October 2012 ‘scares up’ more than two dozen Halloween-theme events in Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach. From the storied banks of the Cape Fear River to the alluring shores of our seaside towns, visitors can experience this spooky time of year with ghoulish festivals, ghostly tours, murder-mystery dinner theatre or cruise, pirate adventures, haunted attractions, hayrides, creepy nature programs, and family trick-or-treat events. Here is a sampling of mysterious, haunted, historical and educational festivities:
Ongoing (year-round)—Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington. 6:30pm
& 8:30pm nightly. Costumed guides lead visitors through alleyways
with tales of haunted Wilmington. Admission charge. Meets at Water &
Market streets. Reservations required: 910-794-1866; www.hauntedwilmington.com
Ongoing (year-round)—Haunted Pub Crawl. Wed.-Sat. 7:30pm. Ages 21+. Admission charge. Meet at Fat Tony’s, 131 N. Front St., Wilmington. Reservations required: 910-794-1866; www.hauntedwilmington.com
Ongoing (year-round)—Haunted Cotton Exchange Tours. Daily tours; call for hours. Admission charge. Cotton Exchange parking lot street entrance, Wilmington. 910-409-4300; www.hauntedcottonexchange.blogspot.com.
Each Tuesday in October (2, 9, 16, 23, 30)—Murder Mystery Dinner Cruises. Solve
an exciting who-dunnit on a 2-hr. dinner cruise along the Cape Fear
River. Audience participation; prizes. Boards at 6pm; departs 6:30pm at
dock (Water & Dock sts). Admission charge. Reservations required:
910-343-1611; 800-676-0162; www.cfrboats.com
Each Monday through Saturday—Pirate Treasure Hunt Adventure.
Arrrr! Join a costumed pirate storyteller on an exploration of
Masonboro Island’s natural treasures. Learn about the history of famous
North Carolina pirates such as Captain Kidd and Black Beard. Call or
check website for times. Admission charge. Wrightsville Beach Water Taxi
& Cruises, 275 Waynick Blvd. (across from Blockade Runner Resort),
Wrightsville Beach. Advance reservations required: 910-200-4002; www.wrightsvillebeachscenictours.com.
Each Friday & Saturday (Oct. 5-Nov. 3 & bonus Fright Night show on Oct. 31)—Food & Fright Night Dinner Theatre.
Doors open 5:30pm; show at 6:30pm. Each Friday night, audiences are
sure to enjoy an original interactive Fright Night dinner show about
three college students who stay overnight in a creepy abandoned house
and create some haunted history of their own. The show includes some
tales of Wilmington’s haunted past and a frightfully good three course
menu. Saturday Night Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre-“Murder at the Bellamy Mansion”:
On Saturdays, audiences attend the fictional Wilmington Historical
Attractions and Tours (WHAT) awards banquet to honor the best in
Wilmington’s local history. When things take a dangerous turn, audiences
help to uncover the mystery. Admission charged. Advance reservations
suggested: 910-399-3669; www.theatrewilmington.com
Oct. 5-6; 18-20; 30—Ghost Hike. 8pm. Join a
park ranger down the trails of Fort Fisher State Recreation Area to
explore the unexplained phenomena that surrounds Fort Fisher. Bring a
flashlight and meet at 8pm at the visitor center to explore trails that
are normally closed at night. Space is limited; reservations are
required. Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, 1000 Loggerhead Rd, Kure
Beach. 910-458-5798; www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/fofi/main.php
**To learn more about the ghosts legends at Fort Fisher, read our earlier blog post from 2008: The Ghosts of Fort Fisher
October 5-31 (Thurs.-Sat. night & Oct. 30-31)—Panic Attack Haunted Attraction. 6pm-11pm (Thurs & weekdays); 6pm-12midnight
(Fri. & Sat.). Over 30,000 square feet of Hollywood-quality special
effects, elaborate sets, and terrifying live actors evoke one’s deepest
fears. Intensity warning: This haunted attraction is not for children
under the age of 13. Admission charged. 1290 S. 15th St., Wilmington. 910-685-6551; www.panicattackhaunt.com
Oct. 12-14; 19-21—Halloween Festival. “Haunted”
hayrides, carnival rides & games, “haunted” barn, non-scary Fun
House with fortune tellers, stories, pony rides, food, costume contests
& more. Fun for all ages. Free admission; activity fees vary. Poplar
Grove Plantation, 10200 US Hwy. 17 N Wilmington. 910-686-9518; www.poplargrove.com
Oct. 18-AquaCamp: Spooky Critters. Halloween day
camp (age 5-12) features slippery, slimy animal programs. Admission;
pre-register. NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Kure Beach; 910-458-8257; www.ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher
Oct. 13-14; 19-21; 25-28; 31— “Evil in the Port City” Haunted House.
Fri. & Sat. (7pm-midnight); Thurs. & Sun./Wed. 31 (7pm-10pm).
Inspired by Erik Larson’s bestseller “Devil in the White City,” the
haunted house winds through a labyrinth of hallways, dead ends and false
doors in a 14,000 sq. foot recreation of H.H. Holmes’ Murder Castle.
Admission charge; NHS Lyceum Academy fundraiser. Rated PG-13. 2150
Burnett Blvd (next to Parchies near State Port), Wilmington.
910-251-6100, ext 222; www.facebook.com/#!/NHHSLyceumHauntedHouse?fref=ts
Oct. 19-20; 26-27—Ghost Ship Tour. 7pm-10pm.
Experience Ghost Ship, an original haunted attraction with all new
unique designs and scares. It doesn’t matter where you are on the WWII
ship, the ghosts will find you! Admission charge. Line forms at 6:30pm;
must be in ticket line by 9:30pm. Not recommended for young children.
Battleship North Carolina, #1 Battleship Rd., Wilmington. 910-251-5797; www.battleshipnc.com.
Oct. 20—Science Spooktacular. 6pm. It’s not spooky, it’s science! Cape Fear Museum wants to UNfrighten you
by uncovering the science behind the creepy and mysterious. Create
concoctions that bubble, glow, or even smoke in the Mad Lab and discover
the secrets of magic in the Little Shop of Physics. Explore skeletons,
spiders, bats, and more. Admission charge. Cape Fear Museum, Wilmington.
Oct. 24 & 25—Trick-or-Treat Under the Sea. 5pm-8:30pm.
Families can enjoy thrills & gills in the same day. Indoor
trick-or-treating, face painting, story-telling, magic shows, spooky
divers and haunted gardens are highlights at this family Halloween
party. Note: only umbrella strollers permitted. Admission charged
(children 2 and under free). NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Loggerhead Rd.,
Kure Beach; 910-458-8257; www.ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher
Oct. 26-31—Halloween Ghost Trolley. 6pm-9pm.
Kid-friendly 30-minute horse-drawn trolley ride through historic
district and a fun spoof in the “ghost barn.” Horses and tour guides are
dressed in costume. Halloween-theme stories, songs & treats.
Admission charged. Departs at Market & Water sts.; 910-251-8889; www.horsedrawntours.com.
Oct. 26—In Memoriam-Victorian Mourning. Learn
about customs and rituals of death in Victorian America. The Latimer
House Museum, a Victorian Italianate house built in 1852, will be
decorated in full mourning, five rooms filled with authentic Victorian
funerary objects, guides in period costume, samples of food served at
Victorian funerals and ghost stories. Latimer House, Wilmington.
Admission charge; tickets required. 910-762-0492; www.hslcf.org.
Oct. 26—Halloween Spooktacular. 5pm-9pm. Enjoy
a night at the park “trick or treating” on the Trick or Treat Trail
with booths from local businesses. Other activities: inflatables, games,
costume contests, hayrides, “Creatures of the Night” program, food.
Free. Halyburton Park, 4099 S. 17th St., Wilmington. 910-341-0075; www.halyburtonpark.com
Oct. 26—Kooky Spooky Jam-Boo-Read! 4:30-7:30pm.
Kids’ literacy event disguised as a street festival with scary stories
and non-scary fall-theme activities. Kids dress in costume or as book
character. Other Halloween/fall activities throughout October. Admission
charge. Children’s Museum, Wilmington. 910-254-3534; www.playwilmington.org
Oct. 27—Halloween Haunted Hayride. 6pm-10pm. A
historical haunted hayride through the darkened forest of Halyburton
Park with tales of ghosts, culture and folklore of the past. Learn about
recent paranormal activity and investigations in the Cape Fear region
from Port City Paranormal. Admission charge. 910-341-0075 to purchase
tickets. Halyburton Park, 4099 S. 17th St., Wilmington. 910-341-0075; www.halyburtonpark.com
Oct. 26 & 27—Pumpkin Carving Contest & Pumpkin Walk. 26th: 4pm to 7pm and 27th: 6:00pm- 9:00pm. Get your creative carving juices flowing for Island Montessori School's FIRST ANNUAL Pumpkin Carving Contest & Pumpkin Walk! Submit your pumpkin creation to Island Montessori School by Friday, October 26, between 4PM and 7PM. Cost to enter contest = $5/pumpkin. Our contestants' Jack-O-Lanterns and about 100 luminaries will be on exhibit during our Pumpkin Walk, Saturday, Oct. 27 from 6PM to 9PM. A panel of judges will select a winner in each of the following categories: Scariest, Funniest, Cutest, Traditional, Most Unusual, Characters/Faces, and Best of Show, and the public will be invited to vote on their favorite Jack-O-Lantern by putting a dollar (or more) in the pumpkin's corresponding container. The pumpkin with the most money will earn the People's Choice title. Best of Show and People's Choice winners will earn a prize. Come in costume, help support Island Montessori School, and enjoy a night of Halloween fun! FREE admission and FREE refreshments provided by local businesses. http://www.islandmontessorischool.com
Oct. 27—Fort Fisher Fall/Halloween Festival & Haunted Trail Tour. 10am-5pm (festival); 7:30pm (haunted trail tour). A
fun day of spooky programs, Halloween games, candy for
Trick-or-Treaters, and other activities from 10am-5pm. At 7:30pm, a
1-night only guided hike is offered for those brave enough to come face
to face with scary legends of the past along a secluded maritime forest
trail (trail may not be appropriate for young children; parental
discretion). Free festival and tour; advance registration required for
tour. Fort Fisher State Recreation Area parking lot, 1000 Loggerhead
Rd., Kure Beach. 910-458-5798; www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/fofi/main.php
Oct. 27—First Annual "How Far to the Bar? Halloween 5K" at Carolina Beach. 5:00-pm. Under a FULL MOON on Saturday, October 27th, get dressed in your fastest
and most decorative Halloween costume and run for the BAR! Run Canal
Drive as you view the waterway and hear the fans cheering you on. At the
halfway point is a BAR for your refreshment needs! Then once you're
properly refreshed, race back to the finish line and end your run at
another BAR! Our goal, of course, is to keep you well hydrated! Beware -
the sunsets at 5:58pm that evening and its a FULL MOON! Race proceeds
will be given to "Save the NC Inlets" http://www.carolinabeachtoday.com/2012/10/first-annual-how-far-to-bar-halloween.html
Oct. 28—Trick or Treat Trot 5K/10K Run & 1 mile Fun Run/Walk. 9am. Registration fee for adult 5K/10K race. Halloween costumes encouraged. Jo Ann Harrelson Center, 20 N. 4th St., Wilmington; www.its-go-time.com
Oct. 28—Luminary Tour of Oakdale Cemetery. 6:30-7pm. Enjoy
an evening stroll under the moonlight with 600 luminaries lighting the
way to five grave sites in the cemetery. At each stop there will be a
speaker telling the stories of those who are buried there. Refreshments,
light snacks. Admission charge. Limited to 100 tickets, sold first come
first served beginning Oct. 1. Oakdale Cemetery, Wilmington.
Oct. 30—Batty Battleship’s Halloween Bash. 5:30pm-8pm.
Batty Battleship is a fun, family-oriented event for little ghouls and
goblins with games, activities, food, storytelling, and
trick-or-treating. Admission charged; tickets required. Battleship North Carolina, Wilmington. 910-251-5797; www.battleshipnc.com
Oct. 31—Trick-or-Treat at the Mall. 4-6pm. Kids arrive in costume and retailers provide candy. Independence Mall, 3500 Oleander Dr., Wilmington. 910-392-1776; www.shopindependencemall.com
and events provide a fun and affordable way to experience a
destination. For more information about seasonal specials and packages,
featured events and experiences, visit www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com. For a FREE official visitors guide to Wilmington, N.C.’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, please call 910-341-4030 or 1-866-266-9690. Before traveling any distance, contact event venue to confirm details.