Halloween Haunts in Vancouver, Victoria & Nanaimo
Some of my most vivid Halloween memories involve being terrified out of my socks. I remember tip-toeing through a corn maze sure that a chainsaw-wielding maniac was seconds away from getting the jump on me. I remember monsters under the stairs of patios while I was trick or treating and I distinctly remember sticking my hand into a bowl full of ‘eyeballs’ during my kindergarten Halloween party.
Ok, maybe those were grapes, but still - those eyeballs haunt my dreams.
It’s that time of year again, and if you’re anything like me then you enjoy a good scare. If so, there’s plenty to do in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo to celebrate the occasion (which should definitely be a national holiday, right?), so come along if you think you can handle it and let’s get spooky!
1. Fright Nights
Held every year at the PNE in east Vancouver, Fright Nights is the best way to share your scare with a large group of people. Big on spectacle and bigger on fun, Fright Nights will keep you on your toes and scare you out of your socks! Playland already comes with a disclaimer, a warning about a real-life haunting that has nothing to do with actors playing a part. You’ve been warned! Check out this ghoul’s guide to Fright Nights to plan your trip.
2. MPS Spooktacular Costume Ball
Oct. 24th in North Vancouver
Want to bring your kids to a frighteningly fun (& cute overload) event that adults will enjoy as well? The MPS Spooktacular Ball is a costume party that benefits the Canadian MPS Society. MPS is a rare lysomal storage disease that affects 1 in 25,000 children. The Spooktacular Costume Ball encourages costumes but doesn’t require them - the only important thing is to have fun! Tickets and details.
3. Wicked Victoria
Oct. 25th on Government Street
A barricaded stretch of Government street will be home to a host of curious ghouls on October 25th in celebration of Halloween. Hosted by the Greater Victoria Festival Society, Wicked Victoria will give revellers the chance to experience first-hand what might happen during a zombie apocalypse. Well, a zombie apocalypse with street performers and live music anyways.
4. Bear Mountain Halloween Fireworks Spooktacular
Come to Bear Mountain on the ‘big day’ for treats, cool costumes and an explosive presentation of fireworks on Masters’ Terrace. There’s nothing better than fireworks to cap off a special night, particularly a night with such a distinctively mysterious and magical mood! Details
5. Festival of Fear at Galey Farms
Beginning Oct. 15th
Uh oh. I knew one of these would pop up. The Festival of Fear includes four main venues that range from kid-friendly to never-sleep-again horrifying. The good news about events such as these is you can plan to attend during a time of day that suits you. Young kids? Visit when the sun shines in the middle of the day. Looking for a little bit more of an ominous mood? Steel your nerves and join the fun once the day grows long and the sunset casts long shadows of doubt. Want to scare yourself out of your boots? The 6000 square foot Carnevil Haunted House is adults only, and you know what that means. (Now with 3 chicken exits!) Tickets & schedule
6. Nanaimo Museum’s Lantern Tours
Fridays in October
The best way to scare yourself is with your own imagination. The Nanaimo Museum’s lantern tours combine the mysterious culture of Halloween with the tricks our minds often play on us when treated with frightening myths and legends. The tour takes people through Nanaimo’s already-ominous downtown quarter and recounts tales of ghost sightings, public hangings and murders most foul that were said to occur upon the cobblestones at your feet. Explore old hotels, the old provincial jail and the courthouse, and be sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled for shapes and sounds that shouldn’t be there. Eek! I’m freaking myself out. Lantern tour schedule and tickets.
For me, events such as the lantern tour are the best way to enjoy Halloween because the scary stories they tell are said to be true, or at the very least are embellishments of the truth. Who’s to say these grisly events didn’t happen? After all, Nanaimo is an old city with a mysterious history. Or is it? See, my mind is already playing tricks on me.
No matter what your taste for the darker side of fun might be, this Halloween has an event for you in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo. Just make sure nothing follows you home.