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Have Fun, Do Good: Halloween Fun Galore

South Street Pumpkin Fest, a late-night run through West Laurel Hill Cemetery and more spooky things to do in Philly this week for a great cause

As we creep toward the end of October, community organizations and nonprofits are getting in on the Halloween fun by hosting events that sport a decidedly spooky theme.

As such, the coming week and weekend give you lots of chances to throw on a costume to have some fun for a good cause, like the Witch Craft Beer Crawl in South Philly and the South Street Pumpkin Fest—both of which benefit organizations that are working to keep their respective neighborhoods clean and green.

Run4UrLife invites costume-clad revelers to West Laurel Hill Cemetery after hours to run amongst the tombstones in support of a nonprofit working to feed local folks struggling with life-threatening diseases.

And if you need a break from Halloween, a community forum at WHYY on Thursday invites folks out to share ideas about how to tackle a pretty terrifying issue that’s plaguing Philadelphia today: poverty.

You’ll find details on all that and more in our roundup of the week’s do-gooder events below.

Things to do in Philadelphia this week for a good cause

1. Witch CRAFT Beer Crawl on East Passyunk Avenue

Costumed revelers—including one dressed like a hot dog—don witches hats at the annual Witch Craft Beer Crawl along East Passyunk Avenue.
Photo courtesy EPBID

Any event that couples beer with supporting a good cause is definitely something we can get behind. That’s just the deal at this annual bar crawl in South Philly, which generates funds for East Passyunk Business Improvement District (EPBID) and its work to “clean and green” the neighborhood. Attendees can enjoy discounts on seasonal craft brews at more than a dozen bars and restaurants along the Avenue, including Bing Bing Dim Sum, Garage Passyunk, the P.O.P.E and Stateside. Tickets get you $4 drink specials from Founders Brewing Company and a witch hat that you can wear as you creep, stroll or stumble from bar to bar. Wednesday, October 23, 5:30–9:30pm, $6.66–$10, various locations along East Passyunk Avenue. 

2. Forum on Justice and Opportunity at WHYY

A woman speaks at the Episcopal Community Services annual Forum on Justice and Opportunity.
Guests at the 2018 FOJO | Photo courtesy Episcopal Community Services

Passionate about tackling poverty issues in Philly? Episcopal Community Services, an organization dedicated to fighting intergenerational poverty in our city, is hosting a daylong forum on Thursday that aims to “spark a conversation, build community and inspire change.” The Forum on Justice and Opportunity (FOJO) brings together community members, social change activists, human service experts and more to delve into topics like social justice, expanding economic opportunity and sharing ideas about how to reduce poverty in the Philadelphia region.  Tickets are $50, but students can get in at the reduced rate of $25. Thursday, October 24, 9am–3:30pm, $50, WHYY, 150 N. 6th Street. 

3. Run4UrLife at West Laurel Hill Cemetery

People dressed in all kinds of costumes run through West Laurel Hill Cemetery for the annual Run4URLife charity event.
Photo courtesy West Laurel Hill Cemetery

West Laurel Hill Cemetery and MANNA, the local nonprofit that works to feed Philadelphians suffering from life-threatening diseases, team up on this sixth annual spooky run that gives costumed participants the chance to run (or walk) through the eerie, 150-year-old cemetery after the sun goes down. Prizes for best costumes will be handed out at a post-run celebration, which also features live music, and food and drink. All proceeds from each runner’s registration will be directly donated to MANNA. Thursday, October 24, 6pm, West Laurel Hill Cemetery, 215 Belmont Avenue, Bala Cynwyd.

4. Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday in South Philly

Two women post with their child, who's dressed like a witch, at the annual Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday event along East Passyunk Avenue in South Philly.
Photo courtesy EPBID

Looking for a more family-friendly way help the mission of EPBID? Check out the weekend’s Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday, also taking place along East Passyunk Avenue. Crowds gather around the Singing Fountain for costume parades—for kids and dogs!—arts and crafts stations, a scarecrow scavenger hunt and book-themed activities with the Free Library of Philadelphia book bike at the nearby Mifflin Triangle. The day’s not only for the kiddos, though. Grown folk can enjoy live music around the fountain from 2 to 4pm, and art and craft show from Nice Things Handmade, and food and drink specials at bars and restaurants along the Avenue. Saturday, October 26, 11am–4pm, free, Singing Fountain, East Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street. 

5. South Street Pumpkin Fest at Headhouse Plaza

A mother and her children, both of whom are dressed in costume and hold bulbs of cotton candy, sit on a hay bale surrounded by pumpkins at the annual South Street PumpkinFest.
Photo courtesy South Street Headhouse District

This lively annual Halloween festival draws hundreds of costumed revelers to Headhouse Plaza for a day of games and live music, seasonal food and drink, and good ol’ community building aplenty. The free festival is the closest thing you can get in city limits to a day of whooping it up on the farm, with hay rides, a straw bale maze and pumpkin decorating stations. Parents can also take their kids trick-or-treating at local businesses along South Street. Saturday, October 26, noon–5pm, Headhouse Plaza, pay-as-you-go, 2nd Street between Pine and South streets. 

More things to do in Philly this week for a good cause

A family dressed as Sesame Street characters Oscar the Grouch, Elmo and Cookie Monster smile for the camera at Philadelphia Zoo's annual Boo at the Zoo Halloween party.
Photo courtesy Philadelphia Zoo
  • A macabre-sounding soiree at the Bike Stop benefits Death Party Philadelphia, an organization working to spread death-positivity.
  • Take the kids—in costume!—to Boo at the Zoo (pictured), which benefits cool programming at Philadelphia Zoo, like the CropBox project that feeds animals and fights food insecurity in Philly.
  • D.O.P.E. (Doing Our Part Eclectically) is setting up at Thomas Paine Park again this weekend to feed the homeless and they need food and volunteers.
  • Penn’s “largest philanthropic student-run music festival,” Pikapalooza, features bands like Mawi and Nisplash and benefits the ALS Association of Greater Philadelphia.
  • For Light the Night, hundreds of locals raise glowing lanterns into the air as a symbolic gesture to “bring light to the darkness of cancer through research and cures.”
  • Popular restaurants and bars in Queen Village like Cry Baby Pasta New Wave Cafe take part in Stroll the Village, in which folks can swing by for food and drink in support of  PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society).
  • Live in Philadelphia and have a passion for fighting climate change? Join Women for a Sustainable Philadelphia for a networking event at Triple Bottom Brewing to learn about their work and maybe get involved.
Header photo courtesy South Street Headhouse District

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