Spooktacular

Dress up or just slap on a mask, grab your biggest trick-or-treat bag and head out — there are entertainment options for every age and persuasion of Halloween-celebrating ghost, goblin or fairy princess. Xpress tracked down four days' worth of plays, parties, bike rides, concerts, tours, carnivals, family-friendly gatherings and adult-specific indulgences. Start noshing on that candy corn — you'll need the sustenance.

= Xpress Pick

LaZoom brings the doom: "To hell with the hay ride," try a haunted tour of Asheville's River Arts district.

Wednesday, Oct. 28

• N.C. Stage calls its current show "a sophisticated alternative to trick-or-treating." The Beauty Queen of Leenane has been described as "unsettling and bleakly funny,"  "both comic and ineffably sinister." Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $16 Wednesday, $23 Thursday and Sunday, $26 Friday and Saturday. Info: www.ncstage.org or 239-0263.

• Get freaked out by horror-movie characters, zombies and more at Pinhead's Graveyard, WNC's outdoor haunted house for 13 years now. The haunted trail is behind Waffle House off Smokey Park Highway, and they're scaring people nightly until Nov. 1. Info: www.pinheadsgraveyard.com.

Thursday, Oct. 29

•  Here's something scary: Lawyers. Actually, the talented legal representatives who make up Pisgah Legal Services and the Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyers are not only a welcome boon to the community (and far from frightening) but also a talented group beyond their closing-argument skills. Turns out, many of Asheville's pro-bono attorneys moonlight as rock stars. Check 'em out at a Halloween-themed cocktail party featuring attorney musicians (part of ABA-sponsored Pro Bono Week) at Tressa's Downtown Jazz and Blues (28 Broadway, Asheville, 254-7072).  A dozen local barristers (including Jeff Zentner from Van Winkle Law Firm, Emmett Carney who has a solo practice and Tom Lawton — general counsel at UNCA — with his band), will break out their guitars, drums, keys, and harmonicas to jam on alt-country, blues and bluegrass.  5-8 p.m. Info: www.probono.net/celebrateprobono/featuredevents.

• Head to Brevard College's Morrison Playhouse for the performance run of Little Shop of Horrors. Shows are at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Nov. 1. Tickets are $10 adults, $2 students. Info: 884-8330. 

• Up for more seasonal theater? The A-B Tech Drama Club stages its ninth production of Skeered??, an evening of local ghost stories and hauntings (think: Helen's Bridge, the Brown Mountain Lights and the Pink Lady at the Grove Park Inn). Shows are held at Carriage House Theatre (behind the appropriately haunted Fernihurst mansion on the A-B Tech Asheville campus). Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Info: pcarver@abtech.edu or 254-1921, ext. 890.

•  "To hell with the hay ride," says press for LaZoom's Haunted River Arts District Tours. The 45-minute rides on the traveling comedy show/purple sight-seeing bus depart from the Rocket Club in West Asheville (see info about the club's Halloween shows, below) on the hour from 8-11 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 9-11 p.m. on Saturday. Watch for Axe Man, who haunts the River Arts District, a werewolf striptease, a public stoning and live music from Now You See Them. Tickets are $22 (ages 21+ only) and include admission to the Rocket Club. Info: www.lazoomtours.com or 225-6932.

Pumpkins designed and carved for the Wedge Brewery by Jason King. The Wedge is hosting a pre-party costume contest.

Halloween Craziness part 1 (this is a three-night blowout, so keep reading) at The Rocket Club (401 Haywood Road, West Asheville, 505-2494) brings The Funk Messengers and others. 9 p.m., $10.

Friday, Oct. 30

• Transylvania Heritage Museum (40 W. Jordan St., Brevard, 884-2347) leads cemetery tours on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30 and 31, at 5 and 6:30 p.m. Hour-long tours by lantern light include ghost stories. $5 per person. Info: www.transylvaniaheritage.org.

• Costumes for a cause: The Saluda Medical Center Fundraiser Masquerade Ball at Saluda Mountain Jamboree (7200 Howard Gap Rd., Saluda, 749-3676) includes dinner, dancing, music, raffles, contests, prizes and a cash bar; proceeds go to the the Saluda Medical Center to pay for critical needs not covered by the operating budget. Tickets are $25 individual/$40 couples (and include a barbecue dinner), available in Saluda at Manna Cabanna's, Cathy Jackson Realty, Biddie's Antiques, The Thrifty Barn, and Macon Bank; in Columbus at the Polk County Wellness Center; and in Tryon (Lynn) at the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce. 6:30 p.m.

• Dare to walk the Terror Trail at Vance Street Park (Waynesville, 456-2030). Spine-chilling screams and belly-thrilling marshmallow roasts are part of the deal. 7-10 p.m., $3. Info: recyouth@townofwaynesville.org.

• Folklorist Charlotte Ross returns to the Mars Hill College campus (behind Wall, Ferguson, and Wren Buildings; Moore Auditorium in case of rain) to share Appalachian ghost stories beneath the stars. The concert, which includes a bonfire,  will be a fundraiser for the Ramsey Center's National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge grant. $5, $3 for youth ages 6-16. Hot cocoa and other snacks will be sold at the event. 7 p.m. Info: Amy Carraux at 689-1571 or acarraux@mhc.edu.

• Tweetsie Railroad's Ghost Train Halloween Festival runs every Friday and Saturday night through October 31. The railroad is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains on U.S. Highway 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets are required and can be purchased online at www.tweetsie.com. $26, free for kids ages 2 and under.

•  More silly than spooky, Poppycock Productions presents the Queer Queens of Qomedy at Diana Wortham Theatre (2 S. Pack Square, Asheville, 257-4530). The show consists of three of the top lesbian comics: Poppy Champlin, Karen Ripley and Karen Williams. "While some people may be scared off by the moniker of queer being utilized so prominently in the title of the tour, Champlin wants to assure eyeryone that the tour is not strictly focused on gay or lesbian issues," reads press for the show. "It really isn't about being gay it is about being human and laughing at the human condition unconditionally." 8 p.m., $25. Info at www.dwtheatre.com.

The Queer Queens of Qomedy at Diana Wortham Theatre on Friday, Oct. 30 features a costume contest in the lobby.

• Halloween Craziness continues at The Rocket Club, Part 2 of the series sees Sirius.B, Vortex Park and others take the stage. 9 p.m., $10.

Saturday, Oct. 31

• It's "trick and treat" at the White Horse (105C Montreat Rd., Black Mountain, 669-0816), starting at 2 p.m. with a kid's show by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. $5 gets you in the door for positive hip-hop, magic, face painting and a costume contest. Adults can keep on rocking those alter egos at 8 p.m. for a party and costume contest with veteran bluesman Mac Arnold. $10. www.whitehorseblackmountain.com.

• Pumpkin carving, costume contests and an air bounce — it's all at Fletcher's Annual Halloween Carnival at Kate's Park   3-5 p.m. Free (bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to Interfaith Ministries). Info: www.fletcherparks.org or 687-0751.

• Trick-or-Treat Street, takes place in downtown Hendersonville at the Gazebo on Main Street from 4:30-7:30 p.m Entertainment includes a costume contest and the Monster Mash. Info: 697-2022

• The Rotary of Brevard announces the 29th Annual Flight of Vampire 5K race through downtown Brevard. Come in masks and/or costumes for this spooky-themed evening run which begins at 5 p.m. and follows Brevard's annual Halloweenfest (10 a.m.-6 p.m.: Food, musical entertainment, vendors, arts and crafts and Halloween activities). $30 for 5K registrations. Info: www.BrevardRotary.org.

• In lieu of a broomstick, ride your bike. Asheville on Bikes' annual Pumpkin Pedaller begins at City/County Plaza and culminates in the parking lot of Clingman Café. Marley Carroll provides music. Organizers say, "The ride isn't strenuous, but there are a few short climbs, so design your costume to be bike functional. Be well-illuminated and wear your helmet." 5:30-8 p.m., $5. Info: www.ashevilleonbikes.com.

• Ghost stories aside, bookstores are rarely bastions of creepy vibes. Rethink that at Malaprop's (55 Haywood St., Asheville, 254-6734) Graveyard Book Party. Along with a costume contest, there's an extra-eerie design-your-own-tombstone contest, other events, prizes and refreshments. 7 p.m., free. 

• Get an early start to the evening at the Wedge Brewery Pre-Party Costume Contest (125-B Roberts St., Asheville, 505-2792). Judging at 7 p.m.; prizes for funniest costume, weirdest costume and costume most likely to get you shot. Hang out for awhile: the brewery's outdoor cinema will show the thriller Wait Until Dark at 9 p.m.

• A more esoteric take on the holiday at hand: The Mystical Masquerade & Fairy Ball at Dr. Neon's (11 Richland St., Asheville, 626-2923) includes a Samhain celebration, costume competitions, a ritual at 8 p.m., a dance in honor of the Celtic New Year and music by world-beat experimental collective Arundas, Alchemy of the Goddess with Kristin Luna Ray and DJ Dathan. 7 p.m. start time, $10 (a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Casa de Milagros Peruvian orphanage).

• Every day is Halloween for Raleigh-based progressive metalcore quintet Between The Buried And Me who will play their new album, The Great Misdirect, in its entirety at The Orange Peel (101 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, 225-5851). Additional
appearances by side projects Glass Casket and Braveyoung with Torchrunner. 8 p.m., $12 advance/ $14 doors. Info: www.theorangepeel.net.

• It's a threefer: Arts2People, The Feral Chihuahuas and Asheville Brewing Company join forces for The Spirits of Asheville Masquerade. The all-night happening features a Feral Chihuahuas variety show, burlesque from Seduction Sideshow, feats of human magic and agility from Royal Peasantry, a costume contest with over $1,000 in cash and prizes, a DJ dance party and the drinkable wares of local brewers. The festivities begin at 8 p.m. at the Haywood Park Hotel Grand Ballroom (1 Battery Park Ave., Asheville). Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Halloween Express (Next to Michaels off of Tunnel Road),  Asheville Brewing Company on Merrimon Ave. and Coxe Ave., online at www.feralchihuahuas.com or at the door.

• Quirky, vaudevillian and kazoo-playing kooky may not add up to scary, but it does make for an entertaining night. Wear your most danceable costume to Jack of the Wood (95 Patton Ave., Asheville, 252-5445) for New York City-based Two Man Gentleman Band. 9 p.m.

• Westville Pub (777 Haywod Road, West Asheville, 225-9782) holds its eighth annual Halloween party. Country act Uncle Dave & The Smoky Mtn Escort Service performs; Skintback City Public Radio opens. Music starts at 9 p.m., costume contest at 11:30 p.m. with prizes for the best three costumes. $5. Info: www.westvillepub.com.

• Halloween Craziness part 3 at the Rocket Club includes Folly Beach-based jamband/Americana act Sol Driven Train, Asheville's own psychedelic bluegrass/reggae/fusion collective Snake Oil Medicine Show and others. 9 p.m., $15.

• Stella Blue (31 Patton Ave., Asheville, 236-2424) hosts Spookshow A Go Go with psychobilly band The Go Devils and members of Crank County Daredevils doing monster covers. All zombies get in for half price at door, plus win a prize for best zombie couple. The kicker? A Glen Danzig sing-off contest, wherein contestants will sing "Mother" with the house band (members of Crank County). 9 p.m.

• Hillbilly vampire Unknown Hinson, he of the Grecian formula sideburns and malevolent widows peak, returns to the Grey Eagle (185 Clingman Ave., Asheville, 232-5800) just in time for the witching hour. Groove to rockabilly tunes like "Ugly Things" and "Torture Town," come early (and in costume: Unknown judges the best getup) for opener Lamb Handler. 9 p.m., $15.

• Reggae artist Chalwa and DJ Selector Cleofus return to the Watershed (207 W State St., Black Mountain, 669-0777) for the annual Return of the Living Dread. Also on the bill: a "costume contest and shenanigans." 9 p.m.

• Haunted Grove House Screamfest (11 Grove St., Asheville, 505-1612) is three clubs (Eleven, Scandals and The Boiler Room) worth of entertainment, plus decorations, special acts from circus side shows and aerialists to "a creepy pole dancer." Themed areas include the Meat Locker, the Graveyard, the Bat Cave, the Underground Tunnel and the Roadway to Hell, and the costume contest brings a $1,000 prize. Rock-surf-funk band Grammer School holds a CD release at The Boiler Room as part of the festivities. 9 p.m., $20 for full access.

• The Garage at Biltmore (101 Fairview Road, Asheville, 505-2663) holds a Halloween party and the 3rd annual Caffiend Costume Contest with a $500 grand prize. Bands include Dashvara, Turbo Pro Project, Gaslight Street and DJ Position. $8 cover, $5 for those in costume (the club warms, "an eye patch, a bandanna, a skeleton shirt, or a T-shirt that says "costume" do not qualify"). 10 p.m.

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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