What to Do in Toronto for Halloween Month 2016
Helping you keep things spooky all throughout October.
There’s a certain chill in the air, everyone has caught playoff baseball fever, and rogue clowns are terrorizing the masses—it must be October! Since we believe that Halloween can’t be contained to just one day, we’ve gathered all the ghastliest events to help you make the most of this spirited season.
While horror fans don’t limit their scares to one month a year, October is when the screams get turned up to 11. Hardcore fans will want to attend the third annual Horror-Rama convention from October 15 to 16 at the Hyatt Regency where they’ll be will met with panels, screenings, guest appearances, and parties. If you prefer dark spaces to well-lit convention halls, take refuge at the Scotiabank Theatre during Toronto After Dark Film Festival, which kicks off nine days of horror, cult, sci-fi, and action flicks on October 13.
Cinemas across the city are also taking full advantage of the season by providing a healthy roster of classic and rare fright films on the big screen. Carlton Cinema pairs up with Muskoka Brewery for an extra-sudsy screening of Cabin in the Woods on October 19 before hosting Buckets of Bloodtober on October 21, featuring films created for the 50 Hour Film Competition. A screening of the Canadian-made Pontypool follows on the 28th. Relive your childhood at the Are You Afraid of the Dark Marathon at D-Beatstro on October 25, or delve into vintage pieces with Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages at the Revue on October 23 and The Man Who Laughs at the Fox on October 30.
This year the Royal Cinema is—for lack of a better term—“killing it” with their programming, which includes Carnival of Souls with a live score (October 26), Phantom of the Paradise (October 29), Beetlejuice (October 30), Little Shop of Horrors (October 30), and The Haunting (October 31). Imagine Cinemas Market Square (formerly Rainbow) is also tapping into the horror vein with their Carrie screening and prom party on October 21 and their presentations of Night of the Creeps (October 28), Night of the Living Dead (October 29), and The Exorcist (October 31). Too busy to catch them all? Make up for it during the Toronto Indie Horror Fest at D-Beatstro from November 9 to 12.
Of course, there are plenty of creepy things to be found outside of the darkened theatre. Drummer and designer Stu Dead opens his Playdead 906 art show at Nuvango on October 13, paying tribute to the bands that have influenced his pieces over the past 17 years. Local bellydancers will be snaking their arms to spooky tunes at the Dragonfly Bellydance Halloween Hafla performance on October 16, while City Dance Corps invites you to put on your dancing shoes and learn the iconic “Thriller” choreography. On the other hand, less-coordinated folks will find solace with the undead as they shuffle their way through the St. Clair West Zombie Walk on October 29. Looking for some spine-tingling tunes to set the mood? Check out the Viva Los Muertos party at Bovine Sex Club on October 21, the Halloween Massacre with Sheer Terror and The Matadors at Hard Luck Bar on October 29, Dwayne Gretzky’s Halloween at Horseshoe Tavern on October 31, or Phantoms of the Organ at Metropolitan Church on October 28. Got some knife-wielding skills? Get your jack-o-lantern on and then set it adrift as part of the Twilight Pumpkin Float in High Park on October 30.
We would be remiss to put together a list of spooky things to do around town without including a few real haunts. Learn more about the dark and depraved history of the city you thought you knew with a variety of ghost walks with Muddy York Walking Tours, The Tour Guys, and the Haunted Walk. More site-specific walks can also be found at the Exhibition Grounds, High Park, Fort York, and Mackenzie House. Want a bit more fiction in your fear? Check out Legends of Horror at Casa Loma, Screemers in the Queen Elizabeth building, or head north to Halloween Haunt at Canada’s Wonderland.
Have little ones who want to join the festivities? There are plenty of family-friendly events that go easy on the scares while keeping with the spirit of the season. Boo! At the Barns features a haunted house, dance party, costume swap, and face painting, while the Howling Hootenanny at Black Creek Pioneer Village boasts pumpkin decorating, performances, creepy creatures, and a haunted maze. Make masks and lanterns and learn about historic Halloween traditions at Todmorden Mills, or visit the ghosts in High Park and take part in Victorian funeral traditions inside Colborne Lodge. The tots can also trick-or-treat through animal habitats with Boo at the Zoo, or participate in a variety of crafts and activities at Pumpkinfest in the Junction.
If you’re not really into the lead-up activities but looking for somewhere to party in the name of Halloween, we’ve got you covered there, too. October 15 brings us both a Craft-themed dance party at StudioBar, and A Victorian Horror Costume Rave at Nocturne. Hallo-weekend is packed with celebrations like the Day of the Dead festival at Rockpile, Night of Dread at Dufferin Grove Park, the Nightmare Before Halloween Tim Burton Extravaganza at Gladstone, and the Vintage Spook-tacular Dance at the Great Hall. Get freaky with the Subspace Helloween Fetish Ball at Opera House, or go retro with the Stranger Things dance party at Velvet Underground. October 31 brings more parties with the the Halloween Freakshow at Rockpile, and Darko Halloween at Nocturne.
After a long and exhausting month, wrap things up with a casual stroll through Sorauren Park to see the fruits of your neighbours’ labours at the Pumpkin Parade.
Whatever you do, have a safe and happy Halloween!