Wilmington, N.C. - A memorable Halloween road trip awaits those who travel to Wilmington, North Carolina and its island beaches. More than two dozen spine-tingling events beckon visitors to the coast during the last two weeks of October. From the river to the sea, thrill-seekers can get into the ‘spirit’ with ghost tours, haunted attractions and trails, creepy theatrical productions, zombie runs and costume parties. There’s also non-scary fun for younger visitors, including fall festivals, ‘ghost’ trolley and trick-or-treat events at the Aquarium and Battleship North Carolina, as well as museums, libraries, shopping malls and more. Following is a sampling of Halloween Happenings that are worth the trip!
Ongoing (year-round)—Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington. 6:30pm & 8:30pm nightly through Oct. 31; then at 6:30pm nightly thru March. Costumed guides lead visitors through alleyways with tales of haunted Wilmington. Admission charged. Meets at Water & Market streets. Reservations required: 910-794-1866.
Ongoing (year-round)—Haunted Pub Crawl. Wed.-Sat. 7:30pm & Sun. Oct. 30 & Mon. Oct. 31. Ages 21+. Admission charge. Call for advance reservations and start location: 910-794-1866.
Ongoing (year-round)—Haunted Cotton Exchange Tours. Daily tours; call for hours. Admission charged. Cotton Exchange (parking lot street entrance, 300 block of N. Water Street), Wilmington. 910-409-4300.
Ongoing (month of October selected dates) Phobia Haunted Trail. 7pm-midnight (13+); 12pm-4pm (recommended for kids 5-12) Experience the Phobia Haunted Trail attraction and get your scare on this Halloween! Face your deepest, darkest fears while on the hunt for the evil Dr. Luke Von Witz on this unique haunted trail. Admission charged. Cardinal Lanes, 3907 Shipyard Blvd, Wilmington. 910-805-7552.
Fridays (Oct. 21, 28)—Paranormal Ghost Tours. 7pm, 8pm & 9pm. Guided paranormal ghost tours of Poplar Grove Plantation’s Manor House are offered at select times on Friday nights. Tales include spirits (a.k.a. haints) (1850 to 1950) that continue to hover. Admission charged; advance reservations. Poplar Grove Plantation, 10200 US Hwy. 17 N., Wilmington. 910-686-9518.
Each Friday & Saturday (Oct. 21-22, 28-29) Dinner Theatre: Of Monsters & Men. 7pm. Prepare for a truly spooky evening of ghostly visits from Edgar Allen Poe characters topped off with a devilishly delicious 3-course themed meal. Tickets required. TheatreNOW, 19 S. 10th St, Wilmington. 910-399-3669.
Oct. 20-23 & 27-30—Theatre: The Birds Attack. 8pm. Wilmington’s premier of the parody based on Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological classic 1960s thriller “The Birds.” Admission charge; reservations. Cape Fear Playhouse, 613 Castle Street, Wilmington. 910-367-5237;
Oct. 21-22 & 28-31—Halloween Ghost Trolley & Barn. 6pm-9pm. Kid-friendly 30-minute horse-drawn trolley ride and a fun spoof in the “haunted barn.” Horses and tour guides are dressed in costume. Halloween-theme stories, songs & treats. Admission charged. Departs at Market & Water streets. 910-251-8889.
Oct. 21-23 & 28-31—Trial 10-31: NHHS Lyceum Haunted House. Travel through an intense maze of horror that will tap into deep-rooted fears. Fri & Sat: 7pm-12am; Sun: 7pm-10pm, Mon., Oct 31: 7pm- 10pm. Admission charge. 920 Princess Street, Wilmington. 910-251-6100.
Oct. 22— Haint Blue All Hallows Masquerade. 7pm. The courtyard gates of Poplar Grove’s Manor House will be open for an evening of revelry (21+), including a catered meal, a cigar bar, two-hour open bar, black & white horror films, tarot card readers, and DJ. Admission charged. Poplar Grove Plantation, 10200 U.S Hwy 17, Wilmington. 910-686-9518.
Oct. 22—Family Fall Festival. 9am-12pm. The Family Fall Festival at the Children's Museum features pumpkin crafts, outdoor games, and fall treats. Admission charged. Children’s Museum of Wilmington, 116 Orange St, Wilmington.910-254-3534.
Oct. 22—Fort Fisher Fall Festival. 10am-3pm. A fun day of spooky programs, Halloween games, inflatable fun and more. A pumpkin contest will be the highlight of the day, patrons can enter by bringing a pumpkin already carved or decorated for a chance to win prizes awarded for the scariest, funniest, and most original. Free. Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, 1000 Loggerhead Rd, Kure Beach. 910-458-5798..
Oct. 22-23 & 29-30—Battlefield Undead. 7pm.The undead have taken over the marsh lands behind Battlefield Live. Enjoy two weekends of “zombie hunting” and help save the day with laser “weapons.” Battlefield Live, 3936 Market St., Wilmington. 910-338-1142.
Oct. 25—Batty Battleship’s Halloween Bash. 5:30pm-8pm. A family event for little ghouls and goblins. Games, activities, henna tattoos & storytelling. Kids are encouraged to wear costumes. Admission charged. Battleship North Carolina, 1 Battleship Rd, Wilmington. 910-251-5797; www.battleshipnc.com/Events/BattyBattleshipsHalloweenBash
Oct. 26—UNCW Halloween Carnival for Kids. 5:30pm-7:30pm. The annual Halloween Carnival event is held for local children to visit UNCW for a safe and fun Halloween! Student volunteers offer Halloween-themed carnival games for the children to enjoy. Free. UNCW Campus, 601 S. College Rd, Wilmington. 910-962-3000.
Oct. 27-29—Trick-or-Treat Under-the-Sea. 4:30pm-8:00pm. Indoor trick-or-treating, face painting, story-telling, magic shows, spooky divers and haunted gardens. Note: only umbrella strollers permitted. Admission charged; advance tickets. NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 900 Loggerhead Rd., Kure Beach; 910-458-8257.
Oct. 28-29—Fort Fisher Haunted Trail. 7pm-9pm. Prepare to be scared with this Haunted Trail through the spooky and secluded Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. This guided tour is for those brave enough to come face to face with scary legends of the past along the maritime forest trail. Parental discretion advised. Free. Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, 1000 Loggerhead Rd, Kure Beach. 910-458-5798.
Oct. 28-29—Hells Belles & The Colonial Damned Haunted House. Fri. 7pm-11pm; Sat. 6pm-11pm. Join the Bellamy Mansion and the Burgwin-Wright House in celebrating All Hallows’ Eve at the first annual Hells Belles and Colonial Damned Haunted Houses! Enjoy beer and local food truck offerings as you get in the Halloween spirit! Admission charged. Bellamy Mansion Museum, 503 Market St, Wilmington. 910-251-3700.
Oct. 29—Children’s Theatre: Super Saturday Fun Time. 3pm. Live mystery show, kids’ costume contest, live music and video, treats for all. Tickets required. TheatreNow, 19 S. 10th St, Wilmington. 910-399-3669.
Oct. 29—Trick or Trot. 8am. This family 5k race and 1 mile walk will get you into the Halloween spirit. Pre-registration required. Greenfield Lake, Wilmington. 910-762-2511.
Oct. 29—ZombieFest 2016. 7pm. Four bands, costume contest & Dr. Gone’s Phonic-Fright show. Must be 21. Admission charge. Waterline Brewery, 721 Surry St., Wilmington. 910-777-5599.
Oct. 29—Nightmare on Water Street.7pm-Midnight. Adult Halloween costume party featuring live music by Machine Gun. Prize for best costume, “horrors” d’oeuvres from 7pm-9pm and beer, wine and signature “Spook”tails. Tickets required. Hilton Wilmington Riverside, 301 N. Water St, Wilmington. 910-343-6175.
Oct. 29—Haunted Basement. 6pm-9pm. New Hanover Public Library presents the Haunted Basement at the Main Library in downtown Wilmington. Victims must enter through the Second Street alleyway, venturing into the terrifying lower level to face unknown horrors. Dress in your scariest costume to keep the spirits at bay. May not be suitable for very young children. Free. NHC Main Library, 201 Chestnut St, Wilmington. 910-798-6393.
Oct. 29—Cape Fear Halloween ComiCon. Check website for full schedule. Come out for zombies, superheroes, ghosts, fantastic artists and writers, mad scientists and more at the Cape Fear Halloween ComiCon. Enjoy meeting Walking Dead Alumni, Gregory French and Michael Koske, actress and producer Lauren Henneberg, Papa Stro Maestro, Matt Hayward and Dark Matter Cosplay. Admission charged. Coastline Conference & Events Center, 501 Nutt St, Wilmington. 843-655-8775.
Oct. 31—Mall-o-ween. 4pm-6pm. Mall-wide trick-or-treating in a fun, safe and secure environment for little goblins. Trick-or-Treat bags filled with goodies to the first 500 kids. 910-392-1776.
City + Beaches: Mild temperatures and off-peak rates make fall an ideal time to visit Wilmington’s award-winning river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach. As always, before traveling any distance for a specific event, please contact the organizer directly to confirm details. To plan your travel route, visit www.ncdot.gov. For a Free Official Visitors Guide, call 1-866-266-9690 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For seasonal events and special offers, visit www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/season/2016-fall-highlights.