SPOOKY ADVENTURES: Haunted highlights leading up to All Hallow’s Eve

encore highlights new and returning Halloween happenings, such as Latimer House’s Victorian Mourning Tour. Photo by Tom Dorgan


The only thing more terrifying than ghost stories and bloody entrails is the fact we don’t have enough room to print all of the Cape Fear’s Halloween happenings. Trunk-or-treats, haunted trails, pumpkin carvings, costume contests, spooky theatre, murderous music, movie screenings, fearsome festivals…

Hold onto your butts, it’s Halloween.

October 24, 7 p.m.
Pumpkin Carving Contest
Palate, 1007 N. 4th St.
Free entry
Know how to slice and dice a spooky jack-o’-lantern? Palate wants to see those scary skills in action for their pumpkin-carving contest. With 15 entries available, a select panel of judges will choose a favorite along with a crowd vote to determine a winner. Grand prize is a $50 gift card to Palate … and eternal glory. Sign up at their Facebook event page.

October 24-26
Trick or Treat Under the Sea
NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher
900 Loggerhead Rd.
$13, free for 2 and under
Trick or Treat Under the Sea returns to the NC Aquarium with pirate skeletons, caped superheroes and fairy princesses haunting wild attractions for three nights this weekend. Family-friendly games, No Sleeves Magic shows, spooky divers and more will treat audiences. Tickets are available in advance and require a timed-entry at 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. No tickets will be sold at the door. NC Aquarium members will receive a 10% discount. Visit reservations.ncaquariums.com/fortfisher.

October 24-25, 31-November 2
Panic Attack
3245 Pine Level Church Rd.
Formerly located in Wilmington, Panic Attack is back with bigger and better scares than ever in Nakina, NC (see encore’s cover story from October 1 edition). Movie-quality sets, special effects and makeup make monsters seem like they’re straight from our favorite horror flicks … or worst nightmares. Visit panicattackhaunt.com

October 24-26, 7:30 p.m.
PSL Presents: Laughing In The Dark
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St.
Tickets: $10-$15
Pineapple-Shaped Lamps is haunting ILM with an evening of their latest and greatest spooky sketch comedy in “Laughing In The Dark.” Sketches are set around everything from campfire stories to alternate dimensions to murder. Bizarre, otherworldly and original, PSL’s show runs October 24-26. Doors open at 7 p.m and showtime is 7:30 p.m. Purchase tickets online at thalianhall.org or Thalian Hall Box Office.

October 25, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Fort Fisher SRA Haunted Trail
Fort Fisher State Recreation Area
1000 Loggerhead Rd.
Free (donations suggested)
Fort Fisher’s Haunted Trail guides people through scary local legends and lore. It takes place one chilling night only, surrounded by live oaks at the secluded Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. This is not for the faint of heart or younger children (ages 10 and up welcome), and it’s best to leave family pets safe at home.

October 25, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Halloween Fest
Maides Park, 1101 Manly Ave.
Halloween Fest at Maides Park is for all ages with lots of family-friendly games and activities, including bounce houses, trick-or-treating, music and more. Costumes are encouraged, and folks can call 910-341-0096 with questions.

October 25, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Monster Movie Madness
Bellamy Mansion Museum
503 Market St.
Free or $5 donation
“They’re coming to get you, Barbara.” Costumes encouraged for this frightening double feature. Bellamy Mansion’s Monster Movie Madness will screen “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) and “House on Haunted Hill” (1959) with a suggested donation of $5. No outside food or drinks allowed, but hot dogs, popcorn, drinks, beer and wine will be available for purchase. Screenings are outside, so dress accordingly and bring lawn chairs/blankets.

October 25, 6:30 p.m.
LCAC Boo Ball
Leland Cultural Arts Center
1212 Magnolia Village Way
Tickets: $10
Boo! No need to be afraid of the spooktacular party at Leland Cultural Arts Center. This costume/dance party features DJ Dutch Hawk and prizes for best dressed. LCAC’s 2019 VIP season tickets are valid for this Halloween event. Find tickets online or at the LCAC office.

October 25-26
Victorian Mourning Tour
Latimer House
126 S. Third St.
Latimer House Museum’s macabre Victorian Mourning Tour returns! All who dare will learn about Victorian mourning practices, from covering mirrors to wearing dark garb. Plus, attendees will learn about unsettling Latimer House legends. RSVPs suggested by emailing manager@latimerhouse.org. General admission is $12 for adults, $10 for military and college students, $6 for students 18 and younger. Free for members and kids 5 and under.

October. 25-26, 7 p.m.
Vampires, The Return Ballet
Thalian Hall, 301 Chestnut St.
Tickets: $25-$50
US International Ballet and Wilmington Ballet Company present “Vampires, The Return.” Walter Angelini and Ines Albertini choreograph a two-act show featuring 40 professional dancers from five different countries. The ballet will feature two new scenes and utilize film, special effects and a “dramatic bite.” Learn more at usinternationalballet.com.

October 26, 6 p.m. – 9.m.
Stranger Things on Castle Street
Castle Street Antique District
Between 5th and 7th streets
For many who grew up in the ‘80s, “Stranger Things” is the perfect piece of nostalgia candy to savor—most especially over Halloween. Of course the Netflix series inspires Castle Street’s latest family-friendly block party. Complete with an ‘80s Candy Scavenger Hunt, costume contest and “Stranger Things” theatrical screening, there will be live music at Dan Beck Art Studio, Dungeons and Dragons at Luna Caffe, and an Eggo eating contest at Decades of Decor. Follow the event’s Facebook page for more info.

October 26, 4 p.m.
Fall Spooky Fest
Nir Family YMCA, 2710 Market St.
It’s finally fall (both on the calendar and in the air), and Nir Family YMCA wants members and non-members alike to enjoy their free Fall Spooky Fest. It starts at 4 p.m. with games and puzzles for kids. But make sure to bring a swimsuit for the “Flick n Float” at the indoor pool. A Scavenger Hunt Costume Contest starts at 5 p.m., followed by a Spooky Lab Haunted Gymnasium and more.

October 26, 8 p.m.
Reggie’s Halloween Tribute Show
Reggies 42nd Street Tavern
1415 S. 42nd St.
Tickets: $10
This year’s Halloween Tribute Show at Reggie’s features a musical masquerade of sorts with bands covering their fave rock artists. Children of the Reptile will take on Queen, Bandolero will feature ZZ Top, The Girls will slay Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, and Loose Jets will play The Jam. A “terrifying” costume contest is also slated to take place.

October 26, noon
Howl-O-Ween Pet Costume Party!
Coastal Paws, 339 N Front St.
Not only humans can get in on the holiday fun this year! Coastal Paws in the Cotton Exchange is hosting its third Howl-O-Ween party and pet costume contest. Prizes will be given to best in show, most “pawsitively” creative and best pack (multiple dogs and/or humans dressed alongside their pets). Plus, there will be treats for humans and pets alike.

October 26, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Spooky, Slimy and Scary Adventures in Marine Science
MarineQuest UNCW
601 S. College Rd.
Registration $5
Geared toward 1st- through 6th-grade students and their parents, MarineQuest hosts a special family adventure one Saturday every month. For the Halloween season, they’re deep-diving into vast oceans where spooky creatures thrive in an unforgiving environment. Adults and kids 4 years old and up can get hands-on with a slimy squid and learn about its creepy “vampire” relative. Visit uncw-horizons.symplicity.com.

October 27, 3 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Brews & Broomsticks
Poplar Grove Plantation
10200 US Highway 17
Free, donations accepted
Brews & Broomsticks Food Truck Bash is for both kids and adults looking for treats this Halloween. Their costume contest is split between family groups, couples and individuals, plus there will be prizes for whoever tricks out the best broomstick. (Pssst … prizes awarded also are of the adult beverage kind.) Since it’s Sunday football season, fans can expect pig-skin games, too. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and sport those team colors and jerseys!

October 29, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Hocus Pocus Trivia at The Sour Barn
The Sour Barn, 7211 Market St.
‘90s kids and loyal followers can test their knowledge at a special Hocus Pocus Trivia at The Sour Barn. They’ll light the black flame candle at 7 p.m., but reservations for teams (max of eight per team) should be made at hocuspocussourbarn.eventbrite.com.

October 29, 5:30 p.m.
Batty Battleship’s Halloween Bash
USS North Carolina Battleship
1 Battleship Rd. NE
Entry $5 (free for kids 2 and under)
USS North Carolina Battleship goes batty again with their annual Halloween bash. Wilmington’s young ghouls and goblins of all ages will trick-or-treat, enjoy games, ponies, face painting, bounce house, magician and more. Come decked out in Halloween costumes!

October 31, 9 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Halloween Horror Movie Marathon
Gravity Records, 612 Castle St.
Free, BYOB
What’s scarier than scratching your favorite vinyl record? Nothing, but Gravity Records is hosting an all-day movie marathon of horror favorites that might compare. Six movies (three double features) will play throughout Halloween day, starting at 9 a.m. with cult favorites “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2” and Wes Craven’s “People Under the Stairs.” Then Lamberto Bava’s Italian gore classic “Demons” followed by 2014’s thriller “The Guest.” The day will end (where the “Halloween” franchise arguably should have) with “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” and a modern horror anthology “Trick ‘r Treat.”

October 31, 3 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Halloween Sour Beer Smash
Flytrap Brewing, 319 Walnut St.
“He did the smash! He did the Sour Beer Smash…” That’s how it goes at Flytrap Brewery’s annual Halloween event. Their latest releases will flow all day as live music with Beats & Coffee takes place 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Pepe’s Tacos will have grub from 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. Prizes for best and most creative costumes will be announced at 9 p.m.

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