It’s been a mighty spooky October, hasn’t it? 🎃
Now that we’ve finished blowing goblin green snot rockets out our noses from all the wildfire smoke, it’s time to settle into Seattle’s regular programming: rain storms, gray clouds, and terribly consequential elections you’ve probably forgotten are right around the corner. All these spooky things warrant some spooky partying, so your dutiful partiers at The Ticket have organized a list of Halloween events worth your time. Let’s get into it, ghosties.
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All Monsters Attack! @ Grand Illusion
📸: Grand Illusion Cinema
You’re bounding about the U District and, suddenly, something calls you to a particular building on the corner of 50th and the Ave. As you head up the stairs, step by step, you recall legends that this used to be a dentist’s office. You walk through the door, hang a right, go through the curtains, and take a seat. Then you realize the truth: There are monsters in the building! Thankfully, they’re trapped in a sort of Phantom Zone, reduced to two dimensions, their spirits projected just over your head and onto a wall.
You’ve made it to All Monsters Attack!, the Grand Illusion Cinema’s long-running annual celebration of shocks, shrieks, creeps, kills, mutants, and mayhem. One month, 15 films, infinite screaming.
It’s a monster mash of varied offerings, including an extended cut of Hitchcock’s Psycho, a 35mm presentation of the 1955 masterpiece The Night of the Hunter, Coppola’s gorgeous 1992 campfest Bram Stoker’s Dracula, two different Fulci films (1979’s Zombie, 1981’s The Beyond), and the John Carpenter movie that made a former housemate nope out in the first act from the still-jarring monster effects (1982’s The Thing).
If I could pull out any two as major highlights, the first would be the 16mm screening of Freaks (now celebrating its 90th birthday) presented by the Sprocket Society. Tod Browning’s controversial, banned 1932 shockfest about a carnival sideshow troupe defending one of their own will be followed by a secret pre-Code movie of similar disrepute.
The other highlight is the 4K restoration of 1988’s Brain Damage, written and directed by schlockmeister Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case, Frankenhooker). The plot? A man becomes host to a brain-eating, parasite penis beast. It’s completely disgusting, perversely funny, and not for everybody, a.k.a. my kind of a horror recommendation.
(Full disclosure: Grand Illusion is 100% run by volunteers, and I am one of them.)
~ MARCUS GORMAN
Pumpkin Carving and Horror Movies @ Pine Box
📸: Pine Box
Tuesday, October 25th • 6:30 pm
Even though the fall weather just landed in Seattle, October is almost over! Halloween is right around the corner, and I don’t know about you, but I haven’t even bought a pumpkin, let alone carved one. The good news is that the Pine Box, a Capitol Hill beer hall, has the solution for procrastinators and seasonal revelers alike: a pumpkin carving scary movie watch party.
ICYMI: The Pine Box used to be a funeral home. (I asked a ghost hunter about it here.) The place is deeply creepy in a cool way and likely very haunted. When you order a beer at the bar, you’re leaning your elbows on the old mortuary’s basement cabinets. Then, when you sit back at your table to sip and carve your pumpkins, you’re likely also sitting on top of what used to be the mortuary’s church pews.
For Tuesday’s event, the bar will supply the pumpkins for $5 with any food or drink purchase. They’ll also provide any carving tools you’ll need and some scary movie thrills while you work. (The Pine Box hasn’t yet announced which scary movie they’ll be showing during the pumpkin carving event). It will take place in the bar’s tented beer hall.
~ NATHALIE GRAHAM
SIFF Film Talks: Midsommar vs. The VVitch
It’s the fairy tale scare of Ari Aster’s Midsommar (2019) against the puritanical terror of Robert Eggers’ The VVitch (2015). It’s the new SIFF Film Talk series, Versus! Join fellow film heads in a rare opportunity for public confrontation in Seattle to decide which film reigns spookiest.
VVitch and Midsommar are both A24 productions, a label that has come to almost guarantee popular and critical success. These films also share thematic and stylistic similarities. Anya Taylor Joy made her film debut in VVitch, and viewers became familiar with Florence Pugh through her cartoonish facial contortions of horror in Midsommar. The Blonde stars contribute to striking terror through Whiteness, but what else makes these films such notable works of modern horror? That’s up to the SIFF audience.
Both of these films have already screened at SIFF, but they can be streamed on Hulu/HBOMAX and Paramount+/Showtime, respectively. Curl up on the couch, listen to the rain, and come to your own position before attending the talk, which is open to all and also available online via Zoom. If you go IRL and early, you can snag some merch.
~ MIRANDA HARDY
Beetlejuice @ Supernova
Full disclosure: I myself am strange and unusual. I’m the repeat Lydia Deetz costume offender who just cut her bangs and is waiting on the porch for her red wedding dress to arrive from UPS.
Long before Winona Ryder was everyone’s mom on Stranger Things, she portrayed a gothy, angsty teenager in Beetlejuice named Lydia Deetz, an aspiring photographer whose life is a dark room in that she’s obsessed with death. Upon moving to a serene country home with her ludicrous family, she befriends the ghostly couple haunting the place under laughable bed sheets. She attempts to foil her parents’ plot to profit off the house’s spooky vibes by summoning a ghoulish, crude dude in the shape of Michael Keaton who wreaks havoc instead of help.
You can add a little Deetz to your Halloween week by dusting off your lawn chair and dragging your cushiest pillow under the disco ball at SoDo’s excellent nightclub, Supernova. The club will screen Beetlejuice on Thursday, October 27th—and there’s no need to get into costume, buy expensive cocktails, or pay at the door because this night is free and comes with popcorn.
Prepping for Halloween weekend can be deflating in this inflated economy, so why not find an easy way to celebrate? Tickets are limited to 150 and are available now.
~ ABBIE GOBELI
Howl-o-ween @ W Seattle
📸: W Seattle
You’re walking in downtown Seattle. It’s eerie, and your phone is dead. Out of the corner of your eye, you spot him—a chihuahua dressed as a Demogorgon.
Fortunately, instead of a four-legged creature running to eat you, he’s running to lick you. Skittering chihuahuas! Gentle labs! Judging dachshunds! All these dressed-up doggos compete for a 1st place prize this coming Thursday at Howl-o-ween. And what’s that prize? A sweet overnight stay in a Studio Suite with complimentary breakfast and cocktails (yes, cocktails) for the pupper’s parents. Other awards for “Best Pair” and “Best Pack” include a $50 and $25 TRACE Market gift card, respectfully. If you just wanna dress your pup up and sip on some cocktails and not compete, that’s cool too. You’re gonna be petting dogs with a drink in your hand; what’s not to enjoy?
The first-time event is a partnership between the W Living Room bar and CityDog magazine. A portion of all proceeds goes to the Homeward Pet Adoption Center. It’s free to attend, but spots are limited, so be fast and RSVP here.
~ NATHAN SAETURN
Insomniac’s BOO! @ WAMU
Spooky season is here, and Insomniac’s BOO! is giving us a reason to dress up and ask for kandi this weekend.
The Halloween fest takes over WAMU Theatre on Halloween weekend for the second year in a row and is doing the absolute most for PNW ravers. BOO! started in New York in 2014 and expanded to SoCal, San Francisco, Arizona, Orlando, and Dallas before finally settling on Seattle in 2021. With three separate stages, a VIP Lounge, and carnival rides, there’s likely something for all the dubstep girlies and house heads.
Because it’s an Insomniac event, you can expect over-the-top decorations. The popular EDM event promoter is known for throwing the biggest fests like EDC Las Vegas, Dreamstate, and Forbidden Kingdom. While its headquarters are in Beverly Hills, the team really started to dominate the Seattle rave scene last year with Seven Lions Chronicles Chapter III, Beyond Wonderland PNW, and now BOO! If it’s anything like last year, you’ll feel like you’re stepping into a Tim Burton movie—just with a lot more glitter and lasers.
Some bonus things to look out for: The House of Haunts stage will bring plenty of female representation. Each artist represents her own sound, but getting to see Alison Wonderland, Pauline Herr, and Rezz all on the mainstage is anything but haunting. The Groove Graveyard will feature Benny Benassi, Tchami, and Jauz, so for anyone who wants to shuffle the night away, this is the place for you. Rail breakers excited to see Boogie T, Dimension, and Kill The Noise should find their way to the Den of Darkness. (Just make sure to bring a pashmina or a jacket because last year the Den was in the literal parking garage, and unless you were deep in the pit, it was cold asf.)
~ KAYLEE BOTTING
Demons 2 @ The Beacon
📸: Courtesy the Beacon Cinema
The Beacon’s special programming series of horror sequels, dubbed Part 2: The Return, is wrapping up, so why not pregame the extended Halloween weekend with the extremely loud, incredibly gross Demons 2?
This Italian-produced horror film has quite the pedigree, boasting a producer/director in Dario Argento (also represented at the Beacon this month with 1980’s Inferno) and a director in Lamberto Bava (son of “Master of Italian Horror” Mario Bava). The result is built for an engaged audience who loves their gore goopy, their soundtrack sonorous, and their fiends foul.
Background is not needed to appreciate what D2: The Mighty Yucks has to offer, but just as a primer: The initial 1985 movie takes place almost entirely in a movie theater as it gets overrun by the titular monsters. Good, you’re caught up. Because other than a passing meta-reference, there’s little continuity between the two films.
For the 1986 sequel, the terror moves over to an extremely unlucky apartment building, where demons run amok, plague gets everywhere, flesh is chomped, dogs turn into hellbeasts, Molotov cocktails are thrown, and we all sit in awe of the practical effects work of Argento mainstay Sergio Stivaletti.
Honestly, if this is your bag, you probably already have a ticket.
~ MARCUS GORMAN
Pirate Rave @ Kremwerk
Do you wish the whimsy and terror of the Seafair pirates was year-round? This pirate rave at the Kremwerk Complex may sate your desire for triangle hats, frightening swords, and silly striped shirts.
Seattle heavy-hitters will guide the night, focusing on high energy techno, jungle, house, and trance beats. The night’s “rave captains,” per Kremwerk, include DJs Arel and Bimbo Hypnosis from HOUSEPARTYSEA, a DJ night self-described as “Black Owned – For The Community – For the Music.”
Excellent selectors and Kremwerk regulars JENNGREEN and nohup will bring the heat, and the event will feature a live performance from IVVY, consistent with the Kremwerk Complex’s trend towards bringing more live acts to the space. Speaking of the Complex, boot up to ride the high seas all night long since all three rooms of the Kremwerk complex are open for this party: the titular basement vortex Kremwerk, breezy Timbre Room, and one of Seattle’s newest dance floors, Cherry.
Attire is key for this event: Pirates receive discounted tickets all night long, so I’ll be consulting my friends who went to pirate camp as kids (surprisingly, more than one) for fashion tips. Perhaps we avoid the Johnny Depp of it all and embrace Keira Knightley’s pirate moments, make a science fiction twist a la Treasure Planet, or take inspiration from Taika Waititi’s Our Flag Means Death. I can’t guarantee an abstract approach will get you the discounted tickets but consider being a Pittsburgh Pirate or the FBI anti-piracy notice.
Your only responsibility for the event is to maintain your land legs and avoid making staff swab the deck.
~ MIRANDA HARDY
Dance of the Dead @ Pine Box
📸: Pine Box
The Pine Box is known for a few things: beer, ghosts, and one heckuva Halloween ball. Last year, the “Dance of the Dead” was seance-themed. This year, Pine Box is mixing it up, tapping into nostalgia, and throwing a Halloween prom. Specifically, a Carrie-themed prom. Come dressed in your high school best, and don’t be shy to add a healthy serving of blood to all that prom dress tulle and taffeta. (Though I’m sure everyone would appreciate your commitment to accuracy, please don’t use real lamb’s blood).
The dance goes on all night (well, all night for Seattle, so, 2 am), and so do the drink specials. The Pine Box’s DJ will start their set at 8 pm and keep the (probably not high school prom-appropriate) tunes bumping. There will be a free “bloody high school dance-inspired photo booth” and a costume contest. Best costume will win a cash prize and the honor of being the hallowed prom king and queen. So go live out your perturbed high school fantasies for one night only inside a 1920s mortuary-turned-beer hall!!!! Slow dance with a ghost! Make out with the quarterback who sort of looks like a zombie! It’ll be just like high school.
~ NATHALIE GRAHAM
Oddities & Curiosities Expo @ Seattle Convention Center
📸: Oddities & Curiosities Expo
A convention about all things weird is rolling into town the weekend before Halloween. The Oddities & Curiosities Expo will be at the Seattle Convention Center all day on Halloween Saturday. The event is “one part horror convention and one part dark arts” with lots of strange sprinkled in. On the one hand, the expo is like your typical convention with a room full of vendors selling wares from their particular niche. The wares at this convention, though, are “antiques, handcrafted oddities, quack medical devices, creepy clothing, odd jewelry, skulls/bones, funeral collectibles & much more.” What a mix! According to the site, the sale of real bats was banned in January 2020, and the sale or real human remains was banned just last month.
The selling human remains ban probably had something to do with the trouble the expo ran into in Portland last year. The expo hosted a “Death Science class” where people could pay to watch a real cadaver get dissected ($250 for normal tickets, $500 for VIP). Legally, this was fine, but it upset many people, including the widow of the dissected dead man. So, because of that event, Multnomah County banned the “public display of human remains for profit” this past year.
While the expo no longer offers live autopsy events, visitors can still pay extra to visit a freak show or take a taxidermy class. The freak show costs $5 and gets you access to the world of two-headed animals, cyclops, and other anomalies. The taxidermy class costs $235, lasts 6 hours (from 10 am to 4 pm) and will show you how to make a two-headed duckling. There’s something for everyone at this expo!
~ NATHALIE GRAHAM
Rocky Horror Picture Show @ Tracyton Movie House
📸: Tracyton Movie House
Ever wanted to be verbally humiliated on stage? I won’t spoil Tracyton Movie House’s warmup antics for its screening of Rocky Horror, but rest assured you’ll get your chance. That special treat comes in tandem with the classic Rocky Horror delights—shouting obscenities at a giant screen, squirting each other with water, and complimentary noisemakers I’m sure you’ll never get tired of.
Bremerton’s Tracyton Movie House itself is weird, wacky, and wonderful—stepping into it feels like walking into the Mad Hatter’s wet dream. The entrance floors are painted a psychedelic pattern, and stacked along the side are dozens of zany arcade machines straight out of Stranger Things. You can spot Han Solo, Beetlejuice, and Edward Scissorhands posters artfully arranged in the front room. It’s a place to absolutely nerd the hell out, and its rowdy rendition of Rocky Horror is no exception. The shadow cast, the actors imitating the movie while it plays behind them, is as energetic and electric as any Rocky Horror performance should be.
I saw it last April with my mom, and for her it was a blast to the past (I should probably call it a time warp) but for me it was a way to take a look at some of the original brave weirdos. If you don’t know what things to bring, or if you’ve forgotten at some point between now and the ’80s, don’t worry—Tracyton Theater provides the props!
This article was written on special assignment for The Ticket through the TeenTix Press Corps, a teen arts journalism program sponsored by TeenTix, a youth empowerment and arts access nonprofit organization.
~ VADA CHAMBERS
Seattle Chocolate Haunted Factory @ Seattle Chocolate Factory
📸: Seattle Chocolate Factory
Something is happening at the factory. An evil spirit has entered the chocolate wonderland, and only you can figure it out. MuWaHaHaHa. The gist: Every year, the Seattle Chocolate Factory hosts a haunted tour of their otherwise totally-normal building. The event is like Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, only it’s Halloween-themed, and the risk of dying in ridiculous situations is lowered drastically (beware the mad scientist, however).
Enjoy the mazery with riddles and mysteries, green goo, psychotic scientists, and men in masks! (So spooky.) The now-darkened factory hosts a plethora of eerie passageways and one extra special haunted spirit who watches your every move. Brave through the building and solve the mystery! There’s a little reward behind it if you do.
The factory is a beloved location here in Seattle; founded in 1991, it’s seemingly ingrained within all gift baskets in the Emerald City. Even if you’re not a Halloween fan, just come and enjoy the chocolate. It’s for all ages, with tickets ranging from $12 for adults to $10 for children 12 and under. Bring someone, somebodies, and something. Or just go alone, you psycho.
~ NATHAN SAETURN
Skeleton Skate @ Southgate Roller Rink
📸: Southgate Roller Rink
Southgate Roller Rink’s Halloween party, aka Skeleton Skate, makes a lot of promises, including a packed performance schedule, “the world’s tiniest haunted houses,” and something called “The Freddy Krueger Neverending Nightmare Lounge.” I’m quaking in my quads, and not just because of that time I bruised my very own skellington on Southgate Halloween past. True story: The tiny tiara from my fairy princess costume kept charging forward as the entire rest of me fell flat on its back.
I am confident they’ll deliver even on the more mysterious items, because despite my poor, damaged coccyx, Halloween at Southgate is a guaranteed good time, whether you prefer to be seen or be a spectator. At a locale where everybody is already dressed to impress, often in deeply weird ways, Halloween costumes are a special delight, so there’s guaranteed to be stiff competition at the costume contest. Local horror band Dracula Party and synthy pop group Man Plus will be playing directly on the skate floor (if you’ve never been to a live performance at the rink, rest assured that this works surprisingly well). Old Witch, aka DJ Hex-A-Gone, will be both hosting the show and spinning darkwave, goth, and industrial jams. The night also features drag performances by Londyn Bradshaw and Kristie Champagne; typically Southgate hosts drag shows onstage in the back bar.
It’s $15 to get in, plus another $5 for skate rental, and the whole party is 21+. Speaking of which, Southgate has a small but full bar rinkside now in addition to the bigger bar in the back, so you can refresh your cocktail without having to miss a single moment of your friend attempting to skate in a costume that was not built for movement.
~ SARAH ANNE LLOYD
This Is Halloween @ The Triple Door
📸: Can Can Culinary Cabaret
Runs October 14-31
Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) is one of the few films that can satisfy both the Spooky Season adherent and those of you who are already breaking out their holiday-season playlists, despite the coming onslaught of Christmas tunes on every grocery store soundtrack. Can Can productions’ This Is Halloween gives the classic Tim Burton film a serious refresh and a PG-13 level of spice with live orchestral music, and creative local touches, and a healthy dose of camp. This 15-year anniversary edition promises some brand-new elements exclusive to 2022.
For those unfamiliar: This holiday crossover tale begins when Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King, bored and disillusioned with his native Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town during a walk in the woods. Inspired to take over this new territory, calamity ensues. In the Can Can’s retelling, the story unfolds with vocal performances, dance numbers, and burlesque by an ensemble of local reformers that includes longtime burlesque staple Paris Original and contemporary dancers Thomas Phelan, Isaiah Rashaad, and Hannah Simmons, with singer Tim Keller and musical theater pro Miranda Antoinette as Jack and Sally. Custom visual projections from TJ Davis and Lux Collective add extra dimension to the set.
While the Can Can’s programming typically takes place in their own Pike Place dinner theater, this one’s showing at the Triple Door mainstage just a few blocks away, where local favorite Southeast Asian restaurant Wild Ginger is in charge of the food menu. The show runs now through October 31; Tickets range from $37 for standard-seating weeknight performances to $64 for premium seating on the weekend.
~ SARAH ANNE LLOYD
House of Spirits @ “Casa Vega”
📸: House of Spirits: A Haunted Cocktail Soirée
Things get more thrilling as the nights lengthen and the air chills. Maybe it’s the veil between worlds thinning, but once fall hits, I crave a little magic, mystery, and several reasons to dress up in a costume. Usually, it’s hard to find a way to hit on all these desires at once—Dear reader, not this year.
House of Spirits, an immersive cocktail party-slash-haunted house-slash-interactive mystery-slash-vaudeville show, comes to Seattle this fall. For over a month, the Rainier Chapter House on Capitol Hill transforms into Casa Vega, the haunted home of Francisco and Molly Vega (a story inspired by Spanish painter Francisco Goya and other Spanish folklore).
Guests to Casa Vega can spend their time sipping spooky cocktails (the $79 ticket includes four drinks) and watching the various talent acts (magicians, tarot readers, maybe even a puppeteer). Or guests can solve the mystery of what exactly is haunting Casa Vega by chatting with some resident spirits and solving puzzles. It’s an engage-as-you-want kind of event.
The only loose requirement for attendance is that you dress in costume. This can be something from the period (somewhere between the Victorian era and the 1920s), dressy cocktail wear, or a full-fledged Halloween costume.
~ NATHALIE GRAHAM