Fall brings out the best of Las Vegas, including the weather. Take advantage of the crisp air and cool vibes at food festivals that showcase some of the city’s best restaurants and chefs. There’s also Oktoberfest fun, or round up family and friends for any of the Halloween festivities. Looking for a scare? Las Vegas has that in spades, too, at museums, haunted houses and escape rooms.
TOAST THE CITY
The USA Today Wine & Food Experience
Get a taste of what the celebrity chefs of Las Vegas have to offer at the USA Today Wine & Food Experience, featuring more than 30 restaurants. Enjoy wine tastings, beer samplings and chef demonstrations at the Culinary Stage. Martin Carbone of Carbone, Shawn McClain of Libertine Social and Sage and Susan Feniger of Border Grill are among the chefs planning to flex their culinary muscles at the event. Oct. 26, 1-4 pm, Las Vegas Festival Grounds. Tickets start at $65 in advance and $85 at the door.
Every Friday until the end of October, Hofbräuhaus celebrates Oktoberfest with Las Vegas celebrities tapping kegs of beer, a roster of German dishes such as jägerschnitzel and currywurst, and, of course, Oktoberfestbier, imported from Munich. Johann blows a giant alphorn while a live German band oompahs its way through the evening. Add some shot-skis and optional paddlings from the staff for the closest thing to Munich this side of the Atlantic.
Opportunity Village returns for the seventh year with HallOVeen. An animatronic skeleton reads scary stories while interactive trees spook visitors who wander down the magical pathway. The event includes tickets to attractions such as Cheyenne’s Enchanted Carousel, the Forest Express Passenger Train, the Avalanche Slide and the Blizzard mini-coaster. There’s also live entertainment and a chance for the kids to trick-or-treat, play midway games and look at the Jack-o’-lanterns. Families can pick up treats at kiosks or at food trucks, or buy gifts from the holiday shop. Oct. 18-31. Gates open at 5:30 pm. General admission starts at $15, while a HallOVeen all-access pass for ages 4 and up costs $22.
The Linq Promenade
Right on the Strip, the Linq Promenade does it up for Halloween week with spooky decorations, street musicians, face painters, stilt walkers and zombies, making this a kid-friendly Halloween bash. Even the High Roller, the world’s tallest observation wheel at 550 feet, gets decked out in Halloween decorations.
Free live shows take place on the Fountain Stage hourly at night, while a costume contest comes with a shot at big prizes. On Oct. 26 from 2 to 7 pm, Triq or Treat takes place, where anyone is invited to the Promenade for safe street trick-or-treating with candy and prizes from more than 40 vendors and tenants. The party doesn’t stop after Halloween, as the Day of the Dead Celebration on Nov. 1, presented by local musician Mike Xavier, will feature local Latin music and dancing on the Fountain Stage.
The Haunted Harvest gives kids of all ages an excuse to celebrate fall and all it offers. The annual event at the Springs Preserve brings everything from carnival games and live entertainment to a haunted hay maze and haunted train rides. Kids can trick or treat or head to the petting zoo for quality time with the animals. The event takes place 5-9 pm, Oct. 18-20 and 25-27.
Rock of Horror Halloween Party
Downtown’s Fremont Street Experience brings the scares with the Rock of Horror Halloween Party on Oct. 31 from 2 pm-2 am. It features live bands, a costume contest, roving entertainers who surprise and more. A blockbuster lineup of Halloween music favorites—think “Monster Mash,” “Thriller” and “Ghostbusters”—take over the massive Viva Vision canopy that spreads over the entire experience.
Dr. Vander and his son Adriane head up the Meadview Asylum inside Asylum & Hotel Fear at Meadows Mall. Spooky hallways coax fearless visitors through scary rooms that include an admitting area, nurse’s station, patients’ rooms, therapy room, the morgue and more. Admission to one of the attractions start at $17, or do both for $27. Dates and times vary.
Official “Saw” Escape
Escape rooms are all the rage in Las Vegas, but the Official “Saw” Escape room takes elements from the movie series and turns them into a game created by the Jigsaw Killer and his minions. That means a trip through the historic Egan & Co. Meat Packing plant for an after-hours tour that leads to a series of puzzles visitors must solve in order to advance through the maze. It dubs itself “one of the largest escape experiences in the world.”
Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum
Zak Bagans fell in love with the paranormal at age 10 when he started searching for scary collectibles at garage sales with his mother and later turned his fascination with haunted things into Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures.” Now, he runs Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum with 30 rooms dedicated to spooky phenomena. The original staircase from Indiana’s Demon House now sits in the museum, as does a Volkswagen death van used by Dr. Jack Kevorkian and the Propofol chair from Michael Jackson’s home. Even scarier, the Dybbuk Box, a wine cabinet dubbed “the world’s most haunted object.” Tickets start at $44, and guests must be age 16 or older. Open Sunday from noon-8 pm, and Monday, and Wednesday through Saturday from 1-9 pm.
Fetish & Fantasy Halloween Ball
Perhaps the biggest of all Halloween parties is the Fetish & Fantasy Halloween Ball at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Nothing is too bizarre or risqué at this bash that sees up to 5,000 attendees. Get ready for go-go dancers, aerialists and laser lights. Everyone who attends, ages 21 and up, must wear a Halloween costume; whether it fits in the fetish or fantasy theme is up to you. Each room has its own vibe, with the Electric Boneyard, Red Room of Pleasure and X-Stage. Oct. 26, 10 pm-4 am. General admission tickets start at $69 and VIP tickets start at $245.
The Mob Museum
Revel in the second annual 1920s-era bash at The Mob Museum’s Underground speakeasy. Zombie flappers and undead mobsters look to be popular styles at this throwback party, which includes live jazz, drink specials, tarot card and crystal ball readings and prizes for best costumes. Oct. 31 from 5 pm.