7 bone-chilling events in Calgary this Halloween

By Jonathan Lawrence

It’s Halloween season again, which means that, for a brief period, the scariest thing in Calgary won't be the looming possibility of a blanketing snowfall. Here are some of the most fun, spooky and downright ghoulish events to check out this year. [Photo credit: Screamfest]

7 bone-chilling events in Calgary this Halloween

Screamfest

The one event this year certain to guarantee you sleep the next few nights with the lights on is Screamfest, Canada's largest Halloween event. With several haunted houses to explore (such as Clown Town and the infamous Bates Motel), carnival games to play (spin the Wheel of Misfortune) and wild zombies to elude, Screamfest promises to live up to its name and then some.

Aspen Crossing's Train of Terror

Located 45 minutes southeast of Calgary, Aspen’s Crossing, a quaint and historic train station and tourist destination, has been converted into a veritable locomotive of horrors just in time for the Halloween season. Be wary though – once you're aboard the Train of Terror, there's no getting off. For 90 minutes you’ll endure tight spaces, eerie sights and the subtle touch on the shoulder of a ghostly passenger. Even the C-Train at rush hour isn’t as frightening as this haunted choo-choo. If you can survive the trip, there's a Halloween party with food and drinks waiting to reward your unrivaled bravery.

  • When: October 27 to 31, departs at 5, 7 and 9 p.m.
  • Cost: Adults $66 / VIP $80
  • Where: 45 minutes southeast of Calgary on Highway 24

Monster Movie Marathon

This Halloween, the Calgary Underground Film Festival is out to prove there is no shortage of appropriately terrifying films to enjoy with an all-night 12 hour film festival featuring some of horror's greatest hits. With consecutive screenings of films such as Fright Night, Halloween 3: Season of the Witch and Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI, plus a costume contest intermission, you'd best bring a blanket suitable for hiding under.

  • When: October 28, 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Cost: $18 to 20
  • Where: Globe Cinema

Frightening films around the city

If you're in the mood for even more horrific film events, like an undead hankering for human, check out the 1922 silent film classic, Nosferatu, at Knox United Church on Oct. 27 at 9:00 p.m. The film will be suitably accompanied by a large 1912 pipe organ (the creepiest musical instrument).

Another quintessential Halloween flick will be showcased with a twist, as you'll have the chance to check out a live staged reading of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Evergreen Community SPACES on Oct. 28 at 8:00 p.m.

Likewise, some of the most influential films in horror will be screening throughout the city that week, such as Night of the Living Dead at Village Brewery on Oct. 28 at 8 p.m., 1986's The Fly at Theatre Junction GRAND at 8 p.m. and David Lynch's Eraserhead on Oct. 26 at the Globe Cinema at 7 p.m. Don't blame us if you can't sleep afterwards.

Studio Bell After Hours

If you find yourself each Halloween repeatedly playing "Monster Mash" or "Thriller," perhaps it’s time to switch up your late October playlist. Come down to the National Music Centre's Studio Bell After Hours this Halloween weekend to catch three separate musical guests – DJ Shub, Corinthian and Mollyfi. Afterward, the venue's inaugural costume contest will be giving away a multitude of prizes for those best representing Canadian content.

  • When: Oct 27, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Cost: $15.50 for students and seniors, $20 for general admission
  • Where: NMC Studio Bell

Halloween in Kensington

Kensington is one of the best neighbourhoods in the city to visit in the fall – the leaves, the older homes and the buzz of people walking along the streets makes it perfectly atmospheric for Halloween – and, therefore, for drinking and pub crawling. With 10 of Kensington's best haunts (pun intended) on the itinerary, by the end of the night you'll find yourself at an '80s rock-themed costume party at Kensington Pub, drinking Pumpkin Ale and Butterbeer Floats at Hexagon Board Game Cafe, doing jack-o'-lantern shots at Hayden Block Smoke and Whiskey and checking out the best costumes during a contest held at Side Street Pub and Grill.

  • When: Oct. 28, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Cost: Free
  • Where: Kensington

17th Avenue Market Collective Spooktacular

Of course there are no shortage of family-friendly events scheduled this Halloween, but few may be as fun as the 17th Ave Spooktacular in Tomkins Park. This free public event will feature a miniature haunted house, face painting, music, slime-making lessons and even Halloween-inspired yoga (costumes are encouraged). There will even be free sweet kettle popcorn, hot chocolate and coffee to go with your newly-minted Halloween slime.

  • When: Oct. 28, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: Free
  • Where: Tomkins Park on 17th Ave SW

With events like these, Halloween in Calgary promises to be one of the most bone-chilling times of the year – and not just because of the dipping temperatures. Whether you brave the haunted houses at Screamfest or bring the whole family to the 17th Ave Spooktacular, there's no shortage of spooky fun to be had in our city this Halloween.

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