Carving pumpkins and making costumes certainly are indicative of the cool temps of October. Likewise, it means the ghosts and ghouls prepare to jump from every nook and cranny along our haunted cobblestone streets, forests, plantations, warehouses and whatnot, as festivals, tours, haunted attractions and so much more get underway this month! All Hallow’s Eve lurks near and so many events will take place throughout the month to celebrate its frightful pleasure.
Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington
Though the tour is open year-round, the haunted history into Wilmington’s past certainly hits closer to home during October. Tours take place at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. nightly and are led by costumed guides who trek among back alleyways and side streets to share the chilling tales of places like Gallow’s Hill, St. James Graveyard, the Harper House and more! Folks meet at Water and Market streets, but must make reservations first by dialing 910-794-1866. Tickets are $10-$12.
Haunted Pub Crawl
The Haunted Pub Crawl is a great adult alternative to haunted houses. Tour up to five haunted pubs and enjoy a drink or twelve on the way. The tour lasts about two and a half hours and is strictly for those 21 and older. Tickets must be purchased in advance at the Black Cat Shoppe at 8 Market Street, $15.
Hell’s Kitchen bar and restaurant in downtown Wilmington will host its annual Monster’s Ball this weekend (Friday and Saturday) and on Halloween. There will be live bands and a costume contest each night, and of course great drink specials. Playing Friday is Carter Massey. Jeremy Norris and the Buck Shot Band are performing Saturday and Steven Compton will play on Halloween. Hell’s Kitchen is located at 118 Princess Street. Call (910) 763-4133 for more details.
Open Thursdays through Saturdays and Tuesday and Wednesday, the 30th-31st at 6 p.m., Panic Attack Haunted Attraction is the scariest romp across the Port City. Boasting to be North Carolina’s largest and most intense haunted attraction—20,000 square fest to be exact— Panic Attack features a variety of live actors as ghouls, ghosts, clowns, robots, yetis and demons—all who promise to terrify and exhilarate visitors. Every year the sets grow grander with Hollywood-quality special effects, not to mention elaborate decor. The video preview on the attraction’s website is deeply unsettling, as a large blinking banner above it declares it may be too intense for children under the age of 13. From what we hear at encore: It’s true. Wussies need not even come in the parking lot.
The box office opens at 6 p.m., and the attraction begins when the sun sets and continues until midnight. Tickets are $20 plus tax, with discounts for military and groups.
Ghost Hike/Halloween Festival
If you’re looking for thrills off the mainland, then head over to the Ghost Hike held at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area on Pleasure Island. A park ranger will happily guide you through the exploration of trails usually closed at night to the public. Learn about an old confederate guard who watches over the dunes, among other unexplained phenomena. Bring a flashlight and make a reservation for the free soirée at 8 p.m. by calling 910-458-5798; hikes take place October 30th.
But on the 27th, along with a trail tour, Fort Fisher will have a Halloween Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (festival), with another trail tour taking place that night at 7:30 p.m. There will be games, candy for trick-or-treaters, and of course the hike—trail may not be appropriate for young children. Advance registration required for tour during the festival; however all events are free! Fort Fisher State Recreation Area parking lot, 1000 Loggerhead Road. 910-458-5798.
The Battleship NC is one of the best spots in town to feel the fright! Starting the 19th through 20th and running through the 26th and 27th, visitors will climb aboard the ship and learn all about the ghost which linger along its bow, boiler room, barracks, etc. The original haunted attraction opens at 6:30 p.m. Must be in line at 9:30 p.m. to get the last ticket sold; $10. www.battleship.com.
Evil in the Port City
Students man the haunted house every year as a major fund-raiser for New Hanover High School’s Lyceum Academy. These studious kids have gone literary in their 2012 theme: “Evil in the Port City.” Based on the hotel in Erik Larson’s best-selling novel “Devil in the White City,” soon to be a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio nonetheless, find out how the World Fair of 1893 turned dangerous for society as a serial killer lurked among its attractions. Lyceum students have devised several frightening rooms, including one with live snakes.
The show gets underway at an old Marine Reserve Barracks at 2150 Burnett Boulevard——all 14,000 square feet of it. Tickets are $10; the event begins at 7 p.m. nightly and ends at 10 p.m. on Thursdays, and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays; 25th-28th and 31st.
Halloween Haunted Trail
Also happening off the mainland and 45 minutes away from Wilmington is the Grissettown Longwood Fire and Rescue’s fourth annual Halloween Haunted Trail fund-raiser. Expect this to be a haunted attractions with ghouls and ghost perfect situated to scare the pants off you! The even takes place at 758 Longwood Road in Ocean Isle on the, 26th and 27th and 30th and 31st. Tickets are $8 a person with kids 5 and under entered for free. If you wanna skip the line, purchase a $15 fast pass; all proceeds will benefit the Grissettown Longwood Fire and Rescue. www.grissettownfire.com.
Murder Mystery Dinner Cruise
Though a year-long event aboard the Henrietta III in downtown Wilmington, any Murder Mystery becomes all the more intriguing when situated around Halloween. Taking place on the 30th at 6 p.m., folks can board the Henrietta at Water and Dock streets for an exciting “Whodunnit?” kind of evening. Clues are given throughout the evening for diners to solve the mysterious storyline acted out by local talent. The two-hour event takes place on the Cape Fear River and even gives prizes away for audience participation. Reservations are required: 910-343-1611 or www.cfrboats.com. Tickets are $47.
Trick or Treat Under the Sea
The NC Aquarium has been bringing families out to Fort Fisher for a safe, engaging evening of trick-or-treating every Halloween for 11 years now. Taking place the 24th and 25th, dress up the tots and bring them out from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for free candy, offering up by local business vendors. Not only is there indoor trick-or-treating, kids will enjoy a carnival of fun, from face painting to story-telling, magic shows to spooky divers and even haunted gardens (only umbrella strollers permitted). Admission is $8, but children 2 and under are admitted for free. Call 910-458-8257.
In Memoriam—Victoria Mourning
With the plethora of historic homes, mansions and museums all over town, it’s no wonder visitors revel in stories of their past—some perfectly creepy, captivating and educational for Halloween celebrations. Come the 26th and 27th, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the Latimer House Museum, a Victorian Italianate house from 1852, will provide an experience which showcases the customs and rituals of death in Victorian America. Expect the digs to be decorated in full mourning, with all five rooms displaying authentic funerary objects. There will be guides in period costume, samples of food served at Victorian funerals and ghost stories will be told! Why go fake when you can go authentic? The program only costs $7; 126 S. Third St. 910-762-0492 or www.hslcf.org.
Kooky Spooky Jam-Boo Read
Spooky Jam-Boo-Read takes place the 26th, 4:30-7:30pm. Kids’ literacy event disguised as a street festival with scary stories and non-scary fall-theme activities. Kids dress in costume or as book character. Admission charge. Children’s Museum, Wilmington. 910-254-3534; www.playwilmington.org
Halloween Ghost Trolley
Every year Springbrook Farms decks out their horses and guides to take kids through fascinating tales of historic Wilmington. From the 26th through the 31st, the Halloween Ghost Trolley takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., offering kid-friendly 30-minute horse-drawn trolley rides. They’ll even ventures into the fun and frolicky “ghost barn.” Families can expect Halloween-themed stories, songs and lots of yummy treats. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children under 12. The tour departs at Market and Water streets. Make a reservation by calling 910-251-8889 or visiting www.horsedrawntours.com.
St. Jude Masquerade Ball
On the 26th from 8 p.m. to midnight, St. Jude MCC is sponsoring the 10th annual Masquerade Ball at the Hannah Block/USO Center in Wilmington. Come in costume or black-tie optional. There will be a crowning of the ball king and queen, a $100 cash prize for best costume, and second and third place prizes as well. Dancing, food, and cash bar with tickets $25 at the door. Hannah Block/USO Community Arts Center, 120 S. 2nd Street.
The gorgeous public park and trails will be open during the spookfest of October with lots of great events taking place, including the Halloween Spooktacular on the 26th, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. First of all: It’s free! Secondly, they’ll have hayrides, trick-or-treating, a costume contest, food, music and more!
On the 27th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. they’ll beckon all athletes to participate in “Run, Ride & Roll”—a free bike-, run-, walk- or skate-a-thon on the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail. There will be a scavenger hunt, trick-or-healthy-treating, trick-your-bike competition, live music vendors and more.
On the 27th, the darkened depths of Halyburton can be explored on their Haunted Hayride, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Folks will hear about the ghosts, culture and folklore which lurk in its past.
On Saturday, October 27th prepare yourself for a night packed with amazing bands at Space 13 (1827 Burnett Boulevard). The fellas in Phantom Playboys are bringing quite the rollicking roster of roosters to crow, including Shake Yell Dance, Fishstix, Madd Hatters, Phantom Playboys themselves, the Carvers and … wait for it, wait for it … the Dex Romweber Duo. Yes, the one and only Dexter Romweber known for inspiring many rock greats including the one and only Jack White (hey, can we get White to come along next year, too?) Cover is $10, but there’s a $100 prize for best costume, some come prepared to impress in your ghoulish ways. Oh, and B-rated zombie movies will play all the night long as the keg dries up and the music moves your soul. Doors are at 6 p.m., the show starts at 7 p.m.
Luminary Tour of Oakdale Cemetery
Is there a more appropriate way to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve than one involving a cemetery? No. On the 28th, the Friends of Oakdale will put on a Luminary Tour of Oakdale Cemetery from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The evening stroll will feature the stories of graves of Dr. James H. Dickson and the Rev. John Lamb Pritchard, each of whom lie in the yellow fever section, where more than 400 victims are thought to be interred. Around 600 luminaries light the way to five grave sites. At each stop there will be a speaker telling the stories of those who are buried there. Refreshments and light snacks will be offered but the event is limited to 100 tickets sold for only $10, first come, first serve. 910-762-5682; www.oakdalecemetery.org
Trick or Treat Run/Walk
Get active but while still having some Halloween fun. Sign up for the Trick or Treat Trot 5K/10K Run and one mile Fun Run/Walk on the 28th at 8 a.m. Race starts from New Balance in Mayfaire Town Center; ghosts and goblins pass out candy during the kids walk. Registration fee for adult 5K/10K race is $30 in advance and $35 on the day of. Registration for the one mile Trick or Treat is $15 in advance and $20 on the day of. Halloween costumes encouraged. Proceeds benefit Cape Fear Soccer Club Scholarships. www.its-go-time.com.
If you miss the Ghost Ship, then there is still time to celebrate aboard the Battleship NC as their annual Batty Battleship Halloween Bash takes place on the 30th from, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Kids will be able to trick-or-treat aboard the ship and then enjoy the various vendors set up on the lot and enjoy the bouncy house, petting zoo and carnival-esque attractions. Located at the junction of Highways 17/74/76/421 on the Cape Fear River; admission is $5 a person. www.battleshipnc.com.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Concert
On the night before Halloween, 10/30 join composer, lyricist, and organist extraordinaire Dorothy Papadakos in a special screening of the 1922 cult horror classic silent film “NOSFERATU” by German expressionist director F. W. Murnau at 7 p.m. An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, “NOSFERATU” quickly became a masterpiece of early silent film special effects and truly suspenseful story telling. Not for young children, but for everyone else, not to be missed! Come in costume and possibly win the trunk or treat contest beforehand; $10 in adv. $15 at door.
Trick or Treat at the Mall
On Halloween day, Wednesday the 31st, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the Independence Mall off Oleander Drive will transform into candy fest! Trick-or-treaters are allowed to stroll through participating retailers to enjoy a safe Halloween indoors. Dress up!
Fit for Fun Center at 302 S. 10th Street will throw a Pumpkin Party, on the 31st from 9 a.m. to noon. For only $5 a child (adults enter free), kids can come in their costumes to enjoy donut-biting, fly-swat painting, a spaghetti toss, duck pond and so much more! A special snack will be served!
Wicked Wednesday Halloween
Would you rather have a margarita than candy? If your answer is yes, join El Cerrro Grande Mexican Restaurant for their Wicked Wednesday Halloween on 10/31 at their South College Rd. location (Lowes Food Shopping Center). There will be costume contests and cash prizes at 9 p.m. Karaoke starts at 7 p.m.
Blue Post Pool & Ghoul
Join Blue Post’s All Hallow’s Eve for their 13th annual Pool & Ghoul! There’s no cover and lots of getting down with DJ Stevie Mac. 15 South Water Street.
Halloween at Firebelly
Head to Firebelly (265 N. Front Street) for good music and killer wing prices on Halloween. There’s no cover and great drink specials. The costume contest starts at 9:30 p.m. with prizes from the Bud Girls. The entertainment starts at 9 p.m. but the party lasts ‘til 2 a.m.
Haunted Kiddy Mansion
Are the usual haunted houses too scary for your kids? The Wilmington Community Arts Center has come up with the perfect solution on the 31st—a Haunted Kiddy Mansion. Teaming up with the Thalian Association, the Arts Center has created an event that’s sure to be “hilarious fun for the whole family.” Come to the Hannah Block Historic USO Building from 5-8 p.m. on Halloween to have some spooky fun with the whole family. Tickets are $3 at the door. There will also be a special performance of “Thriller” by the Thalian Association’s Children’s Theatre.
Great Pumpkin Hunt
On November 3rd, Halyburton will take those leftover Jack-o-Lanterns and turn them into a Great Pumpkin Hunt. For ages 3 to 9, the cost is only $3 a child and lasts from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Maides Park, located at 1101 Manly Avenue. There will be face-painting, pumpkin-hunting, horse rides, arts and crafts, cookie decorating, hayrides and more. Pre-registration is recommended: (910) 341-7867.
Cape Fear Ghost Chase
Though Halloween is over, on November 1st, students in CFCC’s Anthropology Club are holding the “Cape Fear Ghost Chase,” a scavenger hunt focused on finding the identity of fictitious skeletal remains uncovered in downtown Wilmington. The premise of the event is that during a construction project in Wilmington, the remains of a local historical figure were discovered, and anthropologists have been called in to examine the body and determine the identity. Alongside the body, several artifacts were discovered with each object bearing a memory of the dead person. Open to the public; $10/person, as proceeds benefit Bellamy Mansion. The chase begins at 5 p.m. at the CFCC’s ”Q” building at 254 N. Front St. firstname.lastname@example.org or 362-7256.