A&E Roundup: Halloween celebrations adapt to social distancing

LIONS, TIGERS, BEARS: Attendees of various ages enjoy the annual Haunted Trail. The family-friendly event is one of several local socially distanced Halloween celebrations happening this month. Photo courtesy of Adventure Center of Asheville

Halloween celebrations look considerably different this fall as organizers employ creative means to provide entertainment while adhering to social distancing and other state guidelines. From spooky tours to costume-friendly concerts to at-home options, there’s something for nearly everyone in search of holiday festivities.

Family plot

Designed for children ages 3-12 and their parents/guardians, the Adventure Center of Asheville’s Haunted Trail offers multiple choices for young thrill-seekers. The 2020 version opened Oct. 8 and continues Thursday, Oct. 22-Sunday, Oct. 25, and Thursday, Oct. 29-Friday, Oct. 30 with “a family-friendly, heart-pumping walk with live actors, spooky sounds and spectacular props.” Each night at 6:30, an actor-free “Sweet Peek Tour” is available before darkness descends. The Haunted Trail is then open 7-9 p.m., as is the Treetops Adventure Park Aerial Glow Trail. Social-distancing is required, along with the wearing of face masks for participants ages 4 years old and over. Tickets range from $15-$26, and $1 from each ticket sale will be donated to MANNA FoodBank. ashevilletreetopsadventurepark.com

The walking dead

After a few years on the West Coast, Nat Allister, managing director of The Fox & Beggar Theater, has returned to Western North Carolina and created his first immersive theatrical experience. Described as a “meditation on the uncertain future of the human race, inspired by a very old English nursery rhyme,” Omen: The Death & Burial of Poor Cock Robin invites masked participants to wander individually through a series of outdoor art installations on the the Hawk & Hawthorne farm in Barnardsville.

The show debuted Oct. 16 and continues Friday, Oct. 23-Saturday, Oct. 24, and Friday, Oct. 30-Saturday, Oct. 31, with start times every half hour, 8-9:30 p.m. The exhibition takes a little under one hour to fully walk. Guests will receive special face masks and remain outdoors during the entire production. According to the event’s Facebook page, attendees are also “required to wear all black out of respect for the departed, and asked to wear sturdy shoes.” foxandbeggar.com/omen


Asheville-based intuitive Charley Castex is featured in Pittsburgh-based author Mary Ann Bohrer’s new book The Gift Within Us: Intuition, Spirituality and the Power of Our Own Inner Voice. Bohrer’s mission is to “change the image of intuition and gifted intuitives” with the message that all people “have access to divine guidance and wisdom through intuition” and “by taking our ego down a few pegs and listening to our own inner voice.” She describes Castex as “not only incredibly gifted” but “also a really nice guy and the antithesis of what some people think about ‘psychics.’” maryannbohrer.com

Prolific Charleston, S.C.-based writer Sherman Carmichael’s Mysterious Tales of Western North Carolina spotlights numerous supernatural stories from across the region. Chapter titles include “Ghosts of the Biltmore House,” “Weaverville UFO,” “Chimney Rock Apparitions” and “Dillsboro Vampire.” historypress.com

Monster mashes

Asheville-based rockers Andrew Scotchie & the River Rats will play a socially distanced outdoor show at Salvage Station on Friday, Oct. 30, 6:30-9:30 p.m. In addition to original songs from the band’s catalog, the trio plans to work in creative covers from its “Rats Sabbath” (Black Sabbath) and “Rolling Experience” (Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix Experience) tribute shows. Costumes are encouraged, and prizes will be awarded to the best outfits. Tickets are $5. salvagestation.com

On Saturday, Oct. 31, 7-10 p.m., Mills River Brewing Co. hosts In Flight’s tribute to the macabre music of film composer and frequent Tim Burton collaborator Danny Elfman (Edward Scissorhands; Beetlejuice). The Asheville-area band consists of Ian Taylor (keyboard/synths), Bryce Robertson (guitar) and Jay Good (drums), and will perform two sets, combining original and improvised material with Elfman’s iconic film and TV scores. Free to attend. millsriverbrewingco.com

Disembodied voices

For folks who prefer to celebrate Halloween at home, multiple local horror podcasts are available to cue up on demand. Dark Corners (gestalt-media.com/dark-corners) features original horror stories written and narrated by Swannanoa-based author David Allen Voyles. Its first season is composed of 13 stand-alone tales, while season two is the story Witch-Works, set in the haunted ruins of a toy factory formerly owned by a mysterious millionaire.

Palimpsest (thepalimpsestpodcast.com), created by Jamieson Ridenhour of Black Mountain and Hayley Heninger of Swannanoa, has three 10-episode seasons. The most recent season, “Josie,” follows a disgraced U.S. code-breaker living in London during The Blitz and her hauntings by the dead who walk the bomb-scarred streets. And Old Gods of Appalachia (oldgodsofappalachia.com), co-created by Asheville-based Steve Shell, takes an anthology approach in its exploration of an “alternate Appalachia,” whose mountains were never meant to be inhabited.

For listeners who’d like to see firsthand how an episode is made, the Mountain Murders Appalachian true crime podcast (linktr.ee/mountainmurders) will record a live show at The Odditorium on Friday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m. The program launched in 2018 and is the creation of Haywood County natives Heather and Dylan Packer. The event is described as “a night of enchanting true crime, comedy and improv,” and includes a Q&A session and fan meetup. Social distancing guidelines will be followed and tickets are $10 in advance and $12 day of show. The full event will be recorded and made available online after the show. avl.mx/8l2


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for ashevillemovies.com and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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