Not long after the chill of autumn arrives in Central Indiana, the cultural phenomenon we’ve come to know as “Spooky Season” begins. Halloween seems to be catching up with Christmas in popularity in recent years and local institutions are joining the fun with themed events and activities throughout the month of October. Just one of our many favorites, the Halloween experience at Newfields Harvest Nights walks a line between cute, eerie, classy, spooky, and even downright beautiful.
If you’re looking for real scares, you’ll want to check out one of Indy’s haunted houses. However, while Harvest Nights is truly family-friendly, it’s not necessarily a children’s event. There’s something to awe and entertain everyone in your group, regardless of age. The fun begins September 29 and runs every evening (except Mondays) through October 31.
Member Newfields Harvest Nights tickets go on sale August 31 at 11 am. Public ticket sales begin September 5 at 11 am.
Newfields Harvest Nights
Even before you enter the Harvest Nights experience, you’ll be greeted by enormous piles of fall pumpkins and gourds and a whimsically chilling soundtrack for your evening. Make your way through security and ticketing and before you know it, your journey begins.
Elegant Pumpkins and Twinkling Lights
Your path is marked with cornstalk displays and colorful lighting. The first major stop is a gorgeous view of a large tree dripping in twinkle lights. The area surrounding the tree is filled with faux pumpkins with unique detailed designs carved on each one. Play a little eye-spy game to keep your kids engaged – if all the sparkles aren’t enough to do the job on their own. You’ll find natural, fall, and Halloween-themed images amongst the gourds, as well as a few that pay homage to the host institution.
Beyond this dazzling display is the Garden Terrace, where you can purchase fall treats and beverages, most of which are supplied by local businesses. Snack on caramel corn from Just Pop In! or giant soft pretzels from Half Litre. Grown-ups have plenty of adult beverage choices, ranging from harvest-themed beer from Elysian Brewing Co. to spiked cider and cocoa made with products from Hotel Tango and Ash and Elm. There are non-alcoholic versions of the cider and cocoa too, of course! Snag a seat on one of the Garden Terrace’s benches or couches or take your treats as you stroll through the rest of the Newfields Harvest Nights experience.
Pumpkin Path of Peril
The Pumpkin Path of Peril has perhaps become the most iconic scene from the Newfields Harvest Nights event. A trail you would easily miss during a daytime visit is transformed into a spooky, misty path of colorful, whimsical, glowing pumpkins. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a duplicate expression amongst the hundreds of silly, scary, and menacing faces peering out at you from the forest. The orange, purple, and green lights shining from within the gourds keep the atmosphere playful enough for all audiences, with the perfect dose of eeriness for authentic Halloween vibes.
Make a stop at the Ghost Train bridge about halfway along the path. A series of special effects allow guests to feel the thrill of the invisible oncoming train as it rushes down the imaginary tracks. Kids especially love this experience. As you stand on the rumbling wooden bridge, feeling the blast of air from the passing train on your face, you’ll appreciate the creativity that went into building this realistic moment.
Other Spooky Displays
Beyond the Pumpkin Path of Peril are more fun and frightful displays. Newfields outdoes itself every year with the imaginative characters, structures, and designs you’ll discover as you proceed. Local artists and community groups build the scarecrows that populate the orchard, and several photo-ops perfectly blend the museum’s mission to highlight both nature and the arts. Swing by the greenhouses to see fanciful decorations featuring carnivorous plants and glowing green lights.
The Grand Finale
Your stroll through Newfields Harvest Nights leads you to the Lilly House, where the fun continues both indoors and outdoors. If you love the Christmas decor inside the Lilly House during the holidays, you’ll be equally impressed by the handmade frills that fill the rooms and halls at Halloween. Spider webs take over the nooks and crannies of the 1907 mansion and spooky surprises designed by the Newfields horticultural team are hidden around every corner.
Back outdoors, you can’t miss the Mischief Manor show that is projected on loop onto the front facade of the Lilly House. Watch as ghostly guests dance through the rooms, making mischief as they go until Newfields’ iconic Three Graces come to life and save the night. The story is simple enough for children to follow, while adults may find themselves mesmerized by the technology at work behind the scenes.
When the time comes to exit, continue down the gourd-lined path toward the museum building.
Harvest Nights Admission
New in 2023, Newfields Harvest Nights offers more ticketing options to allow you to create the perfect experience for your family. Prices range from $15 value or member youth tickets to $119 premium Wicked-wonder Passes that include tons of exclusive perks. Guests utilizing an Access Pass qualify for $2 admission to Harvest Nights. All kids 5 and under are free!
Want the most bang for your buck? Select tickets on Value Nights to get the full Harvest Nights experience on evenings that typically experience lower crowds.
Regular and Peak Night tickets add a few dollars to your admission, but get you access to Harvest Nights on in-demand evenings. Those Peak Night evenings surrounding the Halloween holiday will sell out fast, so purchase your tickets right away. From October 29 through October 31, guests enjoy Art or Treat included with admission. Grab a bag at the entrance and hunt down stations throughout the event to collect treats and participate in creative projects.
Parking at Newfields Harvest
Surface parking at Newfields is available if you enter from Michigan Road or 38th Street. Parking is also available in the underground parking lot with direct access to the building. Parking is free for Harvest Nights.
Newfields Harvest Nights is a great way to enjoy the Halloween holiday with the whole family, but it also makes a fantastic October date night! This event has become a perennial favorite for Indy locals. If you’ve already spent a fall day or two at the pumpkin patch or one of Central Indiana’s harvest festivals, you’ll love this nighttime experience. Whether you plan to take the kids or just snuggle as you stroll with your sweetheart, grab your tickets for Newfields Harvest Nights soon!
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