Thursday, 27 September 2018 15:33

Halloween Haunts, Hangs and Happenings

Written by  Eric Mitts
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Halloween has become more than just a time for tricks and treats. It’s the end of a season, when autumn leaves give way to the ominous chill of brisk winter air lurking around the corner — we’ve found it’s the perfect time to get freaked, freak out others and otherwise embrace your inner freak. In the spirit of the season, we’ve compiled a quick list of some of the most scream-worthy scares and other fiendishly fun events held in honor of All Hallow’s Eve. 

The Most Horrific Haunts

Haunt Park
7656 Ravine Rd., Kalamazoo
Oct. 6, Oct. 12- 27 (Friday & Saturday nights),
Oct. 29-31

Those still shaking from last year’s remake of Stephen King’s It should steer clear of this year’s Haunt Park in Kalamazoo, where the demented Drupo and other cannibalistic clowns make visitors run for their lives inside the all-new District of the Dead’s Clown Chaos. This latest attraction at this fan-favorite fright piles on even more paranoia, alongside the park’s popular Psycho Ward, Zombie Revenge Firing Range and the return of the sense-shattering intensity of the Extreme House of Terror, which pushes even the strongest to their very limits.

New Salem Corn Maze
4516 24th St., Dorr
Sept. 28-Nov. 3 (Friday-Sunday, Halloween Night)

The “Witches of New Salem” invite you to choose your own brand of horror with four unique experiences at this expansive outdoor location. Whether you’re looking to blast a few zombies with paintballs, work your way through a haunted corn maze or survive the twisted trail of these witches’ woods, there’s something for everyone at this ghoulish gathering, with family-friendly activities taking place before dark every weekend.

Niles Scream Park
855 Mayflower Rd., Niles
Oct. 5-31 (Friday-Sunday)

Ranked as one of the top haunted attractions in the country for years now, this hit near the Indiana border is worth the trip because of its sprawling 44 acres of unrelenting terror. Professionally designed, the park packs in endless frights, from its classic haunted house to its Haunted Hayride and the Field of Screams. Those brave enough can take on the demented Doll Factory or Grimm’s Funeral Services, or for those older than 18, there’s “Hooded,” a truly unnerving experience where visitors enter alone and are blindfolded among seemingly unknown horrors. 

The Haunted Mall
(Inside Lakes Mall) 
5600 Harvey St., Muskegon
Oct. 5-27 (Fridays & Saturdays)

Following a strange twist of fate, this long-running lakeshore haunt has found itself inside the mall, like some sort of reverse Dawn of the Dead. Taking over multiple open retail spaces, the event welcomes you into its recreations of the Muskegon State Hospital, a gruesome meatpacking plant, an evil circus and a looming tunnel of terror, all for one price of admission. It’s the perfect combination for those looking to mix a little shopping with their spine-tingling torment.

The Hottest Hangs

Monster’s Ball 2018
20 Monroe Live, 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
Oct. 27, 9 p.m.-2 a.m., $15-100

Anyone looking to throw on a mask and let loose this Halloween should not miss out on what’s billed as “Grand Rapids’ Biggest Halloween Party.” Now in its second year, the event will feature haunted circus performers including aerialists, acrobats, illusionists and more bewildering the massive crowd, while some of West Michigan’s top DJs keep the bodies moving – dead or alive! Dress up or dress down, the 21-and-older event welcomes all to the freakiest night of the year.

Grand Rapids Ballet, 341 Ellsworth Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
Oct. 26-28

The Grand Rapids Ballet's Junior Company is getting its spooks on with Spooktacular!, a narrative ballet following a young girl on Halloween night. Her only wish is to trick or treat with her older sister and her friends, so when she's not allowed to tag along, she embarks on a mischievous plan — full of mummies, martians and witches — to get their candy.

Night Terrors
The B.O.B., 20 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
Oct. 27, 8 p.m.-2 a.m., $20

At the same time as the Monster’s Ball, the B.O.B. is getting a Halloween makeover, with six dance floors of spiders, clowns, zombies, snakes and more. This also means six DJs and six distinct ways to party, as well as a massive costume contest, with prizes $500 and up. Attendees can pick up a Dual Access Pass for $75 to freely move between this party and the Monster’s Ball.

Zombie Dash
Downtown Grand Rapids
Oct. 20, 6:45 p.m., 
$39-$45 for runners/walkers, 
free for zombies (in zombie garb)

Fast zombies or slow zombies? It’s one of the most hotly contested debates in all of horror fandom, and it’s at the core of this one-of-a-kind event in GR. Fusing fitness with fear, this fun 5K pits runners against your more traditionally slow “zombies,” who will shock and scare as they attempt to rip away participants’ “life strips.” It’s all in good fun, with cider and goodies at the finish line, and costume prizes for the best zombie volunteers.

Thriller! Chiller! Film Festival
Wealthy Theatre
1130 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids
Oct. 23-27

Primarily a showcase for cult classics and independent genre films, this annual festival celebrates all things action, horror and sci-fi. For more than a decade, it has pulled in works from around the globe, debuted the work of local filmmakers, and offered fans in-depth discussions of some of the best horror flicks of all time.

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