No bones about it, Wilmington has a justifiable claim to being the most spook-friendly city in North Carolina.
Being on the Cape Far River helped make it a major port as early as the 1730s, and the older the town the greater the number of allegedly supernatural sites. Being home to EUE Screen Gems Studios – where TV shows “Sleepy Hollow” and “Under the Dome” were filmed, as well as horror films such as “The Conjuring” – helps keep that spirit active.
So it’s no surprise that Wilmington goes all-out for Halloween, which is next weekend.
Among the activities:
Battleship North Carolina holds a kid-oriented Batty Battleship’s Haunted Bash – 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday (www.battleshipnc.com/Events/BattyBattleshipsHalloweenBash).
Youngsters may also like the Halloween Ghost Trolley & Barn tours, 6-9 p.m. Thursday-Oct. 31. Info on the horse-drawn trolley: www.horsedrawntours.com/id2.
Also family-friendly: “Trick or Treat Under the Sea,” 4:30-8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher, in nearby Kure Beach. Details: www.ncaquariums.com/archives/27555.
Maybe OK for older children
Thursday and Oct. 30 at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, also in Kure Beach, there’s a guided nighttime Haunted Trail Tour. Advance reservations required: www.ncparks.gov/fort-fisher-state-recreation-area.
Poplar Grove Plantation will stage a “Haint Blue Paranormal Ghost Tour” at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. Friday of its manor house. Details: www.poplargrove.org/festivals.
Fond of scary movies? The Bellamy Mansion has back-to-back screenings of “Labyrinth” and “Cape Fear” Friday and Oct. 31. Details: www.bellamymansion.org/calendar.
For a more distant entertainment throwback, the famous 1938 “War of the Worlds” radio show will be restaged at 8 p.m. Friday at the Cape Fear Community College’s Humanities & Fine Arts Center. Tickets: www.cfcc.edu/capefearstage.
The campy classic “The Rocky Horror Show” will be staged live by City Stage at its Front Street venue the evenings of Oct. 30-31. Tickets: www.citystageco.com (click “Come See the Show”).
Another option for grown-up live entertainment: Theatre Now’s current dinner theater offering is “A Zombie, a Vampire, and a Werewolf Walk Into a Bar...” Tickets: www.theatrewilmington.com.
And there are themed on-foot tours: “Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington” and “Haunted Pub Crawl.” Both are offered throughout the year. Get tickets (either tour) at www.hauntedwilmington.com, or get them at 8 Market St., a downtown novelty/souvenir store called The Black Cat Shoppe, which you might recognize from TV: It was the CD shop in two Wilmington-filmed series: “Dawson’s Creek” and “One Tree Hill.”
That’s just a two-block howl from 201 S. Water St. – the Museum of the Bizarre. Its evenings-only Museum of Nightmares is staged Fridays-Sundays through Oct. 31, and its displays of oddities can be viewed by day throughout the year. Details: www.facebook.com (search for “Museum-of-the-Bizarre”).
Ghosts on the coast
Wilmington is 3 1/2 hours southeast of Charlotte, via U.S. 74 East.
Area info: www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com.