Looking for something different to do this Halloween season, besides the usual haunted attractions and corn mazes? Yes, it's time to start thinking about how you'll spend this spooky holiday, whether you need to make travel plans or grab tickets for these hot events before they sell out. Here are five great events with a Halloween or macabre theme that are perfect for celebrating this fall favorite, and worthy of traveling great distances.
It's a Detroit ThingDetroit boasts two of the best Halloween events ever, with the first being the notorious all-night event, Theatre Bizarre. This legendary event started as a huge, illegal party held each year on private property where city officials looked the other way until a few years ago when someone finally decided to crack down on this legendary event. The party now resides indoors at the Masonic Temple, but features a huge selection of bands, art performances, and freak show entertainment that runs all night long. A costume is mandatory.
It's a shame the original Theatre Bizarre wasn't allowed to continue, as it was a year-round labor of love by the property owners. They converted some real estate in one of Detroit's many rough neighborhoods into an outdoor stage and carnival midway featuring original vintage carnival poster art by one of the owners. Legend has it the party cost about $70,000 to put on every year in its original form, and all of that cash was funneled into the production.
The original Theatre Bizarre was a thing to behold, as you can see from the slideshow below, but the party's still rocking at the Masonic Temple and now revelers can get a little more risqué with their costumes without the freezing cold. This is definitely not a child-friendly event.
Likewise, The Damned Exhibit and Masquerade is strictly for adults. Conceptual art photographer Anthony DVS organized this event, held over three evenings around Halloween. First, the VIP artist exhibition reception, with gourmet tapas and usually a little absinthe tasting. Then the grand opening night of the exhibit, with fire and aerial performances, and finally, a Masquerade Ball, with masquerade dress and mask required. Before the ball, there is an optional six-course aphrodisiac dinner.
Dancing in the StreetsHave you ever watched the film Trick 'R Treat and wished you could find a happening Halloween street party like that? Try visiting Salem, Massachusetts, for one of the country's biggest Halloween bashes. Yes, that Salem, where so many were burned at the stake as witches and where modern day witches ply their trade, at least for the tourist crowds.
The whole town rolls out the black carpet for revelers, but one of the big attractions is The Salem Haunted Magic Show, held at the Danvers State Mental Hospital. If that sounds like something right out of one of those paranormal shows, it's all that, plus a little Criss Angel-type haunted magic thrown in.
Whatever You Do, Don't Fall AsleepIf you love horror movies -- and who doesn't around Halloween -- try to get tickets to the Exhumed Films 24-hour film fest in Philadelphia. Be forewarned, these tickets sell out quickly, so sign up for their newsletter to stay on top of when tickets go on sale and how you can get them.
Yes, this is a 24-hour movie marathon, and the exact films are left a mystery. The first few years, the group pretty much stuck with classics that both hard-core horror fans and casual horror lovers could like. Unfortunately, the last two years they seem to be mixing in some more obscure titles that many feel are less worthy of a Halloween film festival. Some fans have even suggested that the event is becoming targeted more to indie film and horror "hipsters." Regardless, this is an event worth trying out for the fun and comradery of pulling a huge all-nighter with several hundred other strangers who are probably as weird as you are, if not weirder. It's all about finding your tribe, baby, and popcorn, lots of buttery popcorn.
Let's Do The Time Warp AgainIf you want definitive proof that not all of Kentucky is as conservative as Mitch McConnell or Kim Davis, brace yourself for the ultimate Rocky Horror experience right in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. The historic Kentucky Theater does a Rocky Horror Picture Show showing every month with a live cast, but the October event is pure madness. This lush, luxurious theater packs the house every year, filling the seats with a variety of characters of all types in this very LGBT-friendly production. You can buy your own pack of props when you get there so you don't have to bring anything with you. If you aren't sure what to throw when, your neighbors will help.
In addition to the live performance on stage during the film, there's quite a pre-show with costume contests and very bawdy humor. Note that this production is definitely not child-friendly, and gets very risqué with lots of scantily clad people simulating very naughty things without regard to pesky little things like gender. Who knew you could find such naughty fun in Kentucky?
Make your plans early as they are some of the hottest Halloween events anywhere and those requiring advance tickets sell out quickly.
[Photo by Diana Price]