Just when cold winds and early snows move into the northern U.S., mellow autumn sunshine and crisp, starry nights make it the perfect time for a Mesquite getaway. One of the Lone Star State’s longest-running Tree City USA towns, 29 years and going strong, Mesquite delivers on the fall foliage with a blazing red and gold tree canopy.
The city also packs the month of October full of family events to celebrate the culture and traditions of the season. There are Halloween costume contests and trick or treating along decorated neighborhood streets, as well as annual events that bring the whole town together like a spooky camp out weekend, the authentic and artistic Day of the Dead celebration, and the costumed spectacle of PumpkinFest. Revel in harvest season at these festivals and events for all ages.
Halloween in Mesquite
This Texas town embraces Halloween in a big way, not just on October 31 but all month long. Neighborhoods light up with jack-o-lanterns and sidewalks draped with skeletons, spider webs, and things that go bump in the night. The city hosts annual family favorites like the Haunted Camp Out weekend, PumpkinFest, and the new Guts and Gory Zombie Run and Challenge.
Three Mesquite retailers stock everything you need for your most ghoulish gatherings, like ghostly fog machines, menacing party favors, and oversized inflatables for your front lawn at Spirit Halloween, trick or treat bags and buckets, pumpkin carving kits, and table decorations at Party City, and just about any kind of costume you can dream up, from trendy, movie-themed monsters and creepy clowns to classic mummies, witches, and vampires at Halloween City.
Haunted Camp Out
Pitch your tent and get ready to roast marshmallows at the Haunted Camp Out, an overnight camping experience at Camp Rorie Galloway. Set up your campsite with skeletal campers, giant spiders, pumpkins lights, and more for the tent decorating contest. Dress up as your favorite funny, spine-tingling, or huggably cute character for the costume contest, take a ride on the camp zipline, and gather ‘round a roaring campfire as the sun sets to make s’mores. The $50 fee for a family of four includes Saturday night dinner and Sunday morning breakfast.
Guts and Gory Zombie Run and Challenge
Find out if you have what it takes to survive a zombie apocalypse at the Guts and Gory Zombie Run and Challenge in the woods of Camp Rorie Galloway. Sign up for one of the staggered start times to run the course other zombie-busting weekend warrior teams. You and your team of 10 must outrun the zombie horde as you tackle obstacles and complete missions that will push your strength, speed, problem-solving, and teamwork skills to the limit. Celebrate your victory after you cross the 3K finish line at the post-race Toxic Glow Dance Party, with a professional DJ, light show, and pizza included in your race registration.
Day of the Dead
Halloween’s haunting traditions meet the soulful Mexican and Latin American celebration Dia de la Muertos at Mesquite’s Day of the Dead Festival. Historically held to honor family and friends who have passed away, Day of the Dead blends cultural traditions like sugar skull painting and sampling a tasty slice of the sweet, citrus bread Pan de Muertos with Halloween face painting, crafts, and live music. Start your afternoon with free admission to the Mesquite Arts Center and reception for resident artist Jesus Delgado. Mesquite Arts Theater presents a haunted hospital tour, commemorating the Arts Center’s former life as a community hospital. Wrap up your celebration with the Mesquite Symphony Orchestra and their Halloween-themed opening night performance Sounds in the Night.
Dress up in your favorite costume and join the party when Mesquite’s break-out harvest festival takes over Valley Creek Park at PumpkinFest. It’s the 19th year for this carnival of live performances, games, and artisan crafters, with armor-clad knights thundering across the jousting ring on horseback, costumed nobles demonstrating the ancient art of falconry, and storytellers weaving spooky tales of Halloween lore. See expert archers demonstrate their bulls-eye skills. Navigate the Wolf Den Maze and go trick or treating in Peddler's Alley. Enter costume and pie-eating contests for prizes, then stop by Gepetto’s Theater for the puppet show. There are crafts, games, a bounce house, and plenty of Halloween treats to enjoy all day long.
Written by Ann Gibson for RootsRated in partnership with Mesquite CVB.