If you’ve walked around downtown in the last few days, you’ve likely noticed the neighborhood looks a little more scary than you might expect. It seems Halloween has only grown popularity in recent years as even adults are joining the ghoulish fun. If it’s your jam, you are in luck: Downtown Knoxville (the organization, not the place) is sponsoring the annual Wicked Cool throughout the downtown Knoxville (the place, not the organization) area. The fun has started runs through that special haunted night.
There are lots of events and activities for the family, but the fun extends to the adults. Decorations are scattered all about the city, including some major spider action in the middle of it all. It’s all waiting for that perfect Instagram post (or TikTok, or whatever the kids are doing these days.) You can dress up and join in the fun (there’s a costume contest).
The festivities are sponsored by the Downtown Knoxville Alliance, Dogwood Arts, City of Knoxville, Graphic Creations, Christmas Decor Plus More and downtown businesses and property owners. You can go here to see the full list of activities, but here are some of the highlights:
Wicked Cool Cats: Back by popular demand, this self-guided scavenger hunt has more than $500 in prizes from mystery downtown merchants for winners. Participants can find black cats hiding in nine downtown business windows, scan the QR code at each location and register for the chance to win gift cards. Find clues to start the search here. Winners will be announced on Nov. 1.
Thrills and chills: Things will go bump in the night this October! Complete Knoxville’s creepiest bar crawl if you dare or scare yourself silly at the Tennessee Theatre’s Costumes and Cartoons.
Wicked walks and photo ops: Stroll through the spooky décor in Ghoulish Grove, stand under the Krutch Park Creature or make your scariest face at the photo op outside the Knoxville Chamber and Entrepreneur Center. So many surprises are scattered throughout downtown to capture the memories made. Snap a photo and share on social media using #KnoxHalloween and tag @downtownknox for the chance to be featured on Downtown Knoxville’s accounts and win prizes.
Supernatural snacks and shopping: Sit for a spell and pick your poison at downtown bars and restaurants, which will offer bubbling concoctions, spooky sweet treats and food not for the faint of heart! While you saunter around, shop for fall décor and gifts from local boo-tiques.
Costume contest: Show off your Halloween costume for the chance to win a gift card from a Downtown Knoxville business. Contest categories include: Best Couple, Cutest, Best Family, Best Group, Best Hollywood/Broadway, Best Kid(s), Best Pet and Scariest. To enter, get a shot of your look with downtown in the background – suggested photo locations are marked on sidewalks through the city center. Then, upload your photo online here or share on social media with #KnoxHalloween.
Brother Wolf is repeating last year with “Brother Werewolf,” Knoxville’s first Halloween pop-up bar. The entire spaces is decorated and haunted while $13 “gothic inspired cocktails” fill your libation desires. Featured cocktails include The Headless Horseman (Bourbon, *Green Apple Syrup, Black Walnut Bitters), Hocus Pocus (Mezcal, Blue Curaçao, Bianco Vermouth, Lemon Juice, Sour Patch Foam), Dracula’s Kiss (Tequila, Montenegro, Black Cherry Fig Syrup, Espresso) and more. There are also $9 Elixirs including the Trick (Mystery fruity shootie. Take if you dare!) and the Treat (Peanut Butter Washed Dark Rum, Creme de Cacao, Whipped Cream, Reese’s Pieces).
Meanwhile, not so far outside downtown at a nature center we all know and love, Ijams will sponsor Hallo-Week, a week full of Halloween activities from the 24th through the 29th. You can find the full details here, but the short version includes:
A Night of Haunted Tales with the Smoky Mountain Storytellers Association, Tuesday, October 24, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, All Ages welcome, $5 Ages 5-12, $10 Ages 13+
Ijams After Dark, Guided Hike to Meet Nocturnal Animals, Wednesday, October 25, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, Ages 6+ only, $15
Family Owl Prowl, Thursday, October 26, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Ages 6+ only, $15
Monsters Made with Love Creative Workshop, Saturday, October 28, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, All Ages, $26
Ijams Scare Fair at Mead’s Quarry, Saturday, October 28, 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, All Ages, Free
Ijams Enchanted Forest, Saturday, October 28, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, All Ages, $7, Discounts for Groups
Family Pumpkin Carving, Sunday, October 29, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, All Ages, $12
DIY Door Broom Making Workshop, October 29, 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Ages 15+, $55