Any conservative INDY hater worth his or her salt will tell you we're all a bunch of godless pagans, so of course, our favorite holiday is the one that dares to speak its pagan origins aloud. From haunted houses and races to haunted theater productions, you're bound to find some of our infernal staffers at any of these events come All Hallows' Eve. Bring your voodoo doll.
THE ORIGINAL HOLLYWOOD HORROR SHOW (Sep. 28–Nov. 4, 6333 Bass Mountain Road, Snow Camp) Ghosts, ghouls, goblins, and gore are such familiar elements of Halloween that they cease to be scary anymore. But at this long-running old-school haunted house—the largest venue of its kind in the state—you'll feel those authentic chills again, thanks to professional makeup- and effects-artists who create movie-quality carnage you can feel in your viscera. Attractions include a Pirates of the Caribbean stunt show, face painting, and numerous wandering personages of the juggler/sword-fighting/ninja variety. —David Klein
THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW & OTHER HAUNTED TALES (Oct. 12–29, Fletcher Opera Theater, Raleigh) No one who saw the cartoon version as a child could ever forget The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Ichabod Crane's terrifying confrontation with its famed villian, the Headless Horseman. The Washington Irving tale is now the source material for a world premiere by Carolina Ballet choreographer-in-residence Zalman Raffael and artistic director Robert Weiss, rounded out with some other spooky ballet treats for an evening of high-culture, family-friendly scares. —Brian Howe
DAY OF THE DEAD 5K & STREET FESTIVAL (Oct. 28, downtown Raleigh) The Day of the Dead is an ancient Mexican holiday that commemorates loved ones who have passed on, but it is also a celebration of life. Now in its seventh year, the Day of the Dead 5K footrace and street festival in downtown Raleigh features altars to leave offerings for missed friends and family, but the focus is on the here and now: a healthy run (through Oakwood Cemetery, naturally), a race for young ones, music, costumes, and a free margarita for old-enough participants from Gallo Pelón. —DK
HOMEGROWN HALLOWEEN (Oct. 31, Franklin Street, Chapel Hill) It used to be the case that, on Halloween, Chapel Hill's Franklin Street transformed into the site of a massive multiblock party that attracted costumed revelers from all over the state. In more recent years, though, town officials have focused on tempering the seasonal celebration toward a less outrageous, more family-friendly affair, with a 10:30 p.m. end time. Consider it a great opportunity for extra people watching after the kids are done trick-or-treating—or a good pregame if you're hellbent on partying hard. —Allison Hussey
TREATBAG (Dates and venue TBA) As one of his most anticipated theater productions of the fall, Byron Woods picked Sonorous Road Theatre's immersive theatrical haunted house, House of the Fury. But don't forget that Durham's Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern has been doing something similar for years in its annual Halloween fundraisers. Previous outings have transformed places like the Durham Fruit & Produce Company and Ponysaurus Brewing into immersive-theater spookfests, the latter touting "ghosts, ghouls, and circus freakazoids; horrific wounds and sadistic doctors; horror punk and Amy Winehouse (R.I.P.); cannibal children, unholy animals, and the Symbionese Liberation Army." Details on this year's outing are still shaping up as LGP prepares an ambitious premiere, but watch their website for more on this Halloween trick/treat. —BH