Halloween Festival and Thriller Parade

This annual tradition has become a local must-do event as Halloween enthusiasts of all ages descend on downtown Lexington to celebrate the season. Lexington’s largest, free Halloween party will kick off with Halloween-inspired art and performances and will culminate with the Halloween Parade and Thriller reenactment. Food and beverage vendors will be onsite serving up good eats and treats.

This event, which has been named a Top 10 Halloween Destination by USA Today and was featured in the Top 25 Best Halloween Festivals Across the U.S. by Oprah Magazine, is brought to you by Lexington Parks & Recreation, Mecca Live Studio, and WRFL.

2021 Schedule

Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021
5 – 8 p.m.
Events will take place at several downtown locations. 

  • Halloween Variety Show
    5 – 6 p.m.
    Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza 
    Curated by Mecca Live Studio, this stage show features a DJ spinning spooky tunes and Halloween inspired performances by Lexington area arts groups such as Mecca, Dance Attack, Traci Stone Dance Studio, the March Madness Marching Band and many more.
  • Halloween and Thriller Parade
    Halloween Parade | 6:30 p.m.
    Thriller Parade | 7 p.m.
    Main Street starting at Quality and Mill Street
    Following the variety show is the Halloween Parade featuring floats, costumed characters, and even more performance groups. The festivities culminate with the annual Thriller reenactment where several hundred zombies will dance, dawdle and drag themselves down Main Street to the classic Michael Jackson tune. Pedestrians can watch all along the parade route. Rain date for the parade and Thriller Oct. 25.

Halloween parade

The Halloween Parade and Thriller reenactment and will feature zombies, ghosts, superheroes, villains and costumed characters of all kinds.

What are you going to be for Halloween? Before the Thriller reenactment, we hold a parade that is a celebration of all things Halloween! Join us in the parade to show off your creativity and Halloween spirit! Members of the community are invited to submit parade entries, (costumed characters, performances, floats, etc.) displaying their creativity and festive family fun.  There is no charge for costumed characters and entertainers to walk in the parade.

Entry fees for floats, community groups and businesses range from $25 – $150. 

Parade organizers judge the parade and give awards for the most creative entries!

Halloween parade application

Disclaimer: While the parade applauds all forms of free expression, it is not a political rally or a commercial opportunity. The focus here is Halloween fun; all entries should exhibit creativity and ingenuity with humor and the spirit of the season. Also, no commercial/marketing only entries will be permitted – the goal is to have everything decorated or everyone in costume.

Thriller parade zombie dance lessons

Become a zombie for the night! Both children and adults can participate as zombies in the Thriller reenactment.

Register online

Ages 13 and over | $15
Ages 7 – 12* | $10
*Note: Must have a registered co-participant who stays and is responsible for the child during the dance.

Rehearsal details & schedule
Participants must attend at least one dance rehearsal and one staging rehearsal from the following dates and times:

  • Dance rehearsals: Sept. 27 – Oct. 16
  • Staging rehearsals: Oct. 18 – 23
  • Mondays (outdoor option), 6 – 7 p.m. (registration/check-in: 5:30 – 6 p.m.) Moondance Amphitheater, 1152 Monarch St., Lexington, KY (Beaumont Center)
  • Wednesdays, 6 – 7 p.m. (registration/check-in: 5:30 – 6 p.m.) Artworks at the Carver School, 522 Patterson St., Lexington, KY. 
  • Saturdays, 2 – 3 p.m. (registration/check-in: 1:30 – 2 p.m.) Artworks at the Carver School, 522 Patterson St., Lexington, KY. 

Check out our other Halloween events

Freaky Friday Flicks 
6 p.m. | preshow activities
7:30 p.m. | movie starts

2021 schedule

  • Oct. 1 | Hocus Pocus - Masterson Station Park
  • Oct. 8 | Frankenweenie - Masterson Station Park
  • Oct. 15 | Gremlins - Rescheduled to Nov. 5 at Moondance Amphitheater
  • Oct. 22 | Nightmare Before Christmas - Masterson Station Park
  • Nov. 5 | Gremlins - Moondance Amphitheater

Jack-o-lantern Trail 
McConnell Springs
Oct. 27 – 30
6:30 – 10 p.m.
Admission | $5 per person (children 12 and under free)

Halloween Printmaking Workshop
Artworks, 522 Patterson Street
Oct. 23
2 – 5 p.m.

Trick-or-treat 2021
Oct. 31
6 – 8 p.m.

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Festival
Nov. 1
6:30 – 9 p.m.