Looking for Halloween museum inspiration to turn your institution into a spooky hotspot? Whether your museum is large or small, there’s a whole lot more you can do than just candy and jack-o-lanterns!
From escape rooms to sleepovers to dinosaur costume parties, check out these awesome Halloween programming ideas that museums of all sizes are already doing.
Halloween Museum Idea No. 1: Surround your visitors with a zombie horde
“This tour is not recommended for anyone who cries easily when trapped underground surrounded by a horde of the walking dead.”
Sounds like Canada’s Diefenbunker Museum are bringing their A-game to Halloween! They’re making the most of their subterranean, labyrinthine space by offering interactive zombie adventure tours in October and November. We love to see museums leveraging their unusual or historic structures to create unforgettable experiences that can’t be replicated anywhere else.
Halloween Museum Idea No. 2: Combine a murder mystery with an Escape Room
Looking to raise the stakes at your next team-building challenge? The Torquay Museum has remixed a classic murder mystery theme with the Escape Room trend to create a thrilling Escape Room Murder Mystery event. We can’t think of a more atmospheric place to solve a deadly mystery than surrounded by Egyptian mummies.
Halloween Museum Idea No. 3: Bring on the nightmares with a spooky slumber party
Boats are scary, OK? Confined spaces, dark corridors, strange creaking noises, pirate ghosts…sounds like the perfect place for a Halloween sleepover. And that’s exactly what the Cutty Sark historic ship organized for Halloween in 2015. The event was for families, but we think an eerie adult museum sleepover could be equally awesome. So whether your museum is on a ship or something a little more landlocked, adding a sleepover event to your Halloween programming could be just the thing to give your visitor numbers a supernatural boost.
Halloween Museum Idea No. 4: Light up the night
If murder mysteries and zombies sound a bit too terrifying (or tacky), take a page from Cartwright Hall Art Gallery. They’re hosting a nighttime Lantern Parade through local parks and gardens, complete with fire jugglers, musicians, and – most importantly – coffee along the way. Thinking outside the box (and the building) is a great way to make your Halloween activities stand out and boost your profile in the local community.
Halloween Museum Idea No. 5: Host an after-hours costume dance party
Let’s face it, the best part about Halloween is the costumes – and museums are an awesome place to find dress-up ideas. The Australian Museum is taking inspiration from their dinosaur displays to host a Jurassic Lounge Halloween costume party for adults (complete with the occasional live snake or bat). What cool costume ideas could visitors get from your museum? …And if you can’t get enough of witchcraft, ghosts, and the paranormal, check out the Salem Witch Museum, Winchester Mystery House, or Musée des Vampires for occult inspiration all year round.
Halloween is a great holiday for museums to get involved with: it’s observed by people across many different beliefs and backgrounds, and appeals to both adult and family audiences. Museums already have tons of atmosphere, intriguing stories, and mysterious objects, so why not use these advantages to create an unforgettable Halloween experience? We can’t think of a better place to spend scared out of our wits.
Feeling inspired? Share your favorite museum Halloween ideas with us!