Scary good: Halloween happenings in and around Asheville

Spooks and spokes: Wear a bike-friendly costume and join Asheville on Bikes' annual Pumpkin Pedaller this Halloween season. Photo courtesy of Asheville on Bikes

Tricks, treats, haunted high schools, macabre masquerades, terrifying bike tours, frightening feasts, daring dance parties and maudlin makeout sessions: Xpress has hunted down the thrills and chills in and around Asheville. For more Halloween events, visit Clubland, Calendar and

• The Asheville Affiliates hosts a costume party at The Odditorium on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 6-9 p.m. “The event features music, light appetizers, drinks and Halloween-themed cocktails (available for purchase) and a costume contest starting at 8 p.m.,” says an invitation. Prizes go to best overall costume, scariest, sexiest and funniest. $10 cover benefits the Asheville Affiliates.

Beats Antique performs at Creature Carnival on Thursday, Oct. 30. Photo courtesy of the band
Beats Antique performs at Creature Carnival on Thursday, Oct. 30. Photo courtesy of the band

• Looking for a whole lot of spectacle (plus an early start) when it comes to Halloween revelry? Creature Carnival at the U.S. Cellular Center on Thursday, Oct. 30, promises both. “For the first time ever, world-renowned dancetronica trio Beats Antique have called upon a select group of like-minded artists,” says a press release for the show, which includes Simon Posford (Shpongle), Emancipator and singer/emcee Lafa Taylor for “breathtaking performances, improvisational serendipity, audience participation, and tons more surprises to come.” 8 p.m. $44.87 includes fees.

• Head to Maggie Valley for Cherokee Haunted Adventures’ three spooky destinations. The Little Dorm of Horrors “is filled with creatures from your worst nightmare, and they’re all waiting to catch you as you enter their habitat”; the outdoor Mountainside Theatre becomes the Haunted Theatre filled with restless souls and macabre drama; and at the Oconaluftee Indian Village, brave visitors can embark on the Myths and Legends Ghost Walk. All attractions are open through Saturday, Nov. 1, starting at 7 p.m. $10 per haunted site/$18 for two/$25 for all three.

ADVENTUROUS SPIRITS: Spearfinger is a creepy character from the Haunted Adventures in Cherokee, open through Saturday, Nov. 1. Image courtesy of the Cherokee Historical Association
ADVENTUROUS SPIRITS: Spearfinger is a creepy character from the Haunted Adventures in Cherokee, open through Saturday, Nov. 1. Image courtesy of the Cherokee Historical Association

• The Pisgah View Apartments Community Garden is serving up a Halloween feast. The menu includes witches hair (sautéed fall greens), zombie fingers (turkey-bacon-wrapped okra), grim reaper pie (sweet-potato pie) and zombie blood (apple, carrot and beet juice). Join the festivities — there will also be face painting, drumming and pumpkin carving — on Friday, Oct. 31, 4-6 p.m. Info at

• What’s scarier than ghosts and goblins? How about snogging strangers in a public place? And if that sounds more appealing than appalling, MG Road has the party for you: MG’s Monster Makeout Dance Party. “Relish the hormone-charged glory of those teen years, minus the crippling angst and anxiety that accompanied it,” says a press release. “And unlike the middle school dance parties of the past, you can count on every fifth song being a slow song, and there won’t be any pesky chaperones to keep things from going too far.” Pat Hinson (aka DJ Teen Wolfson) spins, plus there’s a costume contest and a photo kissing booth. Friday, Oct. 31, 5:30 p.m.-2 a.m. No cover.

• Conceptual performance The Last Picture Show is described as “a sonic visual interplay to help build a culture and a community celebrating dying to live.” The three suites of the live performance art show are created to explore “death and living, transcending emptiness, loss of meaning and materialism of our time that are the offspring of lost contact with traditions and ancestors.” Visual artists and musicians Said Osio, Greg Lathrop, Jason Hebal, Kara Smith, Aditi Sethi-Brown, Jay Brown and Aqteshna Ana combine their works for a multisensory experience produced and directed by The event takes place at the Masonic Temple, on Friday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. $10 advance/$15 at the door.

The Budos Band returns to The Grey Eagle for a Halloween show. Photo by Justin Borucki
The Budos Band returns to The Grey Eagle for a Halloween show. Photo by Justin Borucki

• Dance until you drop at An Asheville Halloween Masquerade. The show, at New Mountain, includes DJ sets by Marley Carroll, In Plain Sight, KRI, Disc-oh!, Rims & Keys, Medisin, BomBassic, Brett Rock, Selector Cleofus, Ben Hovey, Ebb and Flow Project, SpaghettiMan, red.tree and DJ Arun. Friday, Oct. 31, at 8:30 p.m. $15 advance/$20 at the door.

FACE OFF: Although the Ivory Coast doesn't specifically celebrate Halloween, local Afropop outfit Zansa holds its Festival of Masks at Isis Restaurant & Music Hall. Photo courtesy of the band
FACE OFF: Although the Ivory Coast doesn’t specifically celebrate Halloween, local Afropop outfit Zansa holds its Festival of Masks at Isis Restaurant & Music Hall. Photo courtesy of the band

• “While West Africa does not celebrate Halloween in the traditional sense, the evening is inspired by the Festival of Masks (Fêtes des Masques) that happens … in Ivory Coast,” says a press release for Zansa‘s show at Isis Restaurant & Music Hall. “There are many types of masked dances in Ivory Coast, and this festival brings different villages together to compete for best masked dance. Senufo masks, for example, feature animal and human elements in a single design. They are said to aid communication between living and dead ancestors, and are used to pay homage to the spirit world.” Wear a costume and mask inspired by the theme — there will be a best mask contest. Roots-reggae outfit Bruckshot opens the evening. Friday, Oct. 31, at 9 p.m. $10 advance/$15 day of show.

• The always-spooky Budos Band returns to The Grey Eagle for a Halloween show. The Staten Island-based collective got its start on Daptone Records, working with that label’s mastermind, Gabriel Roth. But the Budos’ newest effort, Burnt Offering, moves away from the band’s previous three recordings. Absent is Roth as co-producer, and the new sound is “fuzzy, buzzy and raw, and more obviously psychedelic,” according to drummer Brian Profilio. Electric Citizen opens on Friday, Oct. 31, at 9 p.m. $20 advance/$25 day of show.

• Declaring itself the premier Halloween party destination for this year, Nightbell offers a Masquerade Gala where revelers can “frisk and frolic with Asheville’s wild and beautiful creatures of the night in a decadent nocturnal cocktail bar.” There will be a DJ, tarot card readings, a magician and an award for best costume. Friday, Oct. 31, at 9 p.m. $68 per person (includes two beverages)/$98 VIP.

• Halloween gets cerebral at The Orange Peel. “Nature casts blueprints for transition that resemble reinvention. … Nestled in the depths of metamorphosis lie dormant cells with an ancient memory of the future embedded within,” says the bio for headliners Papadosio. The local quintet melds prog, electronic, psychedelic and jam for a heady amalgamation of its own design. Ghost Owl and Asian Teacher Factory round out the lineup. Friday, Oct. 31, at 9 p.m. $17 advance/$20 day of show.

Short Street Cakes hosts its annual Dias De Los Muertos altar. Photo from
Short Street Cakes hosts its annual Dias De Los Muertos altar. Photo from

• Seasonal parties at the Grove House complex are near-legendary, and the Haunted Grove House Inferno is sure to fit the bill. “This year will be the most frightening and fun to date,” promises the Facebook invite. “You’ll be terrified by monsters lurking around every corner … beware as you walk through each themed area dripping with creepy décor.” The venue’s three levels (Club Eleven, Scandals and The Boiler Room), themed after Dante’s nine circles of hell, include three dance floors, four bars and eight DJs as well as costume contests with cash prizes. Friday, Oct. 31, and Saturday, Nov. 1, 9 p.m.-3 a.m. $25 per night.

• Local electronic project Aligning Minds has been hosting its month-long WAVEFORMS 2.0 residency — a series focused on top-notch production, innovative aesthetics and forward-thinking music — at Asheville Music Hall. The Halloween show features the Artikal Records tour with J:Kenzo, TMSV, Thelem and Eshom, along with the two producers behind Aligning Minds. Friday, Oct. 31, at 10 p.m. $15 advance/$18 day of show.

• Kids and adults alike can celebrate the holiday along with Urban Orchard’s one-year anniversary at a Halloween party in the cider maker’s tasting room on Haywood Road. The event is family friendly 5-8 p.m. with face painting, bobbing for apples, live music and, of course, cider. After 8 p.m., it’s for adults only. Friday, Oct. 31. Admission is free.

• “And you thought your high school was scary …” reads the flier for Asheville Haunted High. The local high school’s marching band hosts this spooky tour on Friday, Oct. 31, 10 p.m.-midnight, and Saturday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m.-midnight. $10 superscary/$5 kid friendly. Buy advance tickets at

Photo courtesy of Asheville on Bikes
Photo courtesy of Asheville on Bikes

• The Pumpkin Pedaller returns on Saturday, Nov. 1. “The nine-mile ride meanders through North Asheville, climbs Sunset Trail and circles Montford before culminating at The Wedge Brewing Co.’s post-ride celebration,” says a press release for the free, open-to-the-public bike ride hosted by Asheville on Bikes. A route map is available at local bike shops for cyclists who want a preview. Meet at City Hall at 2:30 p.m.; the ride leaves at 3 p.m. Claude Coleman Jr. (formerly of Ween) performs at the Wedge Brewery after-party, 6-8 p.m. There will also be a costume contest with prizes.

• Honor the dead at the annual Dia de los Muertos celebration, held at Mayfel’s. Dozens of artists have contributed to an interactive art altar. Attendees should bring a votive candle and an offering to be placed on the altar — offerings of all forms are encouraged, says the Facebook invite. The celebration begins on Saturday, Nov. 1, at 5 p.m. in Mayfel’s courtyard “and will open up to the entire restaurant later in the evening with a DJ spinning records to delight … the spirits and keep you dancing, starting at 10:30 p.m.”

Short Street Cakes pays a sweet homage to the dearly departed while raising money to support immigrants rights with its annual Dia de los Muertos Mexican Sugar Skull Fundraiser, which is ongoing daily through Sunday, Nov. 2. Blank and decorated sugar skulls are $5 each with half the proceeds benefitting the Coalicion de Organizaciones de Latino-Americanos. The shop offers a decorating station “stocked with icings, sequins, foil and glitter for individuals and families to decorate skulls as gifts to their friends and families or in remembrance of their loved ones,” says a press release. Halloween-themed cupcakes are also available.

MG Road hosts a Monster Makeout Dance Party.
MG Road hosts a Monster Makeout Dance Party.

• Youth OUTright hosts a masquerade for LGBTQ youths and their allies (ages 14-23) at UNC-Asheville’s Highsmith Union, Alumni Hall. A press release says that costumes are not required, “but feel free to be imaginative.” Expect dancing, mask-making, a selfie booth and nonalcoholic refreshments. The event is open to high school and college students as well as locals and non-locals. Saturday, Nov. 1, 8-11 p.m. Suggested donation is $5, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

• Multiverse Asheville hosts a Time Travelers’ Masquerade at Asheville Music Hall. The party includes music from Victorian chamber-metal act Valentine Wolfe, fairy-freak-folk-rockers brief Awakening and electro-swing DJ Vourteque. “Don your finest finery (Victorian or otherwise; time travelers have seen it all), and ring in the time change with the geekiest costume ball in town,” says the Facebook invite. Saturday, Nov. 1, at 9 p.m. $10 advance/$15 day or show.

Click here for additional Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos events in the Asheville area.


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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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