloween parties, 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. Featuring drinks specials, music and a $500 cash prize for the best costume.
- October 28 – Trunk or Treat event, St. Agnes Parish, 6:30 p.m. in the school parking lot. Wear your costume. This event is free and open to the public.
- October 28 – Toddler Trick or Treat, East Goshen park, 10 a.m. Trick or treat around the playground then head back to the Hicks Pavilion for a Halloween inspired toddler story time. This event is free but registration is required.
- Oct. 29 – Indoor Trick or Treat, First Presbyterian Church (130 W. Miner St.) 1 – 3 p.m. Join for snacks, candy and games. This is a free event.
- October 29, 30 – Halloween Special Train, West Chester Railroad, 12 and 2 p.m. Costumes encouraged on this 90-minute foliage tour with a brief trick or treating stop at the Glen Mills layover.
- October 29 – Halloween at the Y, West Chester YMCA, 5 – 7 p.m. Activities include: floating pumpkin patch (swimsuits required), Mad Scientist’s Lab, Haunted House, face painting, crafts and a bounce house. This event is open to members and non-members alike. Email Brandon at email@example.com to register.
- October 29 – Haunted Helicopters, American Helicopter Museum, 6 – 8 p.m. Enjoy decked out helicopters and special treats. Members and kids 12 and under are free. Everyone else is $15.
- October 29 – Boos & Booze – Levante West Chester Taproom, 11 a.m. Live music, adult trunk or treating and prizes.
- October 29 – Onxy & Haunted, Artillery Brewing Co., 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. Enjoy a no-cover concert with a haunted revolutionary war bar. Oct. 29 – Le Cirque Costume Ball, Chester County History Center, 6:30 p.m. Enjoy live music, circus performances, and food catered by Spence Cafe. Tickets are $125/each.
- October 31, Trick-or-Treating, Borough of West Chester 6 – 8 p.m.
- October 31, $5 Movie – Rocky Horrow Picture Show, Uptown Theater, 7 p.m. In addition to the movie there will be a costume contest. All movies include popcorn.