Get into the spirit with Van Mag’s guide to Halloween in Vancouver

A roundup of the best Halloween themed entertainment the city has to offer.

Halloween is the time for celebrating all that is horrifying. Its origins can be traced to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would ignite bonfires and don costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. Nowadays it seems Halloween getups are worn to attract living folks (yes, you, French maid) and the enigmatic roots of this eerie holiday are seemingly disappearing. There are however, various factions of creative types throughout the city who have staged some intriguing events to get you in the Halloween spirit and save you from an a-typical keg party. Unless that’s your thing, of course.

Haunted Houses

chinatown2Judge Dee’s Chinatown Haunted HouseThe Seven Tyrants Theatre Society has transformed a classical Chinese garden into a haunted house inspired by the gruesome stories of Judge Dee, China’s Sherlock Holmes. Featuring over 25 actors, dancers and musicians, this production is intended for thrill seekers and not the faint of heart.Oct. 30-31, open 7 pm-10 pm Tickets: $12-$14, 604-662-3207 Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, 578 Carrall St. Fearmongers Haunted House: Myths & MonstersThe ancient gods are enraged with mankind in this mythology themed haunted house. In order to evade their wrath, you must travel through rooms with traps, monsters and obstacles. At the finale of this haunting, ambrosia (in the form of beer) is available at the Granville Island Brewing VIP lounge.Oct. 30-Nov.22, open 6pm-1amTickets: $67-$87 (partial proceeds donated to the BC Children’s Hospital), 604-619-42215-14211 Burrows Rd., Richmond

Tours and Ghost Stories

outdoor-tourThe Lost Souls of Gastown: Gothic Halloween AdventureTraipse along the cobblestone streets and darkened alleys of Gastown as a Forbidden Vancouver storyteller transports you back to the 1800s. This walking tour explores the city’s early history as a violent frontier town of hustlers, thieves, bawdy girls and vagabonds.Oct. 30-31, tours starting at 7 pm, 8 pm, and 9 pm Tickets: $19-$22, 604-839 3126Tours depart from Cathedral Square (across from Holy Rosary Cathedral at Dunsmuir & Richards Streets)The Vancouver Trolley Company: Haunted Vancouver Trolley TourTake in tales of murder, gore, and apparitions while travelling on this eerie trolley tour through the streets of Vancouver. Highlights include Stanley Park, the mansions of Shaughnessy, Mountain View Cemetary and the morgue at the Vancouver Police Museum.Oct. 30-31, tours starting at 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm and 9:30pm Tickets: $40, 604-801-5515, 1-888-451-5581 Tours depart from Canada Place, 999 Canada Pl.

Halloween Nouveau

orpheumThe VSO presents A Halloween Spectacular Take a seat within this former vaudeville movie palace and listen as the music of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra weaves a haunting narrative. Conducted by John Morris Russell with vocals by Carman J. Price, pieces include classics like Modest Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” and Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” as well as selections from Phantom of the Opera, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Harry Potter.Oct. 30-31, 8pm Tickets: $19-$95, 604-876-3434 Orpheum Theatre, 601 Smithe StVancouver TheatreSports League presents Halloween Monster MatchThe Vancouver TheatreSports League pairs its customary improv competition with the festive elements of Halloween: costumes, haunting décor, and themed beverages (Witches Brew anyone?). After two onstage shows, the night is rounded off with a costume parade and dance party.Oct. 31, 7:30pm Tickets: $25-$39, 604-738-7013 ext. 21 The Improv Centre, 1502 Duranleau Street Photo Credits from top: Kiri Marr for The Lost Souls of Gastown, Seven Tyrants Theatre for Chinatown Haunted House, Suzanne Rushton for The Lost Souls of Gastown, Vancouver TheatreSports League for Halloween Monster Match