It’s that time of year again when Jack-o’-lanterns adorn front porches, candy is sold in bulk, and hordes of children roam the streets in their best spooky attire. As fall’s crisp chill creeps into Wilmington, a host of organizations are putting on events for All Hallows’ Eve.
Fall Festival and Haunted Trail
Fort Fisher Recreation Area, 1000 Loggerhead Rd.
Check out a family-friendly festival that blends autumn fun with beach vibes this Saturday, October 25. Beginning at 11 a.m., the event will offer games, crafts and prizes. Food and drink, such as Bob’s Dogs and Pelican’s SnoBalls, will be available throughout the day.
As well, folks can dig their toes in the sand while competing in the sand-castle competition. Registration begins at 11 a.m., and entries must be finished by 3 p.m. Folks can enter as a family (up to six member per team), a single adult (14 and up) or as a kid (13 and under). The winners will be announced at 3:30 p.m.
After the festival concludes at 7 p.m., brave attendees can bundle up and go through the haunted trail. The trail is for children 10 and up. For more information call (910) 458-5798.
Poplar Grove Plantation, 10200 US Hwy 17 North
Poplar Grove once agian will come alive with the spirit of the season for their annual Halloween Festival, which will run October 24 throught October 26. The event serves as the plantation’s biggest fundraiser of the year, with monies going toward maintenance and preservation of the manor house, grounds and outbuildings. As well, it funds a host of school and animal programs.
The festival will get underway at 6 p.m. on Friday. Folks can put their courage to the test by entering the Haunted Manor House for $10. As well, attendees can yuck it up with the thrills and chills of the Haunted Wagon Ride for $10, or they can partake in both daring attractions with a combo ticket for $15. With all of their spooky offerings, Poplar Grove warns that parental discretion is advised.
Festival-goers can enjoy more activities—such as noshing on food from vendors, playing on inflatables by Fowler’s Funflatables ($10 unlimited day/evening), heading over to the petting zoo ($5), or seeing the onsite fortune teller—on Saturday from noon until 11 p.m., and on Sunday from noon until 9 p.m. For younger children there will be daytime wagon rides at noon on Saturday and Sunday. Plus, kiddies can enjoy the Goblins and Games Funhouse at the barn for $5. MoJo Collins, Massive Grass, and Possum Creek will be playing live music at the gazebo.
Pets are welcome to join in the fun with a costume contest t 5 p.m. on Saturday night. Attendees, too, can put on their spookiest digs; all ages are welcome to enter.
Atheletes of any level can participate in the 5k Zombie Fun Run/Walk, which will occur at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Registration for the race is $30.
A full list of details can be found at www.poplargrove.org.
Twisted Haunted House
NHHS Lyceum Haunted House, 1290 South 15th Street
Get ready for an experience like no other, with New Hanover High School’s Lyceum Academy’s haunted-house fundraiser. Held Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to midnight, and on Sundays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., the spook house puts a dark, demented twist on “Alice in Wonderland.” It will run through Halloween, with an added date on Thursday, October 30, from 7 p.m. to midnight. Admission is $10, and the attraction is suitable for persons 13 and over.
Haunted Pub Crawl
The Black Cat Shoppe, 8 Market St.
Get ready for a sessionable session of ghost tales, with Haunted Wilmington’s Haunted Pub Crawl. Brave souls can purchase tickets at the The Black Cat Shoppe and then head over to Fat Tony’s on Wednesdays through Saturdays through November 1. Pints and eerie tales abound about Wilmington’s favorite watering holes throughout a two-and-a-half hour tour. Pre-purchased tickets, which are $17.50, are required, and they can be procured online as well as www.hauntedwilmington.com.
Haunted Cotton Exchange Tours
321 N. Front Street
Everyone knows the Cotton Exchange as one of Wilmington’s premier shopping hubs. Yet, this October folks will get the chance to learn its spooky secrets. Presented by Tour Old Wilmington, haunting tales will permeate the Cotton Exchange’s quarters, telling about residents and business owners past. Tickets are $12, but kids 12 and under are admitted free. Tours run seven days a week; call (910) 409-4300 for a full list of times.
Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Hannah Block/USO Community Arts Center, 120 S. 2nd Street
Stepping outside of the catalog of works by the Bard, Cape Fear Shakespeare will bring the classic tale of gawky school teacher Ichabod Crane to the stage. Based on the classic short story by Washington Irving, the production relays the myth of the infamous Headless Horseman. Wit, history, music, and dance will color the production, suitable for all ages. Tickets are $6 to $12 and the show will run Thursday through Sunday, October 23 through Novermber 2. For a full list of showtimes and a place to purchase tickets log onto wilmingtoncommunityarts.org.
Children’s Museum of Wilmington, 116 Orange St.
Dress up the kiddies in a spooky get-up or as their favorite book character and take them to Children’s Museum of Wilmington’s literacy event on Friday, October 24 from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Decorated like a street festival, the museum will host scary stories and non-scary, fall-themed activities. Admission is free for members and children under 12 months; $8 for senior citizens and military; and $9 for everyone else. For more details contact (910) 254-3534.
Hugh MacRae Park, 1799 S College Rd
The living and the undead will be able to help secure funds for Paws4People, a local nonprofit that helps current service members, veterans, inmates, children, and senior citizens by sharing with them the joy of canine companionship. Taking place Saturday, October 25 at 4 p.m., runners will participate in a one-mile run around Hugh MacRae Park. But there’s a twist: Participants will have a flag attacthed to them, and as they brave the course, an onslaught of zombies will jump out and try to take their flags. Those who make it to the end with their flags still intact will be eligible for a prize. Registration is $15 to $25, and people interested can sign up at www.wilmingtonzombierun.com.
Ghost Trolley and Barn
Departs at Market and Water Streets
Families and fall enthusiasts alike can enjoy Springbrook Farms’ 30-minute, kid-friendly, horse-drawn excursion through the streets of Wilmington and the haunted barn. Festive tour guides and horses will be costumed, as songs are sung and stories are shared. Halloween treats will be doled out to brave little boys and girls. Tours occur Sundays through Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., through November 2. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children.
Halloween Party From Hell
Juggling Gypsy Cafe & Hookah Bar, 1612 Castle Street
Join Juggling Gypsy Cafe and Hookah Bar on Halloween night for an extravaganza straight from the depths of hell. The party kicks off at 8 p.m. with live music by jam-band Groove Fetish and The Dare Ring. The fun really begins after 2 a.m. when guests can help paranormal investigators track down the elusive gypsy ghost. A spot on the ghost hunt is $35.
Trick or Treat Under the Sea
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 900 Loggerhead Rd.
For a night of ghouls and pirates, take the kiddies out for some trick or treating. This year the fun has expanded to four whole nights, taking place October 23, 24, 29, and 30 from 5 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. There will be candy galore, Halloween games, magic, live animal shows, and even a few divers braving the shark tank. A host of vendors, decked out in their best Halloween regalia, will be handing out treats and coupons. A team of judges will deem which booth has the best set up, too. Tickets are $11 (children 2 and under are free), and they can be purchased at www.ncaquariums.com/fortfisher.
TheatreNOW, 19 S. 10th Street
Spookiness and the macabre will spring to life at TheatreNOW, as the Succubus Sorority takes over the stage this Halloween. The burlesque-inspired performance will include circus antics, a spellbinding sideshow, belly dancing, fire manipulation, aerieal acrobatics, and much more. The frights begin at 8 p.m., with tickets running $15.
USS NC Battleship, 1 Battleship Rd NE
All aboard the NC Battleship for the sixth annual Batty Battleship’s Halloween Bash, sponsored by Sunny 104.5. The evening will encompass Halloween fun without the scares—perfect for a fall night out with the family. Kids will get their sea legs, as they trick-or-treat with Batty and her brother, Buggy. Aside from loads of candy, there also will be a petting zoo, henna tattoos, a bounce house, and face-painting. Two special guests, Anna and Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen,” also will join in on the fun. The excitement kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28. Admission is $5, and kids 2 and under get in free.
Downtown Halloween Get Down
Riverfront Park, 5 N. Water Street
Halloween night isn’t just about ghouls and goblins: Locals can get their groove on this year with the Right On Band in the streest of downtown Wilmington. They’ll play a plethora of Motown and ‘70s hits. Folks can buy beer with the purchase of the charity wristband, which will be benefitting the Alzheimer Association. The fun gets underway at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 31.
Halloween Dinner and Party
Canapé, 1001 N. 4th Street
(910) 769-3713 • canaperestaurant.com
Join Wilmington’s new, innovative eatery, Canapé, for a five-course, Halloween-inspired chef’s tasting menu. Priced at only $50, appetites and spirits alike will be satisfied beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Halloween. Reservations are recommended.
But that’s just the beginning: At 10 p.m. the restaurant will convert into an all-out party with a DJ and dancing, a costume contest at midnight, with a $100 grand prize, and free delectable hors d’ouevres. Horror movies will screen and drink specials will keep everyone’s glass full.
Haunted Train Station (Coastline Convention Center), 501 Nutt Street
Unleash your inner wild child at this year’s Freak Fest. Beginning at 9 p.m. on Halloween night, the Haunted Train Station’s over 7,000 square feet will transform into a party where anything goes. Fueled by the liquid courage of an open bar, guests can get down to music by live DJs. Folks even can indulge in an absinthe bar and don their most spirited attire for the chance at winning $250 for Best Male Costume, Female Costume, Sexiest Costume, and Celebrity-Look-Alike. Tickets are only $55 before October 24.
Annual Monster Ball Bash
Hell’s Kitchen, 118 Princess Street
Hell’s Kitchen’s annual Monster Ball Bash once again will bring its freakish delight downtown. Things at the pub and restaurant will get Halloweird starting at 10 p.m. on October 31. Party-goers will be entertained by the pop and rock covers of local outfit Fully Stocked. As well, a costume contest will take place a midnight.
Halloween Movie Night
Bellamy Mansion, 503 Market St.
Locals can bring bring a chair and a blanket, and bundle up with Halloween snacks for a night of cinema at Bellamy Manion. They’ll screen 1993’s “Hocus Pocus” at 7 p.m. and Alfred Hitchcock’s classic shocker, “Pyscho,” at 9 p.m. Popcorn, beer and wine will be for sale and admission is $5.
Union Station Building, 502 N. Front Street
Travel back in time to 1718 with the Cape Fear Community College’s Anthropology Club for their fourth annual Ghost Chase. They’ll be harkening the spirits of Cape Fear past with a plethora of events revolving around Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. Taking place Thursday, October 30, folks can enjoy a night of sword fighting, scavenger hunts, food, games, and ghostly booty. It’ll have everyone shivering in their timbers. Prizes and fun will kick off at 6 p.m. in room 302 on the the third floor of the Union Station building. Admission is $10 with part of the proceeds benefitting the Cape Fear River Watch.