GEEK GIRL GUIDE TO HALLOWEEN IN OTTAWA
By Marie Victoria Robertson
If you’re like me, you think of Halloween as more of a lifestyle than a holiday. For one month out of the year, I subsist on candy corn, conversation about who’s dressing up as what, and feasting my eyes on amazing, geek-themed pumpkins (I once carved a Jack Skellington but it feels like I shamed my pumpkin in comparison to those. Sorry, pumpkin). If you want to party or keep it low-key with only one outing or two, here’s a list of fun Halloween things to keep you busy in Ottawa this month.
SPOOK YOUR KIDS
For those with little spawns this Halloween, you can enjoy a family-friendly scare at Saunders Farm with their pumpkin patch and wagon rides (and do check out their Fright Night selections for those minus kids), learn about the Day of Dead (and the story behind sugar skulls) with Dora and Diego at the Children’s Museum, or take them to see Pumpkinferno, the beautiful display of hand-carved pumpkins at Upper Canada Village.
HEROES & VILLAINS: “MADNESS AT THE ASYLUM”
Halloween season for the geek community is nothing without a stop at the annual Heroes & Villains party. Don your best hero costume (or villain, they’re more fun) and head over to the Ottawa Curling Club on November 1st at 8:30pm. Check the Facebook group to find out where you can buy you tickets. There will be prizes for most awesomest costume, so work extra hard!
EVENTS AT BILLINGS ESTATE
For those who might want a calmer spook experience, Billings Estate National Historic Site is hosting a few Halloween events such as offerings by the Ottawa StoryTellers on October 16, 17 and 18, and an Edwardian séance on October 26 and 27. Contact the Facebook group for more information and to reserve your spot.
THE HAUNTED CARNIVAL
In the mood for a night of Halloween glitz and glamour on October 31st? To quote the Haunted Carnival’s Facebook event page: “The event blends the excitement and elegance of a Hollywood Halloween spectacle - with the mystique and decor of travelling carnivals from the 19th Century.” The admission is a bit steep at $50 for students and $70 regular, but it sounds like quite the show!
HAUNTED WALK OF OTTAWA: “INCIDENT AT THE BUNKER”
The always-reliable Haunted Walk of Ottawa has a few special Halloween-themed walks, but the icing on the cake is the “Incident at the Bunker” tour, which takes place at the Diefenbunker every weekend until November 1st. Did you know some wacky experiments took place there a couple of decades ago? Go back in time and find out what was so terrifying! (Hint—it’s zombies). I tried out the tour the first year it started and let me tell you, it’s bloody fun to run from zombies in the bunker cafeteria, or to shoot them before they can get too close to your group—yes, with Nerf guns, but does it really matter? Zombies!
CATCH THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW AT THE MAYFAIR THEATRE
If parties and zombies aren’t your things, you can always sit back, relax, and do the Time Warp again at the Mayfair Theatre, which will be showing Rocky Horror Picture Show Fridays and Saturdays starting October 24th. Bring your popcorn, party hats, newspapers and water guns, and enjoy a stellar shadow cast (a live cast acting out the movie all around you) that will make you shiver with antici…..pation
KEEP IT MELLOW
For those looking for a quiet night at home once the trick-or-treaters are gone, you can’t go wrong with a good scary movie. You can stick to a classic like The Exorcist (until you don’t mind the backwards crab-walk at all) or Hellraiser (if you ask me, Pinhead beats all other classic horror villains) or revisit a childhood classic like Beetlejuice or Hocus Pocus (I think Billy Butcherson the zombie was one of my first creepy childhood crushes).
For an even mellower night, get yourself some Halloween-themed bath goodies from Lush and grab a good book. May I propose The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, The Helllbound Heart and The Books of Blood by Clive Barker, an old creepy classic like The Horla by Guy de Maupassant or a modern horror like John Dies at the End by David Wong?
Just remember to sleep with the lights on.
Marie Victoria Robertson is a published speculative fiction writer and playwright, as well as the board president of Jer’s Vision: Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative (www.jersvision.org). When all the other girls wanted to marry Johnny Depp, she wanted to run away with Worf on the Enterprise. She enjoys giant robots, time-travel paradoxes, and forcing her son to watch Futurama.