Halloween falls on a Thursday this year, making it hard to plan a party. But we’re sticklers for celebrating on the actual date: No early birthday presents for us, no pre-emptive Christmas stockings and no sexy Uncle Si costumes before Oct. 31. With that in mind, here’s where to trick or treat on All Hallows Eve proper. (All events take place on Thursday, Oct. 31, unless otherwise noted.)
It’s three parties in one at the three-venues-in-one Grove House. Confused? Don’t be — just plan a costume in which you can party-hop. Because even though the Grove House threw a blowout Halloween party last weekend, there’s still more where that came from. Club Eleven hosts The Bedlam Ravers Ball with DJ Acolyte and Invader Slim ($6). At Scandals it’s Oblivion: Hell-A-Queen Rocky Horror Show ($8). And the Boiler Room holds Shellshock into the Dark Ball, a goth/industrial/EBM dance night with DJ Drees and Queen April ($6). 10 p.m.-3 a.m., $12 for all three parties. thegrovehouse.com.
Candy is the bedrock of the Halloween experience for lots of kids, but no one wants to dodge cars while scooping up the goods. Vermont Avenue in West Asheville becomes pedestrian-only this year for its annual trick-or-treat extravaganza. Downtown Hendersonville and Waynesville open up their streets to kids looking to nab a Tootsie Pop or two. Or mix your fright with some history at an Asheville bed-and-breakfast walking tour. Go to mountainx.com/events and click on “festivals” for a veritable goodie bag of kid-friendly Halloween festivities.
Looking for a Halloween party alternative? Listen to This — Stories in Performance, hosted by local comedian Tom Chalmers, returns with a spooky theme. The series invites local writers and performers to bring their stories or songs to the 35 Below stage for an evening of “This American Life”-type entertainment. On Halloween, the tales revolve around the idea of "Welcome to the Terror Dome — True Tales of Being Truly Terrified." 7:30 p.m., $10 online at ashevilletheatre.org, by phone at 254-1320, or in person at the ACT Box Office.
Three local indie-rock acts take the stage at The LAB. Electro-rock quintet The Beast of Rivendell and space rockers Silver Machine share the bill with textured rock outfit WorldLine, which headlines. The venue’s website says: “This show is a Halloween Party. Let's see your best costumes.” 9 p.m., $5. lexavebrew.com.
Brooklyn-based rock outfit Black Taxi promises something special for Halloween at The Mill Room. They open for the Austin, Tex.-based rock/psychedelic collective (and Bele Chere alums) Bright Light Social Hour. 9 p.m., $10 advance/$12 day of show. ashevillemillroom.com.
Halloween cocktails Little Devil and Vampire’s Blook both involve spiced rum, which may be why Capt’n Morgan is featured on the entertainment for Tressa’s Annual Halloween Bash. Then again, it could be some other captain altogether. (Still, some brave soul should totally order one of those drinks.) DJ Mitch Fortune spins. 8 p.m. tressas.com.
Here are four guys who aren’t afraid of a costume: The Tills (formerly The Critters) have appeared onstage in captain’s hats, fur coats, unitards and birthday suits. We fully expect them to outdo themselves at The Mothlight. The evening also includes The Downstrokes, who’ll be playing The Strokes’ album This Is It in its entirety. 8 p.m. Free. themothlight.com.
While African-informed world rock might not evoke chilling images, Toubab Krewe is sure to evoke a few screams. The semi-local, hard-touring group returns to Asheville for a two-night stand at The Isis, starting on Halloween. Zansa shares the bill. 9 p.m., $17 advance/$20 at the door. Return on Friday, Nov. 1, for Toubab Krewe with the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra. Same time and ticket prices. isisasheville.com.
What’s more haunting than a journey back in time? This Halloween, Isa's Bistro (1 Battery Park Ave.) transforms into ’70s-era nightclub Studio 54. “Complete with a disco ball, disco music, red carpet, velvet ropes, and an entire staff dressed to the nines, Isa's is going to take you to Funky Town,” promises the restaurant’s Facebook event page. “Wear your own ’70s gear or don the costume of your choice and join us for some smokin' cocktails, great music and hip vibes! Can you dig it?” 7 p.m., no cover. isasbistro.com.
Go over to the dark side, or the Dirty South Lounge, for Hallows Evening Vinyl. Matthew Storm Schrader and Christopher Ballard curate a night of gothic rock, darkwave, industrial, EBM and more. Jason Scott Furr will be VJ. 8 p.m. southernkitchenandbar.com/dirty-south-lounge
Dance to your doom: Olive or Twist’s Halloween dance party offers up music, rug-cutting, a costume contest and spooky martinis for inspiration. 8 p.m., no cover. oliveortwist.net.
It’s Halloween with The Hermit Kings at The Grey Eagle. The stacked evening of indie rock includes locals Doc Aquatic, Elim Bolt from Charleston, S.C., and The Can’t Kids from Columbia, S.C. All-ages show. 9 p.m., $7/$5 if you’re in costume. thegreyeagle.com.
Halloween weekend onward
Even if you don’t want to leave your house this Halloween (except to rent a scary movie), we’ve got you covered. Brevard-based artist Chris Behrens has been hard at work creating horror comic series DoktorX. You can check out the comic online at doktorxcomic.blogspot.com. Like what you see? Behrens has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to put the first issue of DoktorX into print.
Day of the Dead (Halloween’s more thoughtful flip side) comes with its festivities, too. LaZoom offers a special ride in honor of the dearly departed. “Day of the Dead festivities are a fundraiser for the CDCA Center for Development in Central America and will be led by Howard Hanger and accompanied by live music on the bus,” says a press release. Celebratory dress is encouraged. The trip departs from 1 Page Ave. at 5 and 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1. $20 adults/$12 children. lazoomtours.com.
Keep the post-Halloween festivities going with a Day of the Dead fiesta, hosted by Grandma Presents at Zia Taqueria in West Asheville. Local bands, including Krektones, Ahleuchatistas and Kovacs & the Polar Bear, take the stage while Day of the Dead face painters transform kids into roving skeletons and adults get their fill of Mexican beer. Held Saturday, Nov. 2, at Zia Taqueria, 521 Haywood Road. Starts at “high noon” rain or shine. Free. facebook.com/GrandmaPresents
“The Time Warp” rises again at a live performance of cult favorite The Rocky Horror Show. The A-B Tech Drama Club will don wigs and stilettos to bring the infamous musical to life. Costumes are encouraged, but throwing props at the stage is verboten. Held Friday, Nov. 1, and Saturday, Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m. $10; $5 students and veterans. avl.mx/023