A guide to must-see local events, from parties to movies to haunted houses
A record number of Americans—171 million—are expected to celebrate Halloween this year. And they’ll spend $8.4 billion on costumes, candy, and decorations, another record, according to the National Retail Federation. The top costumes for adults this year? Batman characters, witches, animals, superheroes, and vampires. Top costumes for kids: action/superhero, princess, animal, Batman characters, and Star Wars characters.
Through Monday, the city will be celebrating Halloween with special movie festivals, ghost tours, holiday-themed comedy events, and more. But regardless of the festivities you’re planning, remember to use caution and common sense. In an email to all undergrads sent on Thursday, Kenneth Elmore (SED’87), associate provost and dean of students, and Scott Paré, BUPD acting police chief, urged students to “make plans to get home in a safe manner, stay away from people acting in a way that may harm you, be alert for scammers, thieves, and people who may try to victimize you.” They also urged students not to carry toy guns or toy weapons as part of their costume and to refrain from overindulging in drinking alcoholic beverages.
We’ve put together a list of some of the most imaginative and creative events we could find—on campus and off—to ensure you have a fun holiday. After all, as Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle once said, “Where there is no imagination, there is no horror.”
Friday, October 28
RISE of the Jack O’Lanterns
The Boston Seaport and World Trade Center will be lit this weekend by 5,000 illuminated jack-o’-lanterns, courtesy of the RISE. For the first time, the nonprofit’s Halloween extravaganza is coming to Boston. Artists spend 10 to 15 hours illustrating and carving 100-pound pumpkins into life-sized dinosaurs, characters from your favorite movies, and much more. Four carving stations allow you to watch as they transform pumpkins (real and artificial) into works of art. The jack-o’-lanterns will be arranged along a scenic walking path and paired with Halloween music for your viewing pleasure.
RISE of the Jack O’Lanterns is on view Thursday, October 27, through Sunday, October 30, from 10 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. at the Boston Seaport and World Trade Center, One Seaport Lane. Buy tickets at $16.90, first come, first served, supplies limited, here. Find directions here.
Salem Haunted Happenings
No Halloween is complete without a visit to Salem, the city best known for the 17th-century witch trials that led to the death of 20 people. Each October, an estimated 250,000 visitors descend on the city for its annual holiday celebration, Salem Haunted Happenings. There’s an old-fashioned carnival with rides, a wax museum featuring 60 life-size characters created by Hollywood professionals, a reenactment of a 1692 witch trial, a live magic show, and enough spooky walking tours to put the “haunted” in your Halloween.
Find a complete guide to this year’s Salem Haunted Happenings, October 1 to 31, here. The North Shore city of Salem is about 45 minutes from Boston. Find driving directions here and information about commuter rail service to Salem here.
12th Annual Pumpkin Drop
It’s time for one of BU’s biggest, most popular Halloween traditions: the annual pumpkin wrecking ceremony. Sponsored by the physics department, the event is held in front of the Metcalf Science Center. Not only will you get to watch students launch pumpkins filled with various substances off the building’s roof, you’ll also get to participate in science demos and a costume contest, as well as enjoy free treats. Come early to guess the weight of the largest pumpkin.
The Annual Pumpkin Drop begins at 12:30 p.m. in front of the Metcalf Science Center, 590 Commonwealth Ave. Arrive between 11:45 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. to enter the costume contest (prizes will be awarded) and guess the weight of the largest pumpkin. Free and open to BU students.
Friday Night Club—Halloween!
Here’s a chance to have fun and give back at the same time. BU Student Volunteers for Special Needs is hosting its second annual Halloween-themed Friday Night Club for those with special needs, featuring games, spooky music, and festive crafts. So if you enjoy meeting new people and working with folks with special needs in a fun, welcoming environment, head over to the GSU.
Friday Night Club—Halloween! is from 7 to 9 p.m. in the GSU Academy Room, 775 Commonwealth Ave. Free to BU students.
BU Pub Wicked Halloween Party
This event, open to all members of the BU community 21+, offers special holiday concoctions, like Dracula’s Libation (vodka, razzmatazz, lime juice, and cranberry juice) and Smashed Pumpkin (pumpkin cider and Guinness). Arrive before 9:30 p.m. to enter the costume contest. The first prize is $75 in convenience points and the second prize is $25 in convenience points. Winners will be announced at 10 p.m.
The BU Pub Wicked Halloween Party is from 7 p.m. to midnight at the BU Pub, 225 Bay State Rd. The event is 21+ only.
Halloween on the Harbor Party Crawl
Here’s a chance to take in a host of holiday-themed parties along Boston Harbor. It’s the Seaport Hotel’s seventh Annual Halloween on the Harbor Party Crawl. A $10 ticket (proceeds benefit the nonprofit Friends of the Fort Point Channel) gets you a ride on a Boston Duck shuttle to Halloween parties at spots like the Barking Crab, Temazcal Tequila Cantina, Atlantic Beer Garden, and Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar & Grill. The event is 21+ so don’t forget to bring your ID or you’ll miss out on the fun.
Halloween on the Harbor runs from 7 to 10 p.m. along the South Boston Waterfront. Plan to arrive at the Seaport Hotel TAMO Bistro & Bar, One Seaport Lane, any time after 7 p.m. to check in and catch a Duck shuttle. Purchase tickets, $10, here. Find directions here.
ImprovBoston’s GoreFest XIV: The Campaign
If there’s ever been a presidential campaign ripe for satire, this year’s is it. Fortunately, ImprovBoston, one of the city’s premier comedy clubs, is back with its annual Halloween musical satire, titled GoreFest XIV: The Campaign. It will poke plenty of fun at the 2016 election and leave you covered in gore. Ponchos are recommended as audience members may be splattered in fake blood, guts, and gore.
ImprovBoston’s GoreFest XIV: The Campaign runs from Thursday, October 27, to Sunday, November 6, at ImprovBoston’s Studio Theater, 40 Prospect St., Central Square, Cambridge. Find admission prices and a complete list of show dates and times here. Purchase tickets here.
Brownstone RHA Halloween Night
Looking for Halloween fun, but don’t feel like leaving campus? Join the Brownstone Hall Council for a night of Halloween must-haves: apple cider, donuts, and scary movies.
Halloween Night will be held in the Towers Residence Hall Franklin Lounge, 140 Bay State Rd., from 8 to 10:30 p.m. and is free to BU students.
Saturday, October 29
Dia de los Muertos Celebration at Taza Chocolate
Local chocolatier Taza Chocolate is hosting its sixth annual Dia de los Muertos(Day of the Dead) celebration. Wear your most festive or ghoulish costume and scoop up free samples of the company’s delicious hot chocolate and other treats. Tacos can be purchased from the Happy Taco, Taco Party, and Sabrosa Taqueria Boston. Fancypants Baking Company will sell baked sweets as well. Face painters at the family-friendly event will transform you into a traditional Day of the Dead skull, and musical performances from DJs Dudley and Tris, El Sistema Somerville, and La Piñata will get you moving.
Taza Chocolate’s Dia de los Muertos celebration is from noon to 5 p.m. at the Taza Chocolate Factory, 561 Windsor St., Somerville; free and open to the public. Rain date is Sunday, October 30, noon to 5 p.m. Take a Red Line train outbound to Central and walk 20 minutes.
575 RHA Pumpkin Party
The 575 Commonwealth Avenue Hall Council is hosting a free pumpkin party with prizes, pumpkin carving, and, most essential to any successful Halloween: free candy.
The 575 RHA Pumpkin Party is in the HoJo pool room, 575 Commonwealth Ave., from 3 to 5 p.m.
Night of Fright
BU’s Student Activities is sponsoring a Night of Fright at Barrett’s Haunted Mansion in Abington, Mass. Warning: event organizers note that the night of terror, fright, and fun “is not for Halloweenies.” In addition to the haunted mansion, participants will also be able to try an open air corn maze called the Compound, included in the ticket price.
A Night of Fright is from 5:45 to 9:15 p.m. at Barrett’s Haunted Mansion, 1235 Bedford St., Abington, Mass. Buy tickets ($5) here. There are no refunds. A bus leaves from the GSU Plaza at 5:45 p.m. and departs Barrett’s Haunted Mansion at 9:15 p.m., returning to campus at 10 p.m.
HKSA x BUTASA x CSA Haunted House: Carnival of Terror
This haunted house is an American Horror Story fan’s dream come true. The Hong Kong Student Association, Chinese Students Association, and BU Taiwanese-American Student Association are hosting a carnival-themed haunted house, based on the fourth season of the FX hit horror anthology series American Horror Story—Freak Show. The spooky setup will include cultural elements.
HKSA x BUTASA x CSA Haunted House: Carnival of Terror is from 7 to 11 p.m. in the SAC Gym, One University Rd.; free to BU students.
If you love horror films, then head over to the Coolidge Corner Theatre. The six-film series kicks off with a double feature of the Wes Craven classics Scream and Scream 2. The rest are shrouded in mystery, the titles unveiled as each film begins. Caution: nightmares may ensue.
Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline. Purchase tickets to the 16th Annual Halloween Horror Marathon ($25 and up) here. The marathon begins at 11:59 p.m.
Sunday, October 30
SoWa Open Market, featuring crafts, vintage clothing and accessories, fresh produce and flowers, food trucks, and more is celebrating its final market of the season with a SoWa Spooktacular Halloween party. In addition to 150 artists, farmers, vendors, and food trucks, there will also be pumpkin painting, live music, and three costume contests: one for humans, one for pets, and a third for vendors. Take some time planning your costume because winners will receive a $500 Visa gift card.
The SoWa Spooktacular is Sunday, October 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the SoWa Open Market, 460 Harrison Ave., Boston; free and open to the public Enter the costume contest at the market’s info booth on Thayer Street (between 450 and 460 Harrison Ave.) between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Take any inbound Green Line trolley to Copley Square, a number 9 bus to City Point/Copley Square via Arlington Street, and get off at the Albany and East Berkeley stop.
Monday, October 31
Pokémon Go Halloween Walk
Given this year’s Pokémon Go craze, it was perhaps inevitable there would be a Halloween event with a Pokémon Go tie-in. This is it. So throw on your costume or cosplay and join hundreds of other Pokémon trainers for a fun-filled night. Trainers will meet at the Boston Common at 7 p.m. and disperse in teams to go across the city, with a goal of catching as many Pokémon as possible. Everyone will regroup on the Boston Common at 10 p.m.
The Pokémon Go Halloween Walk is free and runs from 7 p.m. to midnight. Participants are encouraged to bring candy and treats to share. Take a Green Line trolley to Park Street.
Beacon Hill with a BOO! Walking Tour
For the past 30 years, Boston by Foot’s Beacon Hill with a BOO! Walking Tour has been part of the city’s annual Halloween celebrations. While most people know Beacon Hill for its boutiques, restaurants, and elegant architecture, this tour introduces participants to its darker history of murder and mayhem. Among the tour stops: the former home of the infamously murdered Dr. George Parkman. You’ll hear stories about serial killers, apparitions of ministers, murderers who walk in their sleep—it’s Beacon Hill as you’ve never experienced it before.
The Boston by Foot Beacon Hill with a BOO! Walking Tour runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and meets in front of the Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon St., Boston. Purchase tickets ($20, $10 for members) here or in person by cash. Take a Green Line trolley to Park Street.
Coolidge Corner Theatre Halloween Double Feature: Psycho and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Coolidge Corner Theatre’s homage to Halloween is a double feature, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, featuring two of Hollywood’s most notorios killers, Norman Bates, and Leatherface. It’s a night to dismember (sorry, their pun, not ours).
The Coolidge Corner Theatre Halloween Double Feature starts at 7 p.m. at the theater, 290 Harvard Street, Brookline. Purchase tickets ($11.25 for adults, $9.25 for children and seniors) here.
Kyler Sumter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This was originally published here.