Old Traditions Meet New Ideas at Greenfield Village’s Annual Hallowe'en Festival

The historic site delivers an upgrade from ordinary trick-or-treating


Photograph Courtesy of KMS Photography

A headless horseman galloping by, more than a thousand jack-o-lanterns lighting a walking path, and professional actors dressed in elaborate costumes welcome visitors to Greenfield Village’s Hallowe’en celebration (a nod to the holiday’s 19th-century spelling).

The annual Halloween festival takes place at the Dearborn-based museum, which features an old-time pottery shop, glass-blowing workshop, and a working farm.

Along with treat stations for little ones expecting candy, the celebration includes singers, fire-eaters, and sword-jugglers to keep the roughly 65,000 attendees entertained.

The event runs on specific days during the last three weeks of October, and this year’s festival will debut a new walking route through the village.

“For anyone who has come to Hallowe’en in the past, there will be enough that’s familiar, but a lot different too,” says Ryan Spencer, general manager of Greenfield Village.

For visitors expecting to see the old-style circus Top Hat Sideshow, the popular Hallowe’en staple will be back, showcasing card tricks, jokes, and sword-juggling.

With live productions of creepier stories like The Tell-Tale Heart and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, alongside craft beers specifically made by Birmingham-based Griffin Claw Brewing Co. for Greenfield Village, the evening promises more excitement for adults than typical neighborhood trick-or-treating. There’s even a super-secret, glow-in-the-dark cocktail in the works.

The experience is meant to be spooky, but not too spooky. “It’s not like a haunted house,” Spencer says. “It’s very family friendly, but we still see adults come through and have a great time.”

There’s also the bonus of Greenfield Village’s historic farms, shops, and houses dating from the 19th century. “Our celebration has elements of the past and elements of the present,” Spencer says. “It really shows Halloween through generations in a way I’ve never seen anywhere else.”

For more information about Hallowe’en at Greenfield Village, or to purchase tickets, visit thehenryford.org


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