Here are my predictions for this year’s Halloween: Sarah Palin will top the list of popular costumes, pirates will still make a strong showing (though not like the previous three years) and Christina Ricci’s portrayal of pig-nosed Penelope in this year’s fantasy film of the same name will not get nearly the costume play it warrants.
What I don’t have to predict—the proof is well-documented below—is that this year offers such a wealth of spooky-themed entertainment options that costumed revelers of all ages and persuasions will be able to get their party on.
Read on for a list of ideas for getting your thrills and chills this Halloween.
• The Brevard Jaycees host a haunted Corn Maze (1605 Everett Road, Pisgah Forest). Open Friday and Saturday from 7 to 11 p.m., the maze promises “six acres of ‘corn-fusion.’” $8 per person. Info: www.blueridgecornmaze.com or 884-4415.
• The Tweetsie Railroad offers Friday and Saturday family adventures at the Ghost Train Halloween Festival. The event also includes a haunted house, trick-or-treating and a 3-D maze. 7:30-11:30 p.m., $26 per person (children under 2 are free). Info: www.tweetsie.com or 877-TWEETSIE.
Saturday, Oct. 25
• Halloween Fest in Transylvania County runs all day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Publicity for the event notes, “The only other Transylvania is in Romania, so where else would you want to honor Halloween, but with us?” Family fun includes a tiny tot pumpkin bowl, cookie decorating, a costume parade, a hay maze, trick-or-treating in downtown Brevard and a 5K Race and Fun Walk. Visit www.brevardnc.org for race and contest entry forms. Info: 884-3278.
• Fletcher’s annual Halloween Carnival at Kate’s Park runs from 3 to 5 p.m. with activities for children ages 11 and under. Bring a carved pumpkin to be judged and a donation of nonperishable food items for a local nonprofit (to be collected at the carnival entrance). Info: www.fletcherparks.org or 687-0751.
• Pets get to strut their alter egos, too, at the second annual Halloween Dog Festival and Costume Contest (on Otis Street, in front of Asheville’s Federal Building). Festivities include contests, pet vendors, adoptable dogs, pet photography, raffles and trick or treating at downtown businesses. All proceeds benefit the Asheville Humane Society. Free; $5 for the costume contest. Noon to 4 p.m. Info: www.blazenskyy.com or 253-2850.
• A Teen Halloween Party at the East Asheville Branch Library (902 Tunnel Road, Asheville) for ages 12 to 18 includes games, ghost stories and snacks. Costumes are optional but encouraged. 3 to 4:30 p.m. Info: 250-4738.
• Halloween at the Reuter Family YMCA (3 Town Square Blvd., Asheville) takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. The community is invited to enjoy games, face painting, a costume parade, haunted maze and more. Free. Info: 651-YMCA .
Sunday, Oct. 26
• Hickory Nut Forest Eco-Community (Route 74A, Gerton) holds a MONSTER Jam (that’s an acronym for Mountain music, Organic foods, Natural building, Sustainable living, Treasure hunt, Eco-friendly, and Renewable energy) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Festivities include pumpkin carving, a guided treasure hunt, organic foods, prizes for costumes and a music jam. Info: 712-0025
• The 13th annual Pumpkinfest is held at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts (225 West State St., Black Mountain) from 1 to 4 p.m. Carved pumpkins by local artists will be for sale. Music, visual arts, dancing, pumpkin painting and other events are planned. The event is free; tickets will be sold for individual activities. Info: www.blackmountainarts.org.
• Ashtoberfest Zombiewalk returns to shamble through downtown Asheville. Dress in zombie-wear and meet in Montford Park (off Gay Street) at 5:30 p.m. for “pre-walk insanity.” The walk commences at 7 p.m., with the route running through Riverside Cemetery, off Pearson Dr., into the Montford neighborhood and downtown, ending at Pritchard Park. An after-party takes place at Asheville Brewing Company (Coxe Avenue location) beginning at 8:30 p.m. (There is also a pre-Zombiewalk “Asheville Pub Shamble” on Friday, Oct. 24, for those who really want to get into the, uh, spirit.) Info: www.ashtoberfest.productionsofdoom.org
Thursday, Oct. 30
• Stephanie Morgan performs with Hellblinki Sextet on LaZoom Tours’ haunted bus ride. The tour leaves from the Rocket Club at 8, 9, 10 and 11 p.m. $22 www.lazoomtours.com or 225-6932. (Halloween night tours are also available: same times, price and location.)
• The Feral Chihuahuas present Hallelection, an annual sketch-comedy extravaganza featuring “all the horror of politics and the half-truths and lies concerning Halloween.” Show times are 8 and 9:30 p.m. at 35Below (35 E. Walnut St., behind Asheville Community Theatre). Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Wink Heads & Threads, Adorn Salon and at the door. Info: www.feralchihuahuas.net.
Friday, Oct. 31
• Asheville on Bikes hosts the second annual Pumpkin Pedaller, a Halloween bike tour through “Asheville’s ghoulish grounds.” Meet at City/County Plaza at 6:30 p.m. (costumes are encouraged; bike helmets and illumination are necessary). The ride culminates at the Wedge Gallery’s Halloween bash. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The 14th annual Free Public Witch Ritual is open to reverent participants of all ages. The Samhain rite takes place at Unity Center (2401 Old Fanning Bridge Road, Arden) from 8 to 10 p.m. Wear a mask and a black costume. (A weekend-long campout, from Thursday, Oct. 30, through Saturday, Nov. 1, is also being held at the same location.) Info: www.oldenwilde.org.
• Honor the Old Queen of Winter in two Samhain services at Mystic Journeys (333 Merrimon Ave., Asheville). The 7 p.m. ritual is for families and beginners; the 9 p.m. service is a formal rite (participants are asked to dress and behave appropriately). Love offering. Info: 253-4272 or 230-5069.
• Unknown Hinson (country-western psychobilly) returns to The Grey Eagle for the third annual Halloween show. The performer also judges a costume contest. 9 p.m., $13 advance, $15 day of show. Info: www.thegreyeagle.com or 232-5800.
• Peace Jones (positive prog-rock with flutes) plays a Halloween party at the Town Pump. Prizes are given for the best costume. 10 p.m., $5. Info: 669-4848.
• Bassnectar headlines The Orange Peel with the multimedia “Freakbeat for the Beatfreaks” show. Beats Antiques (featuring members of the Yard Dogs Road Show) and Mike Relm, and visuals by Videolicious round out the evening. Costumes are encouraged; a special lighting show is in the works. 10 p.m. $15 advance, $17 at the door. Info: 225-5851.
• Speedsquare and Jar-e team up for a Halloween party at BoBo Gallery. $10. Info: 254-3426
• Silver Machine, Somni Suite and Moving Temple play a Halloween show at the Boiler Room (11 Grove St., Asheville). Info: 505-1612
• Caffiend 24 Hour Coffee holds a Halloween costume bash with live music. Info: 505-2098
• Club Hairspray hosts a Halloween Freaker’s Ball. Info: 258-2027
• Rock bands Trouble and Hollywood Red play at the Emerald Lounge Halloween party. Info: 232-4372
• The Wedge Gallery’s Halloween bash features The Firecracker Jazz Band (New Orleans and Dixieland jazz), light snacks and microbrew from the Wedge Brewery. $10.