It all started a few years back. October in Oro Valley used to be just like any other month, calm and peaceful. Sure, we had the regular run-ins with the common spine-tingling desert dwellers like rattlesnakes, scorpions, tarantulas and other creepy crawlies. But the things that inhabit Oro Valley in October nowadays are—how can I say it—a bit different.
Some are magical, others are evil and creepy, and some are just dead. That’s right, I’m talking about witches, goblins, ghosts, zombies and monsters! You name it, we’ve got it. So it’s no surprise that Oro Valley is the place to be in October to celebrate Halloween. Haunted hayrides, Halloween festivals and parties, zombie archery shoot and even a Halloween costume contest for your dog! This is your guide to the spookiest, creepiest, scariest, spine-chilling October imaginable.
Oct. 5: Monster Mash & 5K at Steam Pump Ranch. This is where it all begins! Join us at Steam Pump Ranch, 10901 N. Oracle Road, as we kick off the Halloween season with terror and horror! This action-packed spooky event will take place on Friday, October 5, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. There will be a scary movie scavenger hunt, creepy carnival games, pumpkin decorating, food trucks, photo booth and a haunted hayride featuring local lore. Adults and teens over 15 may bring a carved pumpkin for even bigger prizes. Admission and most activities are free; tickets will be available for purchase for select activities. As part of the Monster Mash, there’s also a fun 5K run/walk, with costumes and themed relays. The race begins at 6 p.m. Registration fee required.
NEW! October 5, 12 and 19: Haunted Hayrides at Steam Pump Ranch. Come get spooked out on local ghost stories as we take a journey around the ranch and uncover some of the creepiest ghost tales from the southwest. These stories include the Chupacabra, the chair that rocks itself, the ghosts of Tombstone’s Boot Hill, the prospector that roams the Santa Catalina Mountains and the ghost that protects the mine with the Iron Door. October 5 at the Monster Mash will be your first opportunity to hop on for the ride. But if you can’t make it that night, don’t worry. You can also take a Haunted Hayride at the Ranch on Oct. 12 or 19, from 7 to 10 p.m.
October 20: Zombie Shoot at the Naranja Park Archery Range. On Saturday, October 20, from 8 to 11 a.m., join us at the Naranja Park Archery Range (810 W. Naranja Drive) for a free “Zombie Shoot.” We will have zombie games and pumpkin shooting, as well as a 14-target 3D fun shoot on the west walking course, and fun zombie targets on the fixed range!
October 20: Doggie Dash ‘n Dawdle & Dog Festival at Riverfront Park. We’ve got something special for your four-legged friends on October 20 at Riverfront Park (551 W. Lambert Lane). Join us for the annual Doggie Dash ‘n Dawdle! Don’t miss out on this fun event packed with doggie activities, costume contest, vendors and even a race! The dog festival portion of the event is free, so join us anytime from 5 to 8 p.m. Registration fees apply to those who would like to participate in the one- or two-mile run/walk. Race-day registration (begins at 4:30 p.m.) is $15, and races begin at 5:30 p.m. Registration includes a special Doggie Dash ‘n Dawdle souvenir, giveaways and a medal. T-shirts are available for purchase during online registration for $10, or on race day for $15. Thank you to title sponsor Northwest Pet Clinic for 5 years of support!
October 26: Halloween Spooktacular at the Oro Valley Community Center
Oro Valley’s Halloween Spooktacular has grown to become the Town’s most popular October event, with more than 1,000 costumed kids (and their parents) gathering for a free evening of games, treats and activities. This year’s event will have even more food truck options, a hayride and a live DJ to keep the beats going as kids enjoy the season and interact with costumed staff. So mark your calendars now, and join us for at the Community Center (10555 N. La Cañada Dr.) on October 26, from 5 to 8 p.m. You won’t want to miss it!
Nick Scala is the Recreation manager for Oro Valley Parks and Recreation.