Get out the candy corn and start carving those pumpkins—Halloween, a perfect holiday, is fast approaching. While many Halloween activities in 2020 were subdued or outright canceled due to the pandemic, Triangle residents still managed to make the most of the holiday by dressing up in elaborate costumes and adorning their houses and storefronts with orange-and-black decor.

This year, though, with restrictions loosened, there are plenty of events for locals to partake in, from a kid-friendly pumpkin send-off to a haunted trolley ride meant for only the bravest adults. Plan your nights accordingly by checking out the INDY’s roundup of eight intriguing options for your Halloween this year.

Go on a haunted trolley ride

Raleigh residents know that there’s no location in the area creepier than the Mordecai House on Mimosa Street. Not only was the home built in 1785, making it older than the city itself, but legend also has it that the ghost of one of its late former residents, Mary Willis, haunts its walls. Curious? See the house in all of its spooky glory this Halloween on the Haunted Trolley, which takes riders on a late-night tour of downtown Raleigh’s most (supposedly) haunted spots. Hitch a ride on October 29 or 30 for $10 a ticket.

Indulge in “Boos & Booze” with farm animals

If you’re looking for an adults-only celebration but your fear tolerance isn’t what it used to be, Chapel Hill’s Spring Haven Farm has just the thing for you. At “Boos & Booze,” guests are given a full range of the farm to check out all the animals, along with drink tokens, a Halloween treat bag, and the option to enjoy henna, tarot card readings, and other activities. The 21+ event takes place on October 28, and tickets go for $55 each.

Get the spookiest car wash of your life

In the mood for something a little different? Get in your vehicle and head to the car wash, because not one but two Triangle businesses are offering haunted versions of the cleaning process this year. At the Car Wash Lodge in Garner, drivers can go through the “Tunnel of Lost Souls” for an interactive ghoulish experience, while Raleigh’s Splash Car Wash promises a “​frightening night of clowns, car washes, shakes and shivers” to drivers​ who dare to participate in its “Night of Nightmares.” The Car Wash Lodge event occurs on October 29 and 30 from seven to ten p.m., for $24 per car until the day of the event or $30 on-site; the Splash Car Wash event will be on October 29, 30, and 31 from 8 to 11 p.m. for $20 per car.

Watch The Nightmare Before Christmas outside in the park

Every Friday between October 15 and November 12, Moore Park in Downtown Raleigh plays home to Cinema in the Square, where visitors can take in a classic movie and some pre-show entertainment under the stars. Keeping in the Halloween spirit, the October 29 edition will feature pumpkin painting, a costume contest, and other themed activities, followed by a screening of the 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas. The event is free, with food for purchase available on-site.

Show off your dog’s Halloween attire

Dog owners, this one is for you. Hi-Wire Brewing in Durham is holding “Pup-O-Ween,” aka a costume contest and celebration for canines and their owners. Dogs will be judged in categories including scariest and “Bartenders’ Choice,” so make sure your pup is in its best, and most creative, form. The event is on October 29 from six to eight p.m., with the free-to-enter contest starting at seven.

Go on a costumed bike ride with a brewery

Plenty of Triangle breweries and taprooms are hosting Halloween-themed events this year, but Crank Arm Brewing Company’s especially caught our attention. The downtown Raleigh spot is offering a group bike ride, where costumed riders will decorate their bikes, take a stroll through town, and compete for prizes. It’s happening on October 30 from six to eight thirty p.m., and it’s free to participate—just make sure you bring your helmet and motivation!

Experience a phantasmagoria, if you dare

For those who prefer their Halloween celebrations to be more eerie than full-out scary, the Duke Homestead State Historic Site and Tobacco Museum in Durham is offering a “Halloween Phantasmagoria,” where visitors can wander the property while learning about spiritualism and—maybe—encountering some surprises. Just take it from the event copy, which promises that it will be “unlike any other Halloween experience.” If you dare, buy a $10 ticket and stop by the Homestead on October 29 from six thirty to nine thirty p.m. All ages are welcome, but those with young kids might want to sit this one out.

Give your pumpkins an epic farewell

What better way to close out October than by saying goodbye to your good ol’ pumpkins? At Bond Park in Cary, attendees of the Pumpkin Flotilla bring their own jack-o’-lanterns and watch them set sail across the lake—at twilight, of course. If you want to be even closer to the action, you can hop on a boat ride; discounted tickets are available to those who enter a pumpkin or sport a costume. The event on October 29 goes from four thirty to seven p.m., and the pumpkins will set sail at six thirty. They’ll be relit the next night. though (October 30th), if you’re busy on Friday but don’t want to miss out on the fun. 

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