How to maximize the scares this October.
The leaves are turning, the temperature is dropping, and nearly everything is becoming pumpkin-spiced. What does it mean? All Hallows’ Month is upon us! Since we don’t want you to miss out on any spooky fun, we’ve compiled the best parties, films, festivals, concerts, and activities happening throughout October.
With the 31st landing on a Saturday this year, party-goers can capitalize on a weekend full of celebrations. If you’re looking to hang out with some of the best costumed folks in the city, Rue Morgue’s Something Wicked This Way Comes party at the Opera House is the place to be on October 30th. Their cosplay and fetish-themed sister party, Subspace’s Zombies vs. Zombie Slayers takes over the very next night. Liberty Grand is the host of another double-header, with their Monster Mash DJ dance party. Prefer to live in the past? Check out Boom 97.3’s Totally 80s Halloween Costume Party, or get all dolled up for the Zombie Prom. For those who don’t want to commit to just one venue, join the Zombie Crawl through a selection of bars (you won’t worry how awful your makeup will look at the end of the night), or take a stroll up Church Street.
For the purists who don’t see Halloween as just one night of drunkenness, there are plenty of events throughout the month that celebrate the darker side of life. Horror-Rama takes over the Hyatt Regency on October 17th and 18th, honouring the genre film world with panels, parties, and screenings. If you’re the hands-on type (and don’t mind road trips), prepare for the apocalypse at Zombie Survival Camp in Orillia, from October 16th to 18th. Back downtown, the Night of Dread encourages attendees to express their deepest fears in art form and parade them through the streets on October 24th. Both the ROM and Artscape Wychwood Barns get into Mexican custom with the #FNLROM: Day of the Dead party on October 30th, and the Celebración Del Dia De Los Muertos festival on Oct 31st, respectively.
While Toronto has plenty of spots that are haunted all year round, there’s something about visiting them in the Fall that is infinitely more exciting. Catch a variety of creepy walking tours through Muddy York, and the Haunted Walk. Learn about the morbid histories of the Exhibition Grounds, and High Park, or make things even more interesting with a Fact or Fiction Ghost Tour, or the Haunted Toronto Scavenger Hunt. If you dare, go on a chilling tour of the Necropolis Cemetery, or participate in a Spirit Walk. In the mood for not-so-real spectres? Check out Screemers, or Wonderland’s Halloween Haunt, every weekend in October.
For you indoor recess types, there are plenty of movie theatres getting into the spirit of the season. The Toronto After Dark Film Festival brings up-and-coming scary and sci-fi movies to our screens between October 15th and 23rd, while TIFF goes Gothic with their Dark Heart of Film lineup. Among others, The MUFF Society presents of the Canadian werewolf thriller Ginger Snaps on October 14th; Rue Morgue’s Cinemacabre goes old school on October 22nd with Return of the Living Dead; KITCH presents The Rocky Horror Picture Show with shadow cast on the 28th; and the Carlton presents a double feature of Nosferatu, and The Satanic Rites of Dracula on Halloween night.
While horror movies are a Halloween staple, there are plenty of other “dark arts” to participate in, and not all of them involve scooping pumpkin guts. Rummage for creepy jewelry, clothing, and crafts at the annual Bazaar of the Bizarre on Oct 12th. Three fierce artists—Paige Reynolds, Sara Deck, and Suspiria—pay tribute to powerful females in genre films with their Horror Queens Art Show, which runs from October 17th to 19th. Pulses will be quickened on October 17th as Naked Girls Reading gets into the Halloween mood with their Worst Nightmares event. Fabio Frizzi brings his Fulci film scores to the Opera House on October 8th, and Halloween night sees the horror-punk band The Brains take the stage at the Horseshoe, while the TSO plays a live soundtrack to Psycho at Roy Thomson Hall. Just because the calendar page gets flipped, doesn’t mean the festivities have to end—round out the season with a walk through Sorauren Park to admire some crafty carving at the Pumpkin Parade on November 1st.