Halloween falls midweek this year, which means that while many ghoulish entertainments will take place the preceding weekend, there are still some events to look forward to on Halloween night itself. Below, find a selection of electrified entertainment, haunted habitats and death-defying dance parties.
If spooky tales have held a special place in your heart ever since you came across Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark as a child, consider driving out to Tryon this Halloween. There, the Tryon Arts and Crafts School will be hosting The Apparitionist, its national ghost story competition reading.
The four winning stories, chosen by television and stage writer Michael Zam, will be read at the renovated schoolhouse that houses TACS’s gallery, classroom studios and forge. “There will be treats, beer and wine, and costumes are welcomed,” says Kai Elijah Hamilton, The Apparitionist’s creator and TACS administrator and graphic designer. He says that the large gallery space will be used “to create a campfire atmosphere for the reading.”
To this end, the stories will be read by local actors to heighten the audience’s intrigue and fear. “We received more than 100 submissions, more than doubling last year,” says Hamilton. He sees the competition as a way for TACS, a long-standing pillar of arts education, to embrace new artistic media, especially the deep tradition of storytelling in North Carolina.
Hamilton notes that the entries of the finalists are all scary and range from traditional folk tales to stories with contemporary political and dystopian elements. While the tales aren’t overly graphic, Hamilton warns that parents might want to consider how comfortable their young children are with frightening content.
Hamilton mentions that the TACS schoolhouse itself has had some paranormal activity. “It’s nothing malevolent, but workers have heard children’s voices in classrooms when no one was present. A couple people even said they thought they saw children and teachers that quickly disappeared,” he says. “You know how a place gets when it has seen so many bodies and thoughts pass through it.”
Maybe these visitors will be in attendance for the reading festivities as well. “These stories made our skin crawl,” Hamilton says. “We’re excited to hear them live.” The finalists read their works at 373 Harmon Field Road, Tryon, on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 7 p.m. Free. tryonartsandcrafts.org
For more Halloween ideas, read on (events are in Asheville unless otherwise noted), or visit Clubland, Calendar and mountainx.com.
• Throughout October, The Haunted Farm — which was voted best haunted house attraction in North Carolina in 2017 — is back with Billy Tate’s Revenge, “55 minutes of terrifying excitement and fun,” according to a press release. Survive seven separate spaces of haunting and “learn the fate of young Billy Joe Tate — why he missed his wedding and the bloody rage that would befall the perpetrators of Billy’s untimely demise.” 624 Townsend Road, Hendersonville. Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 26 and 27; Tuesday, Oct. 30, and Wednesday, Oct. 31, $25 general admission/$40 fast pass admission. nchauntedfarm.com
• Pisgah Brewing Co. is haunted, once again, with family-friendly fun. The sixth annual Haunted Trail, meant for children ages 3-12, is “filled with live actors, spooky sounds and spectacular props,” says the event’s website. The trail leads revelers to a party in the brewery’s park, which features Halloween crafts, food trucks, supersized games and Pisgah beer on tap. A dollar from each ticket sale supports a PTA or PTO of choice. 150 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain. Wednesday-Sunday, Oct. 24-28, 6:30-9 p.m. $11 general admission/$9 children ages 4-9. hauntedtrailwnc.com
• Start your Halloween weekend festivities early at Highland Brewing Co.‘s annual Halloween House Party. “Music, costume contests for children (6 p.m.) and adults (6:30 p.m.) and the brewery-only release of Zombie Story, a small-batch New England IPA” will get you in the Halloween spirit, says the Facebook invite. 12 Old Charlotte Highway. Friday, Oct. 26, noon-10 p.m. highlandbrewing.com
• What Halloween weekend would be complete without a little death metal? Blue Mountain Mischief Promotions presents Halloween Metal Fest: Halloween 3.0 at The Odditorium. Performances include 8 Vacant Graves, Filth, Eye of the Destroyer, Raphumet’s Well, The Casket Creatures, Neverfall, A World of Lies and the anticipated return of local horror groove band Bleedseason. 1045 Haywood Road. Friday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m.-2 a.m. $10. ashevilleodditorium.com
• In Weaverville, Zebulon Artisan Ales, Eluvium Brewing Co. and Blue Mountain Pizza and Brew Pub are banding together for the Halloweenie October Fest. The event is a block party in the alley that separates Zebulon and Eluvium. Costumes are encouraged. According to Zebulon co-owner Gabe Pickard-Karnowski, “Each brewery will have a German-style-inspired beer specially made for the event, and various local restaurants and food trucks will be cooking up special sausage treats.” 8 Merchants Alley, Weaverville. Saturday, Oct. 27, 1-7 p.m. zebulonbrewing.com
• Looking for a truly historic haunt? The Shelton House in Waynesville invites visitors to partake in its Ghosts and Growlers Masquerade Ball. “This adults-only event raises funds for the upkeep of a National Register of Historic Places Home and Barn,” says a press release. The event includes food, drinks, fun and games. There will be ghost stories, fortunetelling and professional face painting, along with raffles for wine and six grand-prize vacation getaways. 49 Shelton St., Waynesville. Saturday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m. $75. sheltonhouse.org
• Support local performing arts at Different Strokes! Halloween Party. The event invite promises costume contests, casino games, dinner, drinks and lots of prizes. All of the proceeds go toward supplementing the cost of renovating the group’s theater space, The DownStage. 15 Overbrook Place. Saturday, Oct. 27, 6-10 p.m. $60 advance/$75 at the door. differentstrokespac.org
• White Horse Black Mountain sets the stage for Asheville Vaudeville’s Vaudeville Spooktacular Show. “Mistress of ceremonies Carmel Clavin presents aerial artistry by Kittywampus, lyra lunacy by Ella Minnope, the cryptic comedy of Lucky Rigel 7, the silky skills of Augusta Moon, dark dance by Claire Dima, devilish performance art by Skirt Vonnegut, tasty tap-dance by Elizabeth Evans and Apryl Blakeney and black widow burlesque by Roxie LeMoan,” says the press release. 105-C Montreat Road, Black Mountain. Saturday, Oct. 27, 8 p.m. $12 advance/$15 at the door. whitehorseblackmountain.com
• “We’re all garbage people, right? It’s time we dressed like it,” says the event invite for Sly Grog Lounge’s Halloween Trash Ball. The event includes a Trashion Show and performances by Gaping Maw Freakshow and Disco Goddess. 271 Haywood St. Saturday, Oct. 27, 8:30 p.m.-2 a.m. $12. slygrog.wordpress.com
• Those who want to delve into their witchy roots can join Rebecca Beyer of Blood and Spicebush at Asheville Raven & Crone for Herblore of Samhain. Learn about the Pagan seasonal festival behind Halloween and “what plants and trees the old ones used to celebrate this auspicious day,” according to the event invite. 555 Merrimon Ave. Sunday, Oct. 28, 3-5 p.m. $10-$25 suggested donation. bloodandspicebush.com
• The Crow & Quill hosts five nights of Halloween-themed events, but one that stands out — especially for connoisseurs of the early days of horror films — is Silent Horror Movie Score. Local jazz musicians Andrew Fletcher and Drayton Aldridge will improvise a live score to the 1922 Swedish-Danish silent horror film Haxen, which is “all about witchcraft,” says a press release, “and these talented musicians will surely bewitch you with their haunting soundscapes.” 106 N. Lexington Ave. Monday, Oct. 29, 9 p.m. $5. thecrowandquill.com
• Haunted Asheville’s Fun Depot Halloween event offers laser tag and mini-golf with haunted twists, “where you can fight back,” as the event invite explains. There will also be costume contests for both children and adults. 7 Roberts Road. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 4-9 p.m. ashevillesfundepot.com
• For the 11th consecutive year, The Grove House hosts its three-story Haunted Grove House Inferno. Three dance floors, four DJs, five bars, themed areas decorated to represent Dante’s nine circles of hell and a $1,000 prize for the best costume are just part of the offerings. 11 Grove St. Saturday, Oct. 27, 9 p.m. $20 advance/$25 at the door. thegrovehouse.com
• If great literature is what you’re after, drop by Malaprop’s annual Frankenreads for a dramatic recitation of Mary Shelley’s classic, Frankenstein, and Halloween treats. 55 Haywood St. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 6-7 p.m. malaprops.com
• Vampire hillbilly showman Unknown Hinson is much like the title of his latest album, Live and Undead. He returns to The Grey Eagle for Unknown Hinson’s Halloween Extravaganza. As his bio says, “Raucous, theatrical and over the top, Unknown Hinson isn’t just for the trailer park set anymore.” 185 Clingman Ave. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 9 p.m. $20-25. thegreyeagle.com
• If planning a costume for Halloween means making sure said get-up is fully danceable, stop by Isis Music Hall for Empire Strikes Brass’ funk-infused Halloween celebration, Night of the Living Disco. 743 Haywood Road. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 9 p.m. $15. isisasheville.com
• The event invite for Fleetwood’s Halloween show featuring Nest Egg, David Nance Band, Secret Shame and DJ Mr. E promises a coffin will be present for perfect costumed selfies. 496 Haywood Road. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 8 p.m.-midnight. $7. fleetwoodsonhaywood.com
• HEX X holds a Freaky Dance Party to benefit the Southside Community Garden. The garden, at the Edington Center, “is a thriving space that cultivates healing, restoring and reclaiming community through various forms of black culture, creativity, arts and agriculture,” according to the Facebook page. The supportive Halloween fete promises sets by DJs Mallinali, Ganymede and Lex and takes place at The Mothlight, 701 Haywood Road. Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8 p.m. “Dress up if you want, get spooky y’all,” say organizers. $5 suggested donation. avl.mx/5d4
• And now for a completely different way to commune with the ghouls: Lakeview Putt and Play offers Lights Off-Monsters Out play-in-the-dark mini-golf. More than “48 virtual reality games, including many exclusive Halloween editions, will be available for play for just $18 for a 40-minute session,” says the company. Reservations are recommended for the special event. 2245 Hendersonville Road, Arden. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 27, 9-11 p.m. lakeviewputtandplay.com
• “It’s the most incredible, visually stunning, bass-pounding Halloween experience around,” says Sister Wilma Holeburn of the Beer City Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence — a group dedicated to, among other noble causes, universal joy, diversity, social awareness, the prevention of all sexually transmitted diseases and total eradication of hate. “PURGATORY is a dance party unlike anything Asheville has ever seen.” The party, held at The Underground at O. Henry’s, serves up “stunning visuals, special lighting, heart-stopping bass and music, and photo opportunities with the ‘Seven Deadly Sins.’ … Costumes are optional or come dressed as your inner sinner, demon or angel. No masks please.” All profits benefit the advocacy fund of the Beer City Sisters. 237 Haywood St. Friday, Oct. 26, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. $10 suggested donation. beercitysisters.org