Ghosts and goblins and ghouls, oh my! WNC celebrates Halloween with haunted tours and candy galore

Image 1. To hell and back: Ghoulish Gary horrifies unsuspecting passengers on LaZoom's Haunted Comedy Tour. Photo courtesy of LaZoom
Image 2. Let's do the time warp, again: Magenta and two phantoms tap dance in terror during Flat Rock Playhouse's production of the The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Photo by Blue Bend Photography.
Image 3. No tricks, just treats: Cleopatra, a black cat and a future scientist collect candy at the Haunted Pool Lagoon. Photo courtesy of Buncombe County Parks, Greenways and Recreation.
Image 4. Love at first bite: The world's most dreaded vampire will sink his teeth into innocent listeners during Western Carolina University's original radio broadcast of Bram Stocker's Dracula. Photo courtesy of WCU.

Halloween gets spooky here in the mountains, and whether you love a good fright or prefer a sack full of candy, Xpress has plenty of ways to enjoy the witching season. Navigate through a bone-chilling Indian village, learn how to survive a zombie apocalypse and take the kids for a swim in a haunted lagoon during the days leading up to All Hallows' Eve.

Thursday, Oct. 25

If you didn't think zombies could get any creepier, keep your ears peeled for local experimental/electronic band Silver Machine's new soundtrack to the classic horror film Night of the Living Dead. The band enhanced the quality of the picture and remastered it for DVD to make the zombies really come alive, or undead as the case may be. See for yourself at The Wedge, 125B Roberts St., starting at 7 p.m. An additional screening will be held Wednesday, Oct. 31 at Arcade Asheville, 130 College St., followed by a costume contest. Both screenings are free. https://www.facebook.com/silvermachinemusic.

Dr. Frank-N-Furter knows how to scare the living daylights out of unsuspecting naifs. Watch him reveal his most horrifying creation at a stage adaptation of The Rocky Horror Show, presented by Flat Rock Playhouse Tuesdays through Sundays until Oct. 31. $35 with discounts for seniors, students and groups. Info and times: http://www.flatrockplayhouse.org.

Friday, Oct. 26

Black cats and rubber rats are just a few of the bloodcurdling decorations that will greet visitors on a haunted house walking tour of the Dougherty Heights Historic District in Black Mountain. On Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27 from 6-9:30 p.m., homeowners will share the eerie stories that haunt their houses. Tours depart every 30 minutes from the Swannanoa Valley Museum, 223 West State St. $35; $25 museum members. Registration is required. Not appropriate for children under 16. http://www.swannanoavalleymuseum.org or 669-9566.

Walk the haunted trail, if you dare. Oconaluftee Indian Village, 778 Drama Road, Cherokee, will spook visitors with a Haunted Indian Village Friday, Oct. 26 through Wednesday, Oct. 31. Watch out for zombies, goblins, ghosts and other specters starting at 7 p.m. Cherokee storytellers will share authentic legends around the bonfire that are guaranteed to scare even the most hardened Halloween enthusiasts. Not recommended for children. $10. http://www.cherokeehistorical.org or 497-1126.

Saturday, Oct. 27

Goulish Gary's hollow eyes, painted face and blood-drenched shirt are downright frightful. LaZoom's most terrifying tour guide will cackle with delight as he leads a series of bus tours through downtown Asheville. The city's true stories of murder, ghosts and mayhem will come to life on LaZoom's Haunted Comedy Bus Tour. The bus departs nightly through October and then sporadically through the end of the year. Passengers must be at least 17 years old and the bus departs from the Thirsty Monk Pub, 92 Patton Ave. Advanced tickets are recommended and often sell out during the month of October. $20. Info and times: http://www.lazoomtours.com.

Costumed dogs strut through downtown all the time, but on Halloween the competition gets fierce. The Asheville Humane Society will host a Howl-o-Ween block party for dogs and owners starting at 11 a.m. on Wall Street. Dogs can compete for best costume, best tail wag and best trick before they get ready for their close-up with a pet photographer. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. and it costs $5 to enter each contest. http://www.ashevillehumane.org.

Fairy princesses get all the glory on Halloween, but what about the humble pumpkin? It deserves some glamour too. A pumpkin beauty contest will be hosted by the East Asheville Library, 902 Tunnel Road, along with a Halloween party for kids from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Bring your best Jack-o-Lantern to compete in the pumpkin pageant and dress up in your dream costume, princess or otherwise. Free. eastasheville.library@buncombecounty.org or 250-4738.

Celebrate Halloween with a splash at the Haunted Pool Lagoon from 1-3 p.m. The Zeugner Center's swimming pool, 90 Springside Road, will be transformed into a ghoulish (yet pristine) swamp, making it a great trick-or-treat alternative for younger kids. Children should dress in their best scary and not-so-scary costumes and bring a bathing suit for a dip in the lagoon. $2 to swim; one can of food to attend. 684-5072.

Sunday, Oct. 28

If your little ones are scared of things that go bump in the night, UNCA Athletics' Boofest invites younger children to show off their most styling costumes. UNCA student athletes will lead games for kids ages 11 and under from 4-5:30 p.m. in the university's Kimmel Arena. Every child will leave with a goody bag, so let the candy fest begin. Free. http://www.uncabulldogs.com.

Wander through a field of pink heirloom corn, get startled by mountain zombies and let the kids loose in a children's maze at Taylor RanchFest. Each Friday, Saturday and Sunday night through Oct. 28, 1005 Cane Creek Road in Fletcher will overflow with activities for kids and adults alike. Info, hours and pricing: http://taylorranchfest.com.

Monday, Oct. 29

Dracula has some competition this year. The Red Cross wants to suck your blood at its Halloween Blood Drive from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at Pack Memorial Library, 67 Haywood St. Save up to three lives with every pint you donate while enjoying treats, costumes and fun. Where else can you help local patients while wearing vampire teeth? http://www.redcrossblood.org or carla.hollar@buncombecounty.org.

Horror fiction and zombie novels will come to life when Eric S. Brown, author of Boggy Creek: The Legend is True, comes to Blue Ridge Books, 152 S. Main St., Waynesville at 6:30 p.m. Free. http://www.blueridgebooksnc.com or 456-6000.

Tuesday, Oct. 30

Are you prepared for a zombie apocalypse? If you don't know how to fight off a fatal virus or maintain the human race, you should probably brush up on your zombie survival skills. REI, 31 Schenck Parkway, will host a zombie preparedness class from 7-8:30 p.m. The outdoors center usually focuses on wilderness survival, so these skills will be helpful in the wild, even if the zombies aren't knocking at your door. Free, but registration is required. http://www.rei.com/asheville or 687-0918.

Be prepared to be haunted when local storytellers share ghost stories at the Weaverville Library, 41 N. Main St., starting at 7 p.m. Bring a flashlight, blanket, warm clothes and your bravest face. The stories will be a little creepy, but still appropriate for younger listeners. Free. weaverville.library@buncombecounty.org or 250-6482.

Wednesday, Oct. 31

Don't just don a pointy hat—- experience true witchcraft at a public witch ritual from 7-11 p.m. A mass wedding, broom-jumping, trance dancing and handfasting ceremonies will celebrate Wiccan spirituality in Pack Square Park. Wear black, masks or your best "nuptial finery." Free, but donations are encouraged. http://oldenwilde.org/samhain.

If the streets of Asheville are too rough for your little ones, keep them safe in the hallways of Brevard College. The school will host a trick-or-treat extravaganza from 6-8 p.m. Kids are encouraged to roam the campus hallways and collect candy at Jones Residence Hall. The treats are free, so bring a big bag. mellengm@brevard.edu.

Kids aren't the only ones who like a good treat. Bring senior citizens some Halloween joy at a trick-or-treat party at the Marjorie McCune Center adult care home, 101 Lion's Way, Black Mountain. Residents will pass out candy from 6-8 p.m. and give out awards for the prettiest, scariest, funniest and most unusual costume at the end of the party. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Free. http://www.mccunecenter.org or 702-2760.

Hear one of Halloween's best known tales in all its hair-raising glory when Western Carolina University hosts an original radio adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The 60-minute show was performed for a live audience of 1,000 people and now you can hear them gasp in horror at 9 p.m. only on WWNC-AM/570 or http://www.wwnc.com.

For a full list of Halloween festivities, see the Festivals section of the calendar or go to http://avl.mx/m1

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