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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

10 ways to celebrate Halloween locally during a pandemic

George Romero’s horror classic, “Night of the Living Dead,” will screen at Thalian Hall on Thursday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (Port City Daily photo/Public Domain)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Though the pandemic is putting a damper on Halloween this year — even if it’s making mask-wearing a total normal occurrence — events still are happening under the protocols of Governor Roy Cooper’s Phase 3 executive order.

Some venues are taking their happenings online only or, better yet, outdoors; others are hosting smaller functions. From live music to doggy costume contests, tarot readings to thrashing concerts, here’s a look at what’s happening around town through Saturday, Oct. 31. 

RELATED: Opera House Theatre Company launches its first musical, ‘The Rocky Horror Show,’ since February

“Night of the Living Dead” Screening

Oct. 29, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., $8 | Thalian Hall • 310 Chestnut St.

George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” has become a horror classic in American cinema. Starring Duane Jones and Judith O’Dea, the 1968 film features the story of a farmhouse under siege by zombies and how the seven people trapped inside deal with trying to escape. Limited tickets are available for $7 and can be purchased at

Halloween Has Gone to the Dogs

Oct. 28-29, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. | Panacea Brewing Co., 4107 Oleander Dr.

Oct. 29, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. | Waterline Brewery, 721 Surry Street

Dressing up like Spidey and Moana isn’t just for kids anymore. All the Fidos of the world are strapping into the getup nowadays—or, at the very least, their humans are making sure they are perfectly humiliated. 

Panacea Brewing Company is hosting a furry friends costume contest on Wednesday, Oct. 28, and Thursday, Oct. 29. Dogs who arrive in the taproom between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. will have their picture snapped and then voted upon in an online community poll. The winner will receive a $50 gift card to Panacea. 

Also on Thursday, Oct. 29, Waterline Brewing Company will host a Yappy Hour Halloween Extravaganza from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The best pet costume wins a prize, but the real reward goes to the New Hanover County Humane Society. $1 from every beer purchased will be donated to the nonprofit.

The Good Death: An Exploration of Victorian Rituals

Oct. 29, 6:30 p.m. | Bellamy Mansion-hosted Zoom lecture

Erected in the antebellum era, The Bellamy Mansion has plenty of ghosts in its past. While 2020 isn’t welcoming earthlings to learn about them in person, folks can tune into a free Zoom lecture on Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m.

Dr. Michaela Howells, assistant professor of anthropology at UNCW, will discuss mourning practices of the Victorians, including how they would picnic in graveyards or take death portraits of loved ones. Dr. Howells also will talk about how the Victorians lived amidst a 19th-century pandemic and the transformative discoveries of medicine that came from it. Register for the free lecture at bellamymansion/org/lecture.

Halloween Eve Thrash ‘n’ Bash

Oct. 30, 6 p.m. | The Skate Barn • 14921 US Hwy 17 N 

For 20 years, The Skate Barn, tucked back in the woods of Hampstead, has brought in skaters of all levels to show off their best on the street, ramp and in the bowl. Now it’s time for the barn’s roof to get fixed, so they’re hosting a Halloween Eve thrash for $10 (which also helps pay the bands). On Oct. 30, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m., the barn’s outdoor area will welcome rockers Shr3dCrust and The Good Good Grief to perform. In between sets will be the premiere of a skateboarding video, and concert-goers will have the opportunity to skate to the live music.

Tarot Readings

Oct. 30-31, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. | Native Salt Cave • 1540 S. 2nd St., Ste. 130

Lorri Gifford will be looking deep into the future of all who journey into Native Salt Cave and Wellness on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30-31. Gifford is offering tarot card readings among the glow and relaxation of purifying, pink Himalayan salt. Readings will be offered in 15-minute, 30-minute and hour-long increments (prices vary) between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.  Also offered in Native Salt will be mediumship and meditative sound journeys, as well as shamanic healings. Check out tickets here.

Halloween 2020 at Fermental

Oct. 31, 6 p.m | Fermental • 7250 Market St.

Mark Sinnis & 825 are known for playing spooky, cemetery and Western sounds that will set the mood for All Hallow’s Eve at Fermental in Ogden. Costumes are encouraged, and pumpkin beers, hard ciders and honey wines will be served. The festivities are open to ages 21 and up and last from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Limited seating due to Covid-19 regulations.

Related: More a horror film set than haunted house, Panic Attack opens in the swamplands near Shallotte

No Frills Bad Halloween Costume Thingy

Oct. 31, 6 p.m. | The Barzarre • 1610 Castle St. 

Can’t seem to get it together in time to show off a spectacular getup for the Witching Hour? No sweat—Barzarre wants to see your jankiest, poor excuse of a costume. And they may even give you a prize for it. It’s free to attend their No Frills Bad Costume Thingy, with limited capacity per Covid-19. The DJ starts after 9 p.m. and will be judging costumes, which will provide lots of laughs as contestants get a chance to explain their attire. (Pro tip: Barzarre suggests waiting literally until the last minute to produce your worst costume ever). Plus, there will be an open-mic confessional, a DJ spinning tunes, unwanted candy exchange and an ugly Halloween sweater contest. 

Halloween and Day of the Dead Celebration

Oct. 31, 6 p.m. | Blockade Runner / East • 275 Waynick Blvd, Wrightsville Beach 

The Wrightsville Beach hotel, Blockade Runner Resort, and its indoor restaurant, East, are getting into the spirit with a special prix-fixe menu and one-night stay, offered just in time for the haunting of the spirits (Day of the Dead falls Nov. 1 after Halloween). Live music and a costume contest will take place in the hotel on Halloween (anyone else having flashbacks of “The Shining”?), with dinner featuring Mexican delights (chips and salsa, guac, queso, tacos, desserts, including Horchata rice pudding and a Choco Taco).

On Nov. 1, guests also will receive breakfast in bed before checkout.

Reservations can be made by calling 833-721-1939.

Seawitch Cafe Halloween Contest

Oct. 31, all day | Seawitch Cafe • 227 Carolina Beach Ave.

Carolina Beach’s Seawitch Cafe normally hosts a large Halloween bash annually. Though the restaurant will be decked to the spooky nines, and The Cut Trio will take the stage from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., safety measures will be in place, meaning fewer people can attend because of the pandemic.

Costumed guests still will have a chance to win cold, hard cash: $100 goes to the best adult costume (individual, group or couple can enter) and $50 cash to the best kid’s costume. Even the pooches can get in on the fun ($40 Seawitch gift card awarded). Staff will judge costumed diners who purchase an item during lunch or dinner at the Seawitch; interested parties can tap a staff member to snap a picture of their costume, and then they’ll give their name, costume description and contact info to be entered. Winners will be chosen and notified that night.

Beaches and Boots Line Dancers

Oct. 31, 7 p.m. | Carolina Beach Boardwalk Gazebo 

Remember seeing those popular line dance videos go viral, featuring witches shimmying and swaying? Well, they’ve brought their brooms to southeastern N.C. and will be flying onto the island at the gazebo on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk on Oct. 31, 7 p.m.  

Beaches & Boots Line Dancers visit local bars and perform the infamous Witches’ Dance, while raising money for local causes. 2020 may have them dancing outdoors only (according to them, broom width apart, of course), but it’s to collect funds for Carolina Beach’s Ocean Cure. The nonprofit teaches medically fragile and at-risk youth and adults how to surf. 

Can’t make it to see the witches perform? No sweat, donate here.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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