ALL THE RIGHT HAUNTS: Halloween events abound across the Port City in 2018

This is our family’s first Halloween with a brand new baby, and I have to admit: I’m really excited. Sure, she can’t trick-or-treat. We probably shouldn’t take her to a haunted house. She can’t carve a pumpkin, watch a scary movie, and the magic of a ghost tour will likely be lost on her. Really, our daughter’s first Halloween is more our first Halloween with her.

MORBID MOURNING:  In Victorian Mourning, one person would always be on guard with the deceased in the parlor of the family home, to ensure he or she was really dead and wouldn’t be buried alive. (L. to r.: Brenda Shadrick, Howard Talley III, Martha Watson, Donald Watson, Linda Lashley). Photo  by Tom Dorgan
MORBID MOURNING: In Victorian Mourning, one person would always be on guard with the deceased in the parlor of the family home, to ensure he or she was really dead and wouldn’t be buried alive. (L. to r.: Brenda Shadrick, Howard Talley III, Martha Watson, Donald Watson, Linda Lashley). Photo by Tom Dorgan

What’s great about this time of year is how something truly exists for everyone, including parents who just want a good excuse to dress our little chubby cheek darling as an old lady or Chucky doll.
Whether folks are looking for something to do as a family, seeking PG-13 thrills or a classy costume party, here are a few upcoming Halloween events in ILM, providing all the right haunts for all the right people.

Victorian Mourning
October 25-27, and 31, 7 p.m., 8 p.m.
Tickets: $12
Latimer House
126 S. 3rd St.
Taking place in the Latimer House Museum—a Victorian Italianate upper-class merchant’s home in Wilmington Historic District—Victorian Mourning is hosted by  Lower Cape Fear Historical Society. They maintain the museum’s upkeep and hold  annual events, lectures, programs, and exhibits to help keep their mission alive. For this sacred week in October, they’re hosting a unique take on death and funerary practices of the Victorian Era. Visit their Facebook event page for details.

Haunted Mirror Maze
October 26-27, 6 p.m. • $5
Museum of the Bizarre
201 S Water St.
Downtown’s Museum of the Bizarre is no stranger to providing good-natured terror tours.  Museum  owner Justin Lanasa started his first haunted house in 2015 with “Museum of Nightmares.” This year’s Haunted Mirror Maze and Museum will confront visitors with clowns, zombies, zombie clowns, and other unexpected creatures.

Monster Movie Madness
October 26, 7 p.m. • $5
Bellamy Mansion Museum
503 Market St.
Bellamy Mansion’s Monster Movie Madness at the Mansion features a double feature of two Halloween classics: “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) and “House on Haunted Hill” (1959). Both will screen outdoors, so bring lawn chairs and blankets—just in case NC decides to keep fall around for a bit longer!. Hot dogs, popcorn, drinks, beer, and wine will be available to purchase. Costumes are encouraged.

Paranormal Ghost Tours
October 26-27, 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m.
Tickets: $15
Poplar Grove Plantation
10200 US Hwy 17 N
encore learned all about the haunting history of the Foy Family at Poplar Grove Plantation’s first series of Paranormal Ghost Tours back in 2015—including a murderous crime of passion. Most of the spirits are suspected to be family members from the four generations of Foys. They’re descendents from Joseph Mumford Foy, who, with slave labor, built Poplar Grove mansion of wood and resources from the property. Groups get a little history as they explore rooms, a scroll of the dead, and are permitted to bring cameras or other paranormal equipment.
Groups are limited to 15. Advance tickets required and available online.

Steampunk Halloween Party
October 27, 9 p.m. • Free
Bourbon Street
35 N. Front St.
Steampunk and Halloween go together like peas and severed heads. Bourbon Street’s Steampunk Halloween Party will feature drink specials, a costume contest and live music by the Feebs. The Feebs, UNCW’s 2018 Battle of the Bands winner, have a sound firmly planted in blues, jazz and funk.

Halloween Comicfest
October 27, 10 a.m. • Free
Memory Lane Comics
201 Princess St.
Halloween Comicfest is just like Free Comic Book Day but with Halloween costumes. Memory Lane Comics will be giving away free comics and swag all day—with 34 different titles to choose from. They’ll also host an all-day costume contest and announce the winner on social media.
In addition to cool freebies, they’ll have sales on items throughout the store, as well as a raffle at the end of the day.

Trick or Treating
October 27, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. • Free
The Cotton Exchange
321 N. Front St.
The Cottage Exchange is banding together for a free and safe trick-or-treat event for families on Saturday, Oct 27. Adults, children and pets are welcome to enter the Halloween haunts of the Cottage Exchange, where merchants will have treats and other surprises from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out the event Facebook page for details and updates.

Trunk or Treat
October 27, 4:30 p.m. • Free
Lake Forest Baptist Church
1626 Lake Branch Dr.
Lake Forest Baptist Church will have scores of decorated trucks passing out candy at their annual Trunk or Treat on Saturday from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. There will be Halloween games, contests for the best decorated trunk and more.

Halloween Celebration 2018
October 27, 6 p.m. • Free
7250 Market St.
Fermental is always welcoming to kids and four-legged friends—now patrons can dress them up as they celebrate Halloween and the end of Wilmington Beer Week. Costumes and games will be available for the kids (and kids at heart), with pumpkin beers, honey wines and hard ciders for the grown-up ghouls. The CheeseSmith Food Truck will start serving gourmet grilled cheeses at 6 p.m. and Category Four band goes on at 8 p.m.

Unleashed Haunted House
October 27-28 & 31, 7 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Haunted House • $12
Old Coca-Cola Bldg • 921 Princess St.
New Hanover High School Lyceum Academy’s haunted house is likely already among many readers’ favorite Halloween traditions. Their annual theme this year is “Unleashed,” and our only advice is not to walk these woods alone. All monies go to the Lyceum Academy.

Halloween Gala
and Costume Ball
October 27, 7 p.m. • $30
Tails Piano Bar
115 S. Front St.
Beware: Advance tickets are required for Tails Piano Bar’s first Halloween Gala and Costume Ball. Their hors d’oeuvre will be supplied by Spoonfed and paired with a cash bar, tarot readings and a costume contest. The Beehive Blondes will host a dance party on the patio and the Brown Dirt Cowboys will keep the ghostly grooves going in the living room.

Adult Halloween Party and Costume Contest
October 27, 8 p.m. • Free
Lazy Pirate
1801 Canal Dr.
Kid costumes are cute but the Lazy Pirate is daring adults to don their prize-winning duds for a Halloween party and contest for prizes so big they will sink a ship. The adults-only party is the biggest Halloween hoopla in Carolina Beach, with food and drink specials, scary games and live (or dead) music by Better with Bourbon.

Dirty Dolls Burlesque:
The Halloween Revue
October 27, 10 p.m. • $15
Juggling Gypsy
1612 Castle St.
Leave the kids at home for this one, y’all. The Dirty Dolls sinful Halloween Burlesque Revue is filled with sultry stripteases, circus arts, glittering bloodbath, and devilish entertainment starting at 10 p.m.

Harvest Festival
October 28, 10 a.m. • $5
Poplar Grove Plantation
10200 US Hwy 17 N
Hurricane Florence might have delayed Poplar Grove’s Harvest Festival, but this one-day family-fun event will live on this weekend. The Harvest Festival features an array of vendors, local artisans and crafters, concessions, vintage-inspired carnival games food and activities for kids. Mr. Twister, Mr. Mark from The Broccoli Brothers and Folkstone String Band, Barnyard Fun will rotate throughout the day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

2nd Annual Howl-O-Ween
Doggie Costume Party
October 28, 2 p.m. • Free
The Sour Barn
7211 Market St.
Halloween shouldn’t be limited to humans—living or dead. Spooky spaniels and Maltese mummies are welcome at The Sour Barn on Sunday for their 2nd Annual Howl-O-Ween Doggie Costume Party. Complete with doggie talent show and pooch prizes for the best costumes, games also abound for all the ghouls with two legs.

October 31, 9 p.m. – 3 a.m.
Museum of the Bizarre
201 S Water St.
Museum of the Bizarre is doubling down this Halloween night with a seance using Harry Houdini’s Ouija board, which has not been used since Harry’s death in 1926. Each seat from 9 p.m. till 2:30 a.m. costs $50. The 3 a.m. “witching hour” will cost $100. Pre-purchased tickets required.

October 27, 7 p.m. • $15-$18
Satellite Bar and Lounge
120 Greenfield St.
Zombiefest is back with The Phantom Playboys, Deadly Lo-Fi, Southern Culture on the Skids, and the Dew Drops. The Halloween spectacle returns for its ninth year with a costume contest and cash prize of $200.

The Phantom Playboys, who started this crazy nightmare almost a decade ago, promises a rockabilly good time and new music to boot. Plus, it’s at the best decorated bar in town, Satellite, which doesn’t take lightly the best ghoulish holiday of the year.

More Halloween-inspired events can be found on the calendar at

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