Our Halloween Picks

Nosferatu at the VSO

Cinema’s original Dracula doesn’t get much creepier, with Max Schreck’s twisted Count Orlok an emblematic silhouette for everything that’s truly scary. The doyenne of film criticism, Pauline Kael, called F.W. Murnau’s 1922 chiller, “superbly loathsome . . . more spectral atmosphere, more ingenuity, and more imaginative ghoulish ghastliness than any of its successors”. With a live score performed by the VSO and conducted by Gillian Anderson – a musicologist renowned for her work with silent movies – this special presentation promises to be a multi-sensory treat. And fear not, it may be the symphony, but you can still come in character. Prizes will be awarded for the best Halloween costumes among the audience. Orpheum Theatre, October 30, 7.30 pm. Tickets $35 to $45, with discounts for children and students.

The Phantom Carriage at the Vancity Theatre

Another classic presented with live music, albeit with a more cutting edge. Vancouver’s Funerary Call return after last year’s extraordinary Halloween screening of Haxan, to perform their original score – commissioned by the Vancity – for Victor Sjöström’s 1921 supernatural spine chiller. A rarity on the big screen, the film’s influence has been significant – the scene in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining where Jack Nicholson wields the axe, included. (Note: the Canadian Horror Show series starts here October 29, with a veritable smorgasbord of cult and classic nightmares for your delectation. See Viff.org) The Phantom Carriage screens October 31 and November 1 at 7pm. Tickets $20.

Horror triple bill at the Cinematheque

Settle in for a night of freaks and frights as the Cinematheque triple hits, beginning with Werner Herzog’s 1979 homage to Murnau, Nosferatu the Vampyre, starring the inimitable Klaus Kinski as the fanged one, and moving on to a brand new restoration of cult 1973 British folk horror The Wicker Man, set on a Scottish island and starring no less than Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland. David Lynch’s relentlessly bizarre Eraserhead is the cherry to top the bill. You are implored to come in costume. October 31 at 6.30 pm. Tickets at $20 for adults and 18$ for students and seniors.

Beetlejuice at the Rio

So, the kids are too full of sugar to sleep, and you, frankly, need a laugh. Keep your death mask on and head out to this all ages late-night screening of Tim Burton’s hugely entertaining ghost story starring Michael Keaton, Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin. Costumes are not just encouraged, they score you a discount on the door. October 31, 11.30 pm. Tickets $8 at the door and $6 in advance or in costume.

Fright Nights at the PNE

This classic Vancouver Halloween event combines multiple Halloween attractions into one big scare for ages 12 and over. Face your fears at PNE’s Playland amusement park, which transforms into a spooky landscape consisting of six haunted houses, 12 rides and a freaky sideshow: The Monsters of Schlock. Open October 11 to November 2. Ticket prices range from $25 to $79.

Halloween at FlyOver Canada

One of Vancouver’s hot new attractions, the flight simulation program FlyOver Canada, has put together a creepy yet family-friendly flight through the night sky. Open daily from October 10 to November 2. Tickets are $9.95 for kids ages 4-17 and $16.95 for 18+.

Parade of Lost Souls

One of the only Halloween parades in all of Canada, the Parade of Lost Souls goes down on Saturday, November 1 in Commercial Drive neighbourhood. The starting point will not be revealed the day of the walk. This is a costumed, grassroots event. The suggested donation for participating is $5.

Stanley Park Ghost Train

Hands down the best pick for family-friendly fun, Stanley Park Ghost Train takes passengers on a creative, magical and acceptably eerie ride through the forest at night, spooked up by the talented performers of Mortal Coil Performance Society. Open from October 10 to November 1. It’s $11 for adults and $7 for ages 3 to 17.