Creep factor: Where to haunt, howl, rock, roll, trick, treat and celebrate this Halloween

WILL DO TRICKS FOR TREATS: This Halloween season promises plenty of events for party animals of both the two- and four-legged varieties. Photo by April Johnson, Asheville Pet Photography

Halloween only falls on a Saturday every six years (not seven, thanks to leap year), so that’s one more reason to go all out this time around. NBC recently reported that the top adult costumes for 2015 include zombies, pirates, Batman and Star Wars characters and the always-terrifying political pundit.

Steer clear of those themes and maybe avoid anything too heavy, tight or restrictive because the offerings in and around Western North Carolina promise plenty of dancing. There are also pumpkins to decorate, book launches to celebrate, costume contests and two pet-friendly promenades.

All events are Saturday, Oct. 31, unless otherwise noted. For more Halloween happenings, check out Clubland, Community Calendar and

• Afro-soul rarely brings the doom, unless it’s played by Staten Island’s The Budos Band. Those musicians are no strangers to Asheville, having made The Grey Eagle a regular tour stop. But this year marks the first two-night-stand, with shows Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30 and 31, at 8 p.m. So why celebrate Halloween with The Budos Band? The group’s fourth album is called Burnt Offering, for starters. And, according to a press release, “While wizards use books of spells and alchemy to mix their masterful potions, the Budos employ heavy doses of continent-spanning psychedelic rock to beckon the occult and conjure the supernatural.” $22 advance/$25 day of show/$40 both nights.

• Throughout October, the Oakley Library is accepting contributions to its Storybook Pumpkin Patch. Choose a favorite storybook character and decorate your pumpkin accordingly with paint, markers, cloth, pipe cleaners, etc. (no carving, cutting or holes allowed). All participants will be entered into a drawing for a gift certificate from a local bookstore. Info at 250-4754 or

LET'S DO THE TIME WARP: From left, Luke Haynes, Taylor Aldrich, Bradshaw Call and Lyle Laney star in the local production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Photo courtesy of the actors
LET’S DO THE TIME WARP: From left, Luke Haynes, Taylor Aldrich, Bradshaw Call and Lyle Laney star in the local production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Photo courtesy of the actors

• “You have been cordially invited to a traditional old-world open-casket wake,” begins the press release for Lex 18‘s immersive vaudevillian dinner theater. Billed as “1926 All Hallow’s Eve: A Wake for Living and Dead,” the evening spins off the death of Asheville entrepreneur E.W. Grove. Unlike most memorial services, this one offers song, dance, comedy and a four-course dinner with drinks. Wednesday to Saturday, Oct. 28-31, at 6 and 8:30 p.m. $89 Wednesday and Thursday/$99 Friday and Saturday. The Whispers in the Night Midnight Seance late show, held Thursday to Saturday, Oct. 29-31, at 11:30 p.m. includes a cocktail reception and hourlong seance led by magician Ariann Black. $45 VIP seating/$23 voyeur seating.

• Although electronic outfit Papadosio is known nationwide and tours constantly, the band calls Asheville home. And while the group’s latest album, Extras in a Movie, sees them packing in even more miles and stages, Papadosio decided to celebrate Halloween locally. Though the musicians are known more for wearing tie-dyes than costumes, they did recently film a music video for “Epiphany” with Muppetlike characters. The Orange Peel show starts at 9 p.m. $20 advance/$23 day of show.

• For high-impact dance parties on a low budget, look no further than MG Road. The venue hosts Disco of the Dead with DJ Wade Runk Friday, Oct. 30, at 10 p.m. Dress all Saturday Night (Scarlet) Fever-esque. Cover is free. The Monster Makeout Dance Party Part 2: The Resurrection with DJ Hotline Bling starts Saturday, at 10 p.m. $3.

• “Costumes are not required … just enthusiastically requested,” Malaprop’s says of its Friday, Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m. author event with Catherynne Valente. The decopunk Halloween party celebrates Valente’s new novel, Radiance, “the tale of Severin Unck, a heroine from an alternate solar system who disappears after going to Venus to film a documentary about a vanished colony.” Drinks and food will be provided. Free.

• What’s more seasonal than a murder mystery? Not much. So Parkway Playhouse will present the interactive dinner theater production, Murder at the Nu Wray Inn, on Halloween. During the family-style meal, “things go awry as a ghost hunter tries to communicate with the spirit of Rush Wray, the late proprietor of the historic Nu Wray Inn,” says a press release. “A guest ends up being the victim of a murder while the others are left to solve the mystery.” The program, held at the Nu Wray Inn in Burnsville, beings at 6:30 p.m. An encore performance is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 1, at 6:30 p.m. $40.

• The plan at Buxton Hall Barbecue revolves around drinks (such as spooky punches and cocktail-filled pumpkins fixed with workable taps) and music (Reigning Sound frontman Greg Cartwright serves as DJ). 10 p.m. $3.

Euphoria, photo courtesy of the band
TOGETHER AGAIN: Local rockers Euphoria reunite for a pair of Halloween shows. Photo courtesy of the band

• For the Hendersonville-based rockers in Euphoria, All Hallows Eve isn’t just a chance to amp up the onstage antics, it’s the perfect date for a band reunion. Christian Justus, Kenny Stephenson and Gene Miller comprised the group from 1988-’99, performing regional venues with an arsenal of hit covers and original songs. While a reunion has been in the works for a while, founding players and the band’s extended family are traveling from as far as Oregon to re-create the Euphoria at Detours Nightclub in Hendersonville, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30 and 31. Awake the Dream opens the Friday show at 9 p.m. Euphoria performs Saturday, 3-7 p.m. $4 Friday/$2 Saturday. Reservations suggested.

• Dress your furry friends in their fiercest costumes and join in the Black Mountain Howl-O-Ween Pet Parade & Costume Contest. Registration at 1 p.m. at Town Square, parade at 3 p.m. followed by the contest. Info at 669-0706 and

• Brother Wolf Animal Rescue’s Howl-O-Ween Walkathon, a 2-mile trek to benefit animals in need, takes place at Carrier Park at 1 p.m. Register as an individual or part of a group and then raise funds to help the cause and win prizes.

• For all-day Halloween revelry, head to Isis Restaurant & Music Hall. The West Asheville venue hosts Bloodkin & Bloodies, a brunch-time pre-Widespread Panic party with (as the name suggests) Athens, Ga.-based Southern rockers Bloodkin, bloody marys, barbecue and a Pisgah tap takeover. Brunch is at 11 a.m., with the show at 3 p.m. and shuttles running to the Widespread Panic show at the U.S. Cellular Center. $10 advance. At 9 p.m., local indie-rockers The Hermit Kings share the Isis stage with Empire Strikes Brass. $7 advance/$10 day of show.

• Although Widespread Panic is always a hot ticket when the long-playing rock band — formed in Athens, Ga. three decades ago — comes to Asheville, this set of shows is special. The group just released a new album, its 12th studio recording. According to a press release, Street Dogs “is the most fun the veteran sextet has had making an album, which is apparent upon first listen.” The songs “have a swing and a swagger [and] Panic’s rock and blues roots shine brightly.” The band performs at the U.S. Cellular Center Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30 and 31, at 8 p.m.. $42.50 plus fees. Limited tickets remained at press time.

• Although cult horror-comedy The Rocky Horror Picture Show wasn’t originally intended for Halloween viewing, its outrageous characters, over-the-top plot, inspired costumes and ghoulishly fabulous song-and-dance numbers make it season-appropriate. Local producers Jacob Walas and Lyle Laney bring the production to the Masonic Temple stage for an eight-night run, Thursday, Oct. 29, to Sunday, Nov. 8. Shows are at 7:30 nightly except Saturday, Oct. 31, when shows take place at 5 and 8 p.m. “Take a six-person professional pit and 17 of Asheville’s top stage talents, and you’re guaranteed a rockin’ good time,” says a press release. Lindsey Kelley Dance performs pre-show at 7:10 p.m. $15 sight-restricted upper-level/$20 upper-level/$30 lower-level.

Empire Strikes Brass, photo courtesy of the band
Empire Strikes Brass, photo courtesy of the band

• For a different kind of scary experience, The Altamont Theatre hosts a Halloween-themed edition of its monthly series, An Evening of Sexy Storytelling. There will be “eight performers ranging in artistic and sexual diversity, including a polyamorous couple, a dominatrix [and] a lesbian erotic poet,” says a press release. The stories will be followed by a DJ dance party, burlesque performance and prizes for costumes. Thursday, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m. $8 advance/$12 day of show/$20 VIP.

• Asheville on Bikes rolls out its ninth annual Pumpkin Pedaller on Halloween. The 9-mile community ride (in costume) leaves from City Hall at 2:30 p.m. and culminates at New Mountain for a party at 5:30 p.m. Local band Speed Square reunites for the free gathering.

• New Mountain also warms up the dance floor for Ben Lovett’s Time Machine Dance Party, where a new decade of music starts each hour, beginning with the ’60s at 9 p.m. “Monster Mash” anyone? $10.

• For more multiple-floor revelry, Asheville Music Hall hosts Our House Presents: Pitch Black Underground Halloween Dance Party in both its upstairs, Patton Avenue venue, and downstairs at One Stop. 10 p.m., $5.

• Speaking of parties on multiple floors, The Grove House bills its Haunted House Inferno as “the No. 1 dance party in WNC,” and the evidence is certainly compelling. Six DJs, four bars and three dance floors, including events in Scandals, The Boiler Room and Club Eleven are an exhaustive itinerary. Add an extra night to that mathematical equation — the celebration spans Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30 and 31, 9 p.m.-3 a.m. $20 Friday/$30 Saturday.


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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She 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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