With All Hallows Eve falling on a Tuesday this time around, most of the spooky spectacle will take place on the preceding weekend. Following, find a selection of costumed capers, ghoulish gatherings and pumpkin-spiced parties. From a community-minded Dia de los Muertos observance to a pre-Halloween puppet show, there’s a celebration for nearly every reveler.
Here’s one show sure to shock. Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre, known for its annual Day of the Dead celebration, stages a new work this season. Death by Plastica is fittingly frightening, but the subject is no mere goblin or masked villain. “If we continue to pump out plastic and transport it across the globe, smothering it with exhaust, we will kill nature and ourselves, committing suicide,” says a no-words-minced press release for the show.
Death by Plastica is an artistic statement crafted to address issues of environmental destruction: “Delving into the problem of overconsumption, overproduction, and overdependence on plastic in many ways, shapes, and forms, societies’ mistakes become more apparent.” A preview of the dance theater piece — a collaboration between choreographers Susan Collard and Nelson Reyes and designers Giles Collard and Eduardo Sosa, with an original score by composer Derick Dominy — was performed as part of the Asheville Area Arts Council’s Indigo Ball. There, dancer Elizabeth Huntley swept through the room in a flowing costume fashioned from castoff grocery bags. It was simultaneously stunning and disturbing (remember the plastic-bag-filming scene from American Beauty?).
But, even as ACDT works to increase awareness around this issue, the company also aims to entertain with humor and drama. For this all-ages show, says ACDT, “expect the unexpected.” The production will be performed at BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce St., Friday, Oct. 27, and Saturday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 29, at 6 pm. $18 general/$15 students and seniors. acdt.org
For more Halloween ideas, read on, or visit Clubland, Calendar and mountainx.com.
• Asheville on Bikes’ Pumpkin Pedaller — the bicycle advocacy organization’s 10th annual costumed ride — saddles up on Saturday, Oct. 28. The route has three dynamic intersections, allowing riders to chose a distance (from about 5 miles up to 12 miles) that best suits them. Meet at New Belgium at 3 p.m.; the pedaller culminates with Halloween festivities back at the brewery. “Costumes are customary, and participants should review the route and make sure their bicycles are in good working condition and equipped with front and rear lights,” says Mike Sule of AOB. Free. ashevilleonbikes.com
• File under scary-good: “Red Honey and Plankeye Peggy are hookin’ up for a rowdy night of Quentin Tarantino-inspired tunes of surf, soul and spookiness,” says a Facebook invite for the Saturday, Oct. 28, show at The Orange Peel, 101 Biltmore Ave. Holiday Childress opens the evening, and a horn section joins the superband — going by Fox Force Jive — onstage. Costumes in the spirit of Tarantino movie characters are recommended. 9 p.m.-midnight. $8 advance/$10 day of show. theorangepeel.net
• On Halloween night proper, Tuesday, Oct. 31, the Burton Street Center at 134 Burton St. hosts a family-friendly event with food, games and music. The first 100 kids to arrive will receive “trunk o’ treat goodie bags,” according to an invite. 6-8 p.m.
• “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” enthuses show info for the Shellshock Halloween Ball at the Odditorium, 1045 Haywood Road, Saturday, Oct. 28. “Put on your spooky finery or your favorite costume and join us … for the annual ghouls, goblins and Goths Halloween ball.” DJ Deven and Queen April spin favorite goth/industrial/EBM/alternative and Halloween dance favorites. 10 p.m., $5. ashevilleodditorium.com
• “Day of the Dead is a day which celebrates the cyclical human experience as a continuum from birth to death,” says a press release for the Dia de los Muertos observance that will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at Salvage Station, 468 Riverside Drive. During the tradition, which originated in Mexico, “departed spirits are awakened from their eternal sleep and welcomed amongst their loved ones.” Festivities, presented by Hola Carolina magazine, include DJ sets, Latin dance lessons, a community art tent, Super Star Stilts stilt walkers, a performance by Danza Azteca Chichimeca and a community altar to which those in attendance can contribute flowers, food and other mementos for their honored loved ones. 5 p.m.-2 a.m. $10 adults/free for children younger than 18, who can attend until 9 p.m. salvagestation.com
• No need to wander the streets for tricks or treats — the Different Strokes! Halloween Party at Smoky Park Supper Club boathouse, 350 Riverside Drive, promises a night of fun and games, a silent auction and a chance to dress up — plus it serves as a fundraiser for the local performing arts collective’s new theater space, The DownStage. Music by Rhoda Weaver and the Soulmates and entertainment by Becky Stone are also on the docket. Saturday, Oct. 28, 6-10 p.m. $60 advance/$75 at the door. differentstrokespac.org
• Halloween is a three-day event (as it should be) at The Crow & Quill, 106 N. Lexington Ave. A pre-Halloween puppetry and music show (with Asheville Vaudeville veterans Toybox and Tiny Wonder) takes place Sunday, Oct. 29. On Monday, Oct. 30, there’s a classic silent horror film screening with musical accompaniment by Andrew Fletcher and Drayton Aldridge. And on Tuesday, Oct. 31, Plankeye Peggy sets the soundtrack for a Halloween costume party. All shows start at 9 p.m. thecrowandquill.com
• “Songs in the style of the ’50s hits keep the action rocking across the stage,” says the HART Theatre website of its current production, Zombie Prom: The Musical. The zany comedy follows Toffee, whose boyfriend rides his motorcycle to the nuclear waste dump after they break up — only to return “glowing and determined to reclaim Toffee’s heart.” Shows (suitable for all audiences) continue Thursday and Friday, Oct. 26 and 27, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 29, at 2 p.m. $19.26-$27.82.
Want more zombies? The theater holds a Zombie Prom prom with a DJ, costume contest and zombie-themed food and drink on Saturday, Oct. 28, 7-10 p.m. $25. harttheatre.org
• Sweeter than sweets, All Hallow’s Read, launched by fantasy author Neil Gaiman, is a custom of giving away scary books along with Halloween candy. Malaprop’s Bookstore carries on the tradition Tuesday, Oct. 31. From 4 to 5 p.m., stop by for a kids costume party with a scary story reading with prizes and giveaways. The cafe will offer candy corn hot chocolate and cupcakes.
Then from 7 to 8 p.m., join All Hallow’s Read Literary karaoke, where adults and young adults can share “their favorite spooky, haunted, creepy, or scary passage,” says the bookstore. “Costumes are strongly encouraged, and candy corn mocha lattes will be on the menu for one night only.” malaprops.com
• The Rainbow Community School’s Halloween Harvest Hoedown promises games, music, food and bounce houses, along with a raffle and silent auction raising funds for the nonprofit Children First/Communities in Schools, which advocates for and empowers children and families living in poverty. The hoedown, at 574 Haywood Road, is held Saturday, Oct. 28, noon-3:30 p.m. Free to attend with tickets for various activities.
Want more spooky thrills? Rainbow Community School’s haunted house is open Friday, Oct. 27, 7-9 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 28, 12:30-2:30 p.m. rainbowcommunityschool.org
• No mere Halloween fete, the festivities at Urban Orchard, 210 Haywood Road, double as a celebration of the cider company’s fourth anniversary. There will be a tarot reader on-site, a DJ Malinalli dance party at 8 p.m. and a costume contest at 11 p.m., as well as food and drink specials. The revelry, on Saturday, Oct. 28, runs noon-1 a.m. Free. urbanorchardcider.com
• “Unknown Hinson is still alive, baby, doing what I do, and I ain’t about to damn stop at all,” the infamous undead hillbilly troubadour told Xpress two years ago. “If you will be there, I will be there singin’ my guts out for you.” He renews that promise at Unknown Hinson’s Halloween Extravaganza at The Grey Eagle, 185 Clingman Ave., on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 8 p.m. Ouroboros Boys and The Unholy Trio open. $20 advance/$25 day of show. thegreyeagle.com
• Although LaZoom’s Haunted Comedy Tour runs year-round, for October it’s revamped with a classic monster ball, Asheville-style. “The typical cameos will be replaced with the monsters made famous by Universal Studios in the 1930s and 1940s,” says a press release for the hourlong, adults-only, rolling show. “Riders will be treated to Frankenstein’s Monster, Wolfman.” Movie-monster costumes are encouraged. Nightly through Tuesday, Oct. 31. Tours leave from the LaZoom Room, 76 Biltmore Ave. $23 adults/$22 locals and seniors. lazoomtours.com
• “Break out your most ridiculous costumes,” says an invite for a party at The Bywater, 796 Riverside Drive. “A bewitching night of music is upon us!” The sounds will be provided by eight-piece eclectic collective Sirius.B with Jeff Thompson’s What Four. Saturday, Oct. 28, 9 p.m. $10. bywater.bar
• The three-floor, four-DJ, five-bar Haunted Grove House Inferno returns to the Grove House Complex, 11 Grove St., on Saturday, Oct. 28. One ticket buys entry into Scandals Nightclub, Club Eleven and the Boiler Room with various themes on Dante’s nine circles of hell. 9 p.m.-3 a.m., $25
And on Tuesday, Oct. 31, the Rocky Horror Hall-A-Queen Show takes over Scandals. Doors at 10 p.m., show at 12:30 a.m. thegrovehouse.com
• “Haunted High transforms the halls of Asheville High School into the largest, creepiest, and most-terrifying haunted house in the area,” says a press release for the Asheville High School Band Association’s annual fundraiser. “Those brave enough to enter must navigate a plane crash, a haunted hospital, and a graveyard if they are to exit in one piece. Inspired by zombie movies, classic horror monsters, and this year’s sensation, Stephen King’s It, the students are working to make the fourth annual Haunted High scarier than ever.” Haunted High, at 419 McDowell St., is open Friday, Oct. 27, 10 p.m.-midnight and Saturday, Oct. 28, 8-10 p.m. $10. wordpress.ashevillehighbands.com/haunted-high