We're nearing Halloween, the witching hour of the year, and Asheville is rising to the challenge with a plethora of activities, events, and more to make your celebration memorable. Asheville Grit is counting down the days to All Hallows Eve, and we've found a whole slew of things to do to get you properly in the spirit of the season (mwahahaha). Follow along with this list to plan out your best October ever. We've separated the list into ongoing opportunities (seasonal and year-round) and individual events. Come along with us into the darkness, children.
ONGOING EVENTS & ACTIVITIES
Dark Ride Tours
Asheville's haunted hearse tour offers two journeys into the night: the Spirits on the River Ghost Tour and the Haunted Graveyard Tour. Each tour lasts approximately an hour. On our Haunted Graveyard Tour, we rode in style with our skeletal driver through Riverside Cemetery and got out for a sunset stop by a storied crypt. The 1972 Cadillac hearse is outfitted with plush seating, velvet trimmings, and a large screen that allows you to see outside when on the move (hearses are roomy, but corpses didn't really need to see out the window). Tours are led by the erudite and possibly undead Virgil Nightshade, who wears his bone-embellished top hat with dark Victorian flair.
Some genuinely scary moments, including a bit of back door rattlin' from some hideous entity outside, added to the experience of this lore-filled tour. Pickup and drop-off is at the Conundrum, an escape room and speakeasy absinthe bar by the Grove Arcade. Enjoy a tipple using the secret password provided to tour participants before or after your ride.
Two special Halloween tours are now listed on the website. $28.50 per person.
Asheville's Escape Rooms
Speaking of the Conundrum, Asheville has quite a few escape rooms these days, and all have a very different feel. For the speakeasy / 1920s vibe, Conundrum is a great bet. Or perhaps you'd prefer the creepy sterility of Breakout, Asheville's first escape room. On our recent visit to Breakout, we were kidnapped and had to try to escape by solving a series of puzzles, many of which included body parts in jars (ooooooOOOOoooo). Participants get a limited amount of time to solve their puzzle before they are doomed (or, ya know, let out of the room). With multiple scenarios to choose from, there are plenty of ways to try not to perish. These challenges are best solved by teamwork, so get a good group together and make an evening of it. Fans of puzzle games like Myst will be especially pleased. Conundrum: $25/person; Breakout: $25.99/person (10% off available on weekdays).
LaZoom's Haunted Tours
The perpetually popular folks at LaZoom do a great comedic haunted tour that takes you through the night on their famed purple bus. Right now, their year-round Haunted Comedy Tour, which lampoons Asheville history and personalities with ghostly flair, is getting a retro update with the Classic Monster Ball edition. This hour-long tour features classic horror movies and their monsters. Tours end with a Monster Ball at the LaZoom Room on Biltmore Ave., and participants are encouraged to dress up as their favorite movie monster. Those who really get in the costumed spirit will get $10 to spend at the Ball for themselves, and perhaps any supernatural swingers who've decided to join them. $23 adults; $22 locals and seniors.
The Haunted Farm
Fans of this haunted house-style experience in Hendersonville give it rave reviews every year for actually being scary. This year, they've added a new 3,200-square-foot building to their complex, where guests will enter "The Depths of Terror" in their "It Came From Beneath" experience that lasts 50 minutes. Dress for the weather; tours are mostly covered but are open-air. $25 General Admission; $3 parking.
ONE-TIME EVENTS & ACTIVITIES
October Thrills @ Grail Moviehouse (The Exorcist, Destiny, and Halloween)
Still one of the scariest horror movies ever made, The Exorcist returns to the big screen at Grail in an event hosted by the Asheville Film Society. Come back to Grail on October 24 for Fritz Lang's Destiny, and on Halloween for Halloween. Films start at 7:30 pm. Tuesdays in October (10/17, 10/24, 10/31)
Spoiler Alert: Terror Is a Man @ Habitat Tavern and Commons
On Thursday, 10/19, join three comedians and host James Harrod for a live MST3K-style send-up of cheesey, B-movie goodness. The feature film of the evening is Terror Is a Man (1959), which tells the stirring story of a mad scientist who transforms a panther into a man-like creature that escapes and goes on a murderous rampage. $5 entry includes popcorn. 10/19
Super Happy Radio Hour: The Very Spooky Halloween Show @ Magnetic Theatre
Join the SHRH crew for their first ever Halloween spooktacular show. Happening at the Magnetic Theatre, it's an evening of wild (and possibly very bloody) fun that begins at 7:30 pm. $8, 10/22
HEX Asheville @ the Mothlight
This evening benefits CIMA (Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción). Costumes enouraged. Photo booth, tarot readings, DJ sets from DJ Honey, DJ Heavy Charms, and DJ Lil Meow Meow, live hip-hop set from A MAC. The evening starts at 8 pm. 10/27
Haunted High @ Asheville High School
This is the fourth year of this haunted house fundraiser for the Asheville High School Band Association, which takes places in the halls and classrooms of the historic Asheville High School building. This year, the event, which is planned by the AHS band students, features zombies and other classic horror movie monsters and nods in a big way to It. Tickets are $10 and available at the door. 10/27 10-midnight & 10/28 8-midnight
103.3 Asheville FM Party @ Buxton Hall
Asheville's favorite community-run radio station hosts their annual Fall Fund Drive kickoff party at Buxton Hall on Saturday, October 28. Come costumed and dance the night away starting at 10 pm, all while supporting Asheville FM. 10/28
Villains III: The Halloween Party @ Asheville Music Hall
The third iteration of this party features tunes to get your monster mash on to from Marley Carroll, In Plain Sight, and Ramin Neshan. $5 suggested donation; villainous costumes obviously encouraged. 10 pm - 2 am. 10/28
Sirius.B and Jeff Thompson's What Four Costume Party @ The Bywater
Your "most ridiculous costumes" are encouraged for a night of revelry at the Bywater with eight-piece musical group Sirius.B ("absurdist gypsy folk punk"), who will be joined by the What Four with Jeff Thompson. 8-11 pm. 10/28
5th Annual Twerk or Treat Dance Party @ The Brew Pump
In case you were wondering, this is one of the best (and definitely the most unexpected) dance party in town. DJs, beer specials, El Kimchi and Happy Lucky Food Truck on site. Don't worry: They turn the pumps off. There's another chance to dance on Halloween night, so get a preview here. 10/28
Halloweekend @ Ole Shakey's
Starting on the Saturday before Halloween, your favorite riverside dive hosts a haunted house/freaky tiki/Saturday Night Fever dance party and a Sunday chili cookoff (tickets are $3, no pre-registration required to participate). 10/28-29
Free Halloween Movie Night: Hocus Pocus and Shaun of the Dead @ The Orange Peel
Popcorn, candy, and more at this free evening of horror comedy the night before Halloween. Age range restricted by film ratings. Hocus Pocus begins at 6 pm, Shaun of the Dead begins at 8 pm. 10/30
Future Soul @ Habitat Tavern and Brewing
Members of neo-soul groups Triptych Soul, Window Cat, and Sister Ivy will join forces for a unique collaborative evening on Halloween at this brewery and gathering spot. Free parking behind the building; starts at 8 pm. 10/31
Vermont Avenue Halloween
Streets will be closed from 5:30 to 9:30 pm for this long-running trick 'r' treat extravaganza in West Asheville, which receives up to 2,000 kids (and older kids) dressed in their Halloween best. Make a candy donation at Sunny Point Cafe and help them out, and find a friend on the street to hang out with so you can enjoy the passers-by! 10/31
Halloween Hullabaloo @ the Brew Pump
West Asheville's favorite party is back. The center of it all is the Brew Pump, where you can shake your money-maker in your best costume to tunes through the night. Food available from Deli Llammma Food Truck and the Purple People Feeder. 6-10 pm. 10/31
Oh the Horror! Burlesque @ Sly Grog
Sly Grog recently reopened in its brand-spankin'-new location on Haywood St., and y'all: It's awesome. Join them on Halloween for a horrifying "Bloody Burlesque" show, plus clown bondage and DJ Grave Rose. Starts at 9 pm. 10/31
Halloween Dance Parties
As of right now, Lazy Diamond and Fleetwood's are hosting dance parties on Halloween itself. DJ Dr. Filth will hold down the tunes at Lazy Diamond (10 pm). Fleetwood's will feature a live set from Resse McHenry & the Fox, folllwed by a set from DJ Greg Cartwright (8 pm start). 10/31
Did we miss an event you're excited about? Let us know!