Grown-up haunts for Halloween

This year you'll have no excuse for waiting until the last minute to make Halloween plans – we've made it easy for you. Check out our list of boo-zy bashes that start this weekend. All you have to figure out is your costume.

Costume balls

The 24th Annual Halloween Thriller Costume Ball helps kick off the spooky festivities this year at The Big Chill. Costumes are highly encouraged – including a cheaper entry fee for those who participate. What to expect: A mature crowd ranging in age from the late 20s to mid-40s. 8 p.m. Saturday. 911 E. Morehead St. $10 for those in costume; $20 without. E-mail partyczar@ yahoo.com for more information.

The Gravedigger's Ball is easily one of the biggest Halloween parties each year. This year, it will be even bigger. Pop singer Katy Perry headlines the annual party in the Dixie's Tavern parking lot. Best costume wins $1,500. What to expect: Thousands of young partygoers (ages 18 and up) drinking to stay warm in the October chill. Doors open Saturday at 6 p.m. 301 E. Seventh St. $15. www.dixiescharlotte.com.

Bill Hanna's Vintage Dance Band will get the dance party started at the HannaWeen Costume Contest at Grand Central Events. What to expect: Older couples doing such dances as the foxtrot, shag, swing and cha-cha. Free dance lessons start at 7 p.m. Monday. 1000 Central Ave. $20 (includes $10 food and drink voucher). 704-373-1699.

Each year, NV Lounge goes all out in transforming the Lake Norman venue into a haunted club for the annual Boo Bash. Bartenders will be concocting creepy drink specials all night. A prize of $1,000 is up for grabs for best costume (you must register before 11 p.m.). What to expect: A young, diverse crowd grinding to Top 40 hits. 9 p.m. Oct. 31. 20924 Torrence Chapel Road. $15. www.nvlounge.net.

This Halloween is a first for the bars at EpiCentre and they're doing it big. Howl at the Moon, Whisky River and Suite will all be hosting their own parties. Choose from Heaven & Hell at Howl, Whisky-Ween and Suite's Immortals Ball. Costume prizes will be awarded at all three venues. What to expect: Mostly young professionals in their mid-20s. 9 p.m. Oct. 31. 210 E. Trade St. Suite tickets are $10. Howl is offering free admission with a costume. $7 cover at Whisky. www.whiskyrivercharlotte.com;

www.suitecharlotte.com; www.howlatthemoon.com.

The Garden & Gun Club will also host its first Halloween party – appropriately named Midnight in the Garden: A Southern Gothic Ball. Motto? “We're gonna do some bad, bad things.” What to expect: A diverse mix of people of all ages, races and sexual orientations getting lost in the house music. 9 p.m. Oct. 31. 820 Hamilton St. $15. http://thegardenandgunclub.com.

Headbangers only

Celebrate hard rock at Alley Cat's Fangbangers Ball. Crashbox will perform and DJ Tech Support will be spinning the classic rock. Deadly drink specials and costume prizes will be given away all night. What to expect: Young professionals who like a casual uptown atmosphere and aren't afraid to let their hair down. 9 p.m. Saturday. 314 N. College St. $7. www.thealleycat.com.

This year's CarnEVIL will be a two-night event starting Oct. 31 at Amos' Southend. Entertainment includes live music from the Lights Fluorescent and Black Lagoon, a performance by Big Mamma's House of Burlesque, and a zombie fashion show. What to expect: An eclectic crowd ranging in age from 21 to 60 who support local music and the arts community. Proceeds benefit DrumStrong and the Levine Children's Hospital. 8 p.m. Oct. 31-Nov. 1. 1423 S. Tryon St. $25 in advance, $35 at the door. www.amossouthend.com.

Prepare for metal mayhem at the Headbanger's Halloween Ball. The Joe Davis Band and Luna's Lament, will join forces for a rock concert to help raise awareness about breast cancer. Proceeds benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Great prizes will be raffled off, including a Michael Kelly Custom Valor electric guitar. Costumes are encouraged, but not required. What to expect: Mostly rock fans in their 20s and 30s. 9 p.m. Nov. 1. Sylvia Theater. 27 N. Congress St., York, S.C. $10.