With Halloween just weeks away, teams around baseball are looking to get fans back to the ballpark. From haunted houses and fall fests, to charity races and craft beer festivals, the Halloween at the ballpark promotional slate is full of intriguing options, several of which will be featured in our latest Promotions Watch.
Alas, the Casper Ghosts are no more, but Halloween has long been leveraged for special events by teams, especially in Minor League Baseball. Haunted Houses are still popular with some clubs, while others are looking to mix it up through one-day fall festivals that include a Halloween component. In many cases, teams are not even waiting until the fall to celebrate Halloween: Halfway to Halloween has been a growing trend across baseball over the past several years, something we noted in a June feature on the Mega Candy Drop.
Options for Halloween festivities are not limited to the minors, as major league teams are also getting in on the act. On October 31, the Baltimore Orioles will host the KidsPeace Trick-or-Trot. Featuring an appearance from manager Buck Showalter, Trick-or-Trot features a 5K race for adults and a one-mile walk for all ages, both of which begin at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which will host pre and post-race parties.
Also on October 31, the Boston Red Sox will host their second of two Halloween celebrations. During that afternoon, fans of all ages will be able to trick-or-treat along the warning track at Fenway Park while taking part in several family-oriented activities. A separate pumpkin carving contest will be featured at Fenway on October 29, with Red Sox front officials serving as judges.
There are also a couple of events in the independent ranks to keep an eye on. On October 25, the York Revolution (independent; Atlantic League) will partner with several local businesses in the 66th annual York Halloween Parade, which runs through downtown York. In addition to the parade, the festival will also feature a 5K that begins at 1 p.m. as well as a family fun zone.
For a true fright fest, many fans will turn to haunted house. The Rockland Boulders (independent; Can-Am League) have converted Provident Bank Park into a haunted house known as Field of Screams. October 23 will be the first of three nights that the event will be held, as the team is also opening its gate on October 30 and on Halloween night.
Around the minors, there are several Haunted House options, including one from the Reno Aces (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), who are hosting the Slaughter House at Aces Ballpark. In conjunction with the adjacent Freight House District, the Aces have staged a haunted house from Thursday-Saturday since the beginning of October. Proceeds from the Slaughter House—which is open through November 1—will benefit the Washoe County School District Children in Transition Program.
For 10 days this month, fans of the Oklahoma City Dodgers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) will be treated to a fright fest of their own. The Bricktown Haunted House will take place on the concourse of Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark from October 21-31. This will mark the first time that the longtime Oklahoma City tradition is hosted at the ballpark, as Brewer Entertainment is partnering with the Dodgers to restart the tradition after the event was not held last year. The Dodgers’ website notes that while all fans are welcome, the haunted house may not be suited for children under the age of 10.
Two other haunted house options to note come from the Lake Elsinore Storm (High A; California League) and the Charlotte Stone Crabs (High A; Florida State League). The Storm’s annual Field of Screams the Haunted Stadium is underway at Storm Stadium, giving fans the opportunity to head out to the ballpark from Thursday-Sunday throughout the month of October, plus a special opening on October 19 for Haunter’s Night.
During the final two weekends in October, the Stone Crabs will host Haunted House at Charlotte Sports Park. Admission to the event is free, but donations to the Boys and Girls Club of Charlotte County will be accepted. This marks the first time that the Stone Crabs have opened up the ballpark for a haunted house.
In lieu of a haunted house, several clubs are hosting fall festivals that include a Halloween component. The Durham Bulls (Class AAA; International League) are planning such an event for October 24 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Among the notable features of the Fall Fan Fest include catch and batting practice on the field, as well as discounted merchandise. Admission is free, but any fan who donates three nonperishable food items will be entered to win a trick-or-treat outing with Wool E. Bull, the team’s mascot.
The Corpus Christi Hooks (Class AA; Texas League) are holding the second annual Halloween with the Hooks at Whataburger Field on October 29. With free admission, fans will be given the opportunity to take part in several special events and offerings, including free candy, a costume contest, and a movie on the stadium’s video board. Nonperishable food items will be accepted as donations to the Food Bank of Corpus Christi.
Fans of the Omaha Storm Chasers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) will have a gathering of their own on October 29, when the club hosts its annual Baseballoween Bash. At no cost, attendees will be treated to several unique offerings, including arts and crafts, trick or treat, and glow-in-the-dark mini golf. In another twist, the Storm Chasers will also be accommodating dogs through their canine costume contest.
One last event to note comes from the Kane County Cougars (Low A; Midwest League). On October 31, the team will host the Cougars Halloween WitchCraft Beer Festival at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. The Halloween-themed gathering features an extensive list of craft beer options to go along with live entertainment, Halloween films on the ballpark’s new videoboard, and a costume contest. While this event is new to the franchise, this is not the first time the Cougars have made Promotions Watch for their connections to craft beer: Back in March, the team-branded Raging Cougar Ale from Two Brothers Brewing Company was profiled among the most notable beers in the minors.
With months to go until Opening Day, these events should attract fans. Not only do they celebrate Halloween and the fall season, but they provide an ample reason to head back to the ballpark.