Halloween is the favorite holiday of the year for many; you’ve got candy, costumes, parties and spooky fun. But for the past few years, it sometimes feels like the month of October has been sold to the marketing department behind AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” as you can’t say “trick-or-treat” without a zombie jumping out at you from behind a bush.
Keeping that in mind, here are just a few area thrills that leave that particular subset of the undead undisturbed, yet are still worthy of any witch or ghoul.
For the family
Fewer families are canvasing neighborhoods for the homes giving out the good candy, and are relying more on church parking lot trunk-or-treat events and shopping mall candy excursions to bring a bounty of cavities to their children’s mouths. While this may fudge with traditions in some families, it also opens up the calendar for more spook-filled journeys for frights that don’t include dentist bills.
Weaver Street Market’s Stories Under the Stars, co-sponsored annually by the town of Carrboro, has become a tradition amongst the hipper families out there. Spooky music, stories and a costume contest are all in store for the youngsters, with the Century Center ready to bring the party indoors if the weather turns. 5-7:30 p.m. Friday; weaverstreetmarket.coop.
Goblin’s Groove, hosted by the Halle Cultural Arts Center in Apex, attracts the more adventurous youngsters not scared away by the words “dance contests.” Games, punch and snacks all play a part in keeping the youngsters happy. 7-9:30 p.m. Saturday; $5/parent and child, $2 each additional child; apexnc.org.
The Dog Walk Costume Parade, along with the Paws For Life 5K Road Race, is hosted by the Franklin County Humane Society and takes place on Saturday at Wake Forest College Birth Place in Wake Forest. The 5K begins at 10 a.m., followed by a 1-mile dog walk/costume parade for both participants and their dogs. This should go without saying, but if you bring your dog to a costume parade, please have them wear a costume. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday; $25 for 5K Run/Walk, $20 for 1-Mile Dog Walk/Parade; runnc.com.
Costume Skate Party offers a little lunchtime fun at Palace Pointe in Roxboro. Your kids can enjoy music, games and a junior-ghoul’s lunch while skating with their favorite characters. Noon-2 p.m. Saturday; $10 includes skate rental, hot dog, chips and drink; palacepointe.com.
Halloween Safe Night at the Museum happens at Raleigh’s N.C. Museum of History, and offers families an opportunity to search for treats as they walk through “The Story of North Carolina” exhibit. Where else can you go knowing that you will leave with pockets full of candy and a brain full of knowledge? 6-9 p.m. Monday; ncmuseumofhistory.org.
Hallow-Eno, held at West Point on the Eno, is designed for children ages 12 and younger, with an eye toward showing kids that this is the most outdoors-friendly holiday of them all. This event will feature campfire stories, hayrides and assorted games. 6-9 p.m. Monday; durhamnc.gov.
For older Halloweenies
Halloween isn’t just about kids begging for candy. Let’s not forget about those young at heart, counting down the days until they can safely wear fantastical outfits outside their homes without judgment.
Reel-ly Scary Cary Movie Series returns to Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre with a three-night run of films (Oct. 27-29) – Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” (Thursday), last year’s family film “Goosebumps” (Friday) and “The Conjuring 2” (Saturday). Pick a night and bring a blanket or lawn chair to enjoy a frightful flick under the stars after a walk through the venue’s haunted house, which is not recommended for those under 12 years of age. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the movies start at 7:30; Haunted House is open 6-10 p.m.; $10 (includes film and one trip through haunted house); boothamphitheatre.com.
Halloween Fright Night Movie Party at the N.C. Museum of Art also competes for area horror film fans’ hearts. Featuring a professional makeup workshop and portraits by visiting photographer Wes Naman, the evening includes a 9 p.m. screening of the instant cult classic vampire comedy “What We Do in the Shadows.” 6:30 p.m. Saturday; $10 for museum members, $13 for non-members; ncartmuseum.org.
Drink-or-Treat that’s what you do after a weekend where your diet consists of 95 percent corn syrup and you need to ingest something a little more malty. Trophy Brewing Company’s charity event (Maywood location) benefits Cancer for College, a college fund for cancer survivors. Enjoy eight beer samples from Trophy, treats from Daylight Donuts and Insomnia Cookies, as well as prizes for best costume inspired by a Will Ferrell character. 3-7: p.m. Sunday; $15. 919-803-1333.
Candy not included
If the idea of a weekend spent around kids gives you more heebie-jeebies than a “Friday the 13th” marathon, there are other options that may be more your speed.
The Annual Costume Ball at Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh features performances by Big Something and Zach Deputy. 9 p.m. Saturday; $15. lincolntheatre.com.
“Southern Stoner Soul Metal” more your style? The Maywood in Raleigh hosts Broadslab and death thrash metal band Datura for its Halloween show. 8 p.m. Saturday; $8 (must be 21 or over); themaywoodraleigh.com.
7 Stories is for those for whom adult-themed tales of terror make them think, “Better you than me, buddy.” The latest edition of this live storytelling series is dubbed “Food Service Tales of Terror II” – so tip the bar staff extra, or you may end up the antagonist in someone’s story next year. 7 p.m. Sunday; $5; kingsraleigh.com.