The entire month of October is Halloween around Boston. But the week leading up to Halloween and the haunted night itself contain some of the most exciting events. From free activities for children to costume parties for the 21-plus crowd, the city comes alive with the spooky spirit of the season. We’ve compiled a list of some of the coolest Halloween events in town and, of course, in Salem.
HALLOWEEN PET PARADE Costumed creatures will descend on Faneuil Hall for a parade of cuteness days ahead of Halloween itself. After the parade, pets have the chance to walk the red carpet and be evaluated by judges, who will pick the six best-dressed contestants. Winners receive prizes from Faneuil Hall Marketplace vendors. Saturday, Oct. 26, noon-2 p.m., Free. Faneuil Hall, eventbrite.com
COSTUME DASH 5K The Boston Costume Dash is back. Runners will have the chance to debut their Halloween costumes early and participate in both a 5K race and a costume contest. Those who complete the race will receive a medal and fun sponsor goodies. Contestants 21 and over are also invited to an after-party. Saturday, Oct. 26, 3 p.m., $45. Fiedler Field, Charles River Esplanade, costumedash.com
FENWAY FRIGHT NIGHT HALLOWEEN PUB CRAWL It’s that time of year again, when Fenway bars welcome the annual spooky pub crawl. Cheeky Monkey, Loretta’s Last Call, and Lucky Strike are among the participating bars. Lucky Strike will host a Night Full of Fear after-party for pub crawlers. Saturday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m., $10+. Various bars; visit pubcrawls.com for tickets and details.
ZOO HOWL Zoo New England offers families the opportunity to trick-or-treat among the animals at the Franklin Park Zoo. Kids will get to participate in a costume contest, a howling contest, and hear zookeeper talks. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26-27, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., $12.95-$18.95. Franklin Park Zoo, 1 Franklin Park Road, zoonewengland.org
PRU BOO Can’t wait for Halloween night? Kids will have the chance to trick-or-treat in the daytime at the Prudential Center ahead of Halloween. The day also includes face painting, magic shows, and a kids concert at the South Garden. Sunday, Oct. 27, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., $5 donation. Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., prudentialcenter.com
STRANGEST THINGS: A MURDER MYSTERY DINNER PARTY Fans of “Stranger Things” will get to hang out in the Upside Down at Trident Booksellers & Cafe. The cafe will transform into Dawkins, Ind. (a play on the show’s Hawkins), where a high schooler has just gone missing. Dinner party guests are encouraged to don their best costumes. Sunday, Oct. 27, 7-9 p.m., $25. Trident Booksellers & Cafe, 338 Newbury St., eventbrite.com
BOSTON GROWN-UPS MUSEUM Just before Halloween, the Boston Children’s Museum is for adults only. Costumed partiers 21 and older will have the chance to trick-or-treat in the museum, explore a haunted maze, and take part in the apple cider doughnut eating competition. Attendees can purchase snacks from The Bacon Truck and drinks from a cash bar. Oct. 30, 7-10 p.m., $30. Boston Children’s Museum, 308 Congress St., eventbrite.com
THE PURGE COSTUME PARTY While the next “Purge” movie isn’t set to premiere until 2020, fans of the franchise have the chance to party in costume Halloween night at Venu Nightclub. Dress as iconic “Purge” characters Leo Barnes or Charlie Roan, or in whatever costume you want, and dance the night away. Oct. 31, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $15-$20. Venu Nightclub, 100 Warrenton St., eventbrite.com
SALEM HAUNTED HAPPENINGS October is full of haunted happenings in Salem, from the iconic Ghosts & Legends Trolley to the Salem Psychic Fair & Witches’ Market. The events conclude with Halloween Night fireworks over the North River. Oct. 31, 10:15 p.m., Free. Downton Salem, hauntedhappenings.orgLillian Brown can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @lilliangbrown.