Halloween off the Beaten Path

Unique events demonstrate diversity of area holiday offerings

It’s that time of the year when things get spooky and people dress in costumes to welcome Halloween. It’s also a time when events and places get decked out for the holiday and greet their visitors with frightening delight! Here are some that are available in the Carolinas.

October 19-27
Concord’s Spooky Seas
Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
Concord Mills Mall
8111 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord
Hours vary

Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium takes Halloween to new depths every weekend through All Hallows’ Eve with a variety of themed activities and new programs for all ages.

Saturday and Sunday afternoons see kid-friendly attractions added to the 26,000-square-foot indoor aquarium’s year-round offerings. From 12-4 p.m. families can explore the Creepy Craft Zone, have their faces painted for a whimsical (or creepy) makeover and even catch the Underwater Pumpkin Carving Dive Show organizers hope will prove an impressive spectacle for those traditionalists who have only ever known jack-o-lanterns to exist on solid ground.

After hours, Sea Life transforms itself into the ocean floor, remaining open an hour beyond its normal closing time for the inaugural year of its Spooky Seas Flashlight Tour.

- - - advertisement - - -

Exploring the aquarium in darkness, guests can view the facility’s bioluminescent wonders in a whole new light (so to speak). At the same time, they’ll attempt to solve the mystery of the vanished research vessel “Merlin,” last seen just after reporting an encounter with an unknown creature of the deep.

Daytime events are included with Sea Life standard admission. Online advance purchase prices with guaranteed admission are $15.95 for adults and $10.95 for children ages 3-12 and seniors 60+, a discount of 25 percent off walk-up prices. Kids 2 and younger are admitted free.

Spooky Seas Flashlight Tour tickets are $16 online. Advance purchase is suggested in order to guarantee admission, as each tour — Fridays at 8, 8:15 and 8:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 9:15 and 9:30p.m. — is limited to 25 participants. However, a $5 discount on walk-up admission is offered for guests who arrive in costume. Those booking in advance are, of course, invited to dress up as well.

info: visitsealife.org/charlotte-concord.

October 31
Charming Disaster in Concert
Common Grounds
602 S. Elam Ave., Greensboro
7-10 p.m.

A Halloween-night event with an indie twist, the Brooklyn-based duo Charming Disaster — self-described folk-noir enthusiasts specializing in, as they put it, “playfully macabre duets about love, death, crime, ancient mythology, and the supernatural” — appears at Greensboro’s Common Grounds coffee shop and performance venue, following a semi-underground show in a to-be-announced secret location in the city the previous night.

Charming Disaster, founded in 2012 and composed of vocalists and musicians Ellia Bisker (ukulele) and Jeff Morris (guitar), has developed a cult following for its tragicomic homage to heroes Tim Burton, Edward Gorey and Raymond Chandler, among others. The pair’s current tour promotes the newly-released single “Be My Bride of Frankenstein” and includes a stay in Raleigh Nov. 1-2.

Bisker and Morris share billing on Halloween with local artists The Rinaldis, based in Greensboro, and The Lady Comes First, who call Charlotte home.

Attendees are enthusiastically encouraged to don costumes for the event. Doors open at 8 p.m. with a cover charge of $5.

info: bit.ly/charminghalloween.

October 19-27
‘The 13th Acre’
3718 Plyler Mill Rd., Monroe
Sundown-11:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Not only are patrons strongly discouraged from bringing children along on this trek through haunted woods; they’re forbidden from carrying flashlights as well. The course and characters are redesigned every year to keep veteran explorers on their toes. In short, this is a company that takes its scares seriously. Regular tickets are $13 and sold no later than 11 p.m. $20 buys admission to both the 13th Acre and the significantly less intense Aw Shucks Farms nearby.
info: the13thacre.com.

- - - advertisement - - -

October 19-28
‘The Glow: A Jack O’Lantern Experience’
Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway
7301 Bruton Smith Blvd., Concord
7-10 p.m. Thursday-Sunday
A fairground atmosphere built around thousands of expertly carved pumpkins, some masterpieces in their own right, others serving as segments of massive, gravity-defying constructions. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are time-specific, as groups are allowed to enter the third-mile trail only every 30 minutes. Tickets are $23 for adults, $17 for kids ages 3-12. Children 2 and under are admitted free.
info: theglowjackolantern.com/charlotte.

October 20
2018 BooBash
Symphony Park at SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Rd., Charlotte
5-9 p.m.
This free, family-friendly gathering on the lawn goes all out with trick-or-treating, face painting, arts and crafts, costume parades and prizes, following up the festivities with a Halloween movie screening at dusk. No advance registration required.
info: bit.ly/boobashsouthpark.

October 20
Asheville Lesbian Seniors
Halloween Dance
The Grove House
11 Grove St., Asheville
7:30-11p.m.
Wear your favorite costume or just your favorite outfit and enjoy the festivities with “outrageous decorations,” homemade Halloween treats and dance tunes by DJ Domenica (who’s taking requests by email at domenica@djdomenica.com through Oct. 14)! $10 admission includes entry to Scandals bar later in the evening.
info: contact Janet at etledder@gmail.com or 828-253-6746.

October 20
‘All Hallows’ Twirl 2018: Scarier Things’
Flight Beer Garden & Music Hall
314 N. College St., Charlotte
10:30 p.m.-2:15 a.m.
Costumes aren’t required at this blacklight dance party, but those who do come dressed in their Halloween best will be eligible to compete for a $500 cash prize. A limited number of $20 advance tickets available online until Oct. 20, after which attendees will be required to pay the $25 door charge. Ages 21+ only. ID required.
info: bit.ly/allhallowstwirl.

October 25
Miss All Hallows’ Eve Drag Pageant
Rooftop 210 @ the Epicentre
210 E. Trade St., Level 3, Charlotte
8-11p.m.
The 10th annual Miss All Hallows’ Eve Drag Pageant is on and hostess Buff Faye declares it’s open to all. $50 registration gets contestants signed up, while general admission for spectators is $10. Entertainment will include high-profile performers like Jinx Matthews, Sierra Santana, Carmen Banks and more.
info: bit.ly/missallhallows.

October 26
Trunk or Treat
Guilford Green Foundation & LGBTQ Center
1205 W. Bessemer Ave., Ste. 226, Greensboro
6-9 p.m.
This free, family-friendly event co-sponsored by Guilford Green and Youth Focus will feature carnival games, face painting, food and music along with the popular trick-or-treat alternative “trunk or treat.” An outdoor movie screening will take place at 7:30 p.m. and guests are invited to bring blankets or lawn chairs. Costumes are encouraged but not required.
info: guilfordgreenfoundation.org/events.

October 26
Silent Disco – Halloween Edition
Rooftop 210 @ the Epicentre
210 E. Trade St., Level 3, Charlotte
8 p.m.-12 a.m.
Specially designed headsets let you choose your own music from your favorite DJ. General admission is free, but advance registration is required, as there are a limited number of headsets available. $15 VIP admission guarantees a headset reserved until 9:30 p.m., along with a commemorative T-shirt and glow sticks. A costume contest promises a cash prize to the best-dressed attendee. Ages 21+.
info: bit.ly/210silentdisco.

October 27
Charlotte Symphony Halloween Spooktacular
Knight Theater
430 S. Tryon St., Charlotte
11 a.m.
The Charlotte Symphony’s pint-sized performance (as part of a series aimed at families with kids, the concert’s kept down to about an hour) boasts renditions of creepy classics from films like “Jaws” and the “Harry Potter” franchise. Doors open at 10 a.m., giving children a chance to try their hands at building instruments of their own, and even experiment with a “musical petting zoo.” Costumes are welcome. Tickets $14-$24.
info: bit.ly/symphonyhalloween. bit.ly/queencityarts.

October 27
GUTS: Creatives Carving Wishes
BB&T Ballpark
324 S. Mint St., Charlotte
2 p.m.
2018 marks a decade of friendship and philanthropy for the GUTS organization. Each year, local artists gather to produce the pumpkin carving of a lifetime, and while only one can be declared the winner, all proceeds from the event benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western North Carolina. Tickets are $10 and available for purchase online, with kids 12 and under admitted free. Those who cannot attend but wish to support the cause may make a donation through the GUTS website.
info: gutscharlotte.com.

- - - advertisement - - -