While many ghouls and gals set their sights on Halloween for their costume festivities, ghost and zombie events run throughout the month and into November. Tacoma Art Museum is partnering with Centro Latino and Proyecto MoLÉ once again to celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) beginning on Oct. 21, culminating with a free festival on Nov. 4. This eighth annual, free festival has grown to be the museum’s largest annual community event, bringing in more than 3,700 visitors. Anchoring the opening of the festivities will be artist Fulgencio Lazo and his team filling the museum’s lobby with a colorful, round, floral-inspired tapete (sand painting). This year’s tapete will be an exploration of flowers in honor of the marigolds so important to the Día de los Muertos celebration, as well as the upcoming exhibition “Andy Warhol’s Flowers for Tacoma,” opening Nov. 3. Día de los Muertos is an ancient celebration of the eternal cycle of life. The holiday combines centuries of indigenous practices with contemporary traditions and spiritual beliefs. Observed in Mexican and other Latin American communities, the holiday is a symbolic way to honor relatives and friends who have died. More information is available at http://www.TacomaArtMuseum.org.
A new addition to the local fright scene comes from a partnership between Goodwill Industries and Washington State History Museum for “Creepshow: Terror in Tacoma,” a haunted house of frightening displays of scary things through the last century of pop culture. The attraction was developed by Hollywood special effects artist Marcel Banks, who worked on “FaceOff” and “Chronicles of Riddick”, and museum staff. Proceeds benefit Washington State Historical Society. While attending “Creepshow,” visitors can stop by Goodwill’s Boo-Teek, a Halloween costume wonderland. “Creepshow: Terror in Tacoma” runs Oct. 25, 26 and 27. Tickets are $13. Visit http://www.creepshowtacoma.com for more information.
The Witches' Ball 2012 is being tagged as the premier event for all things pagan. Set to go down at 6 p.m. on Oct. 27 at Dryer Masonic Center, witches and warlocks can expect divinations and door prizes. There will be a ritual by Mahlora of Mahloran Green Craft as well as live music by Green Fey and DJ Dave's Dance Music. Tickets available at http://www.terratacoma.org and Crescent Moon Gifts and Ubiquitous Journey. Tickets are $20 single/$35 couple or $25 each at the door.
LeMay’s Halloween Trunk-or-Treat car event will run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 27, at LeMay’s Marymount Event Center. The free event is suitable for all ages as LeMay provides a safe environment for families to enjoy an inexpensive afternoon of Halloween fun. Costumed children will trick-or-treat outdoors by going from car trunk to car trunk to get their bag filled with goodies. Families, individuals or groups host and decorate a trunk and provide candy to be given out to the children at the event. Trick or Treat on Antique Row runs from noon to 5 p.m. on Oct 31 at Tacoma's Antique Row as a way to promote local businesses as well as provide parents a place to bring their little ghosts and goblins down to the heart of Tacoma for safe and fun trick-or-treating. Zoo Boo at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium takes over from the complex on Oct 20. This all-ages event includes a chance to watch animals enjoy special pumpkin enrichments and see how creative zookeepers are at designing their jack-o-lanterns. Festivities are free with zoo admission and everyone in costume will receive a $2 discount off the general zoo admission rate. The popular event features indoor and outdoor activities, camel rides, as well as treats, photos and fun. Visit PDZA.org. Bonfires, Beaver Pelts & Bogeymen Halloween Storytelling, an extremely popular event at Fort Nisqually, returns at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26. Visitors can celebrate Halloween in the style of past centuries with ghost stories told around a roaring bonfire in the meadow outside the fort’s walls. Visit http://www.Fortnisqually.org.
A "Dawn of the Dead Dash" is set to take over downtown Tacoma on Oct. 26. This scavenger hunt turned survival race is an exciting “life-changing” adventure run through the streets of Tacoma, with humans running for safety as zombies set to pounce. There will be blood, lots and lots of blood. Participants will be asked to challenge themselves to see if they can escape death and remain human as a rapidly growing zombie population infects the city. Prizes will be awarded to the top male and female human finishers as well as the zombie who infects the most human participants, as well as honors going to top costumes in human and non-human categories. The race is simple. Get to from point A to point B before being tagged by a zombie. If a human runner is infected with the virus, he or she then becomes a zombie and their hunt for humans begins. Tickets are $35. Information is available at http://www.Dawnofthedeaddash.com.
The 2012 Corn Maze, Pumpkin Patch and Harvest of Terror are now open at Maris Farms, which is presenting a tribute to firefighters. The scare crew is back in force, however, with a trio of haunts that will fan those flames of fear with the all-new Harvest of Terror that includes The Haunted Woods, The Reaping and The Monster Safari. Now in its 13th season at the quaint and historic dairy farm location in Buckley, fall attractions featured also include: zip lines, Tractor Tire Mountain, pumpkin patch, pig races, tractor rides around the pumpkin patch, monster truck rides and pony rides. Visit http://www.marisfarms.com.
2012 Fright Fest at Wild Waves includes all the rides, but with the added thrill of being in the dark. Visitors may wear costumes to Fright Fest but cannot have a mask or makeup that is construed as a mask. Guests ages 12 and under may wear full costumes. Costumes should be child friendly, meaning they must be non-obstructive, non-offensive and non-violent. Activities run Friday and Saturday nights through the month. On the amusement park grounds, MOViN 92.5 FM radio will have Scream Factory Haunted House. Visit WildWaves.com for details. Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square will have its celebration between 4 p.m. and 7 on Oct. 31. Visitors can trick-or-treat throughout the Square, enjoy a magic show and visit a balloon artist. Children ages 6 and under and 7 to 12 can also visit freighthousesquare.com and download a special Halloween coloring contest drawing. Once completed, artwork can be dropped off at Freighthouse Square, located at 2501 E. ‘D’ St., at any store or restaurant. Prizewinners will be announced on Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. in the Freighthouse Square Art Gallery.
The granddaddy of all local haunted houses will take over Cheney Stadium with the Hill Billy Haunt, which grew larger than its previous home at Freighthouse Square could hold. Visitors must be older than 18 because the house will have scantily-clad zombies, ghouls and ghosts and blood, lots and lots of blood. Expect be frightened, excited, squirted with goo and touched, Proceeds benefit Fisher House Foundation. The house runs 7 -11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 6 p.m. to 10 on Sundays. Tickets are $13. Visit http://www.thehillbillyhaunt.com. Metro Parks’ annual Black Cat Fun Run is set for Oct. 27, when runners and walkers can get into costume, lace up those running shoes and show off their Halloween spirit on a 2.5-mile or five-mile course. This spooktacular, family-friendly event is guaranteed to turn an evening of ghoulish exercise into a howling good time. Visit http://www.metroparkstacoma.org.
Lakewood Playhouse will be staging its fifth annual live radio show with “Frankenstein” and “Chicken Heart from Lights Out,” made popular by the famous story from Bill Cosby's childhood and a special musical performance by The “Sinister” Sisters. The entire performance will be presented as if it were live in the radio studios of the 1930s and '40s, complete with live sound effects at 8 p.m. on Oct. 27. Tickets are $25. Visit http://www.lakewoodplayhouse.org.
Tacoma City Ballet will transform its studio spaces for its fourth annual production of The Haunted Theatre: Backstage Tour & Eerie Dances. The hour-long production features a tour through the Haunted Hat Check, a ghostly cemetery and TCB’s spooky wardrobe. Following the tour, guests enter the Jan Collum Ballroom to view the Eerie Dances, featuring Enchanted Marionettes, Miniature Monsters, and Mummified Cats along with dancing Witches, Ghosts, Pumpkins, Skeletons and more. Shows run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays Oct.20- 28.Tickets are $5 per person and are available at Tacoma City Ballet.