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From haunted houses and light shows to comedy and concerts, the spooky season is back on this year
Legends Of Horror brings slickly designed scares to Casa Loma.
Massive Halloween parties are not on this year, but the spooky season is certainly a lot more open than it was last year.
Restaurants, clubs and concert venues are open with capacity restrictions, so there are a few IRL concerts and parties happening in addition to the usual haunted houses and outdoor walks. The big haunted walks and horror “scream parks” have moved the scares outdoors, while the indoor haunted house offerings are physically distanced.
There are also a few family-friendly drive-in events if actors dressed as Stephen King characters, animatronic ghouls and prop cadavers dangling from meat hooks are too intense for your night out. Here are the best Halloween events happening in and around Toronto this year.
NOW critic Glenn Sumi called this haunted house at the Toronto landmark “more Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft than Eli Roth.” The walk through the castle grounds and subterranean corridors mixes live performers with slickly designed animatronic frights and even includes a bar and lounge area.
To October 31. Casa Loma (1 Austin Terrace). $30-$55. legendsofhorror.ca
This maze-like walk behind Etobicoke Italian restaurant Mamma Martino’s – and next door to Tom’s Dairy Freeze – delivers plenty of jumps (via live performers and animatronic creatures) during a disorienting trip through a haunted courtyard and into a series of slasher-movie-style interior sets.
To October 31. 7 McIntosh. Thu & Sun 7-11 pm, Fri-Sat 7 pm-midnight. $20. martinomanor.com
Now in its 28th year, the “scream park” has relocated to a larger space in Vaughan so there’s plenty of room for its 120 live performers to remain physically distanced. The outdoor maze is housed under a 15,000-square-foot open tent so rain doesn’t scare away business. There are also midway rides, food trucks and stage shows.
To October 31. Assembly Park (80 Interchange Way, Vaughan). $14.95-$44.95. screemers.ca
The massive theme park north of the city turns into a “scream park” with a variety of things to do – and all the indoor scares have moved outside due to pandemic protocols. In addition to Canada’s Wonderland’s usual rides, there are a series of haunted attractions, horror walks, live music, freak show performances, comedy shows and more.
To October 31. Canada’s Wonderland (95 Jane, Vaughan). $33.99 and up. canadaswonderland.com
Drive-thru light attractions have become a big thing during COVID. This 2.5-kilometre drive puts a Halloween twist on the experience, promising 70 per cent new content this year.
To November 8. Country Heritage Park (8560 Tremaine Road, Milton). $39-$89 per vehicle. pumpkinsafterdark.com
Mindreader Jaymes White brings back his intimate, two-hour haunted experience, which invites groups of 13-16 people to walk to a historical site, learn about it and then participate in a Victorian séance.
To November 27. Meet outside the Red Cardinal Tavern (555 Burnamthorpe, Unit 102). $66.66 per person. jaymeswhite.com
This Halloween-themed pop-up bar is aimed at horror, goth and metal fans. It promises nightly shows, “immersive” decor and a mysterious back-room in addition to a selection of over-the-top cocktails. There will be a $20 cover charge on weekends and nights with live performances – for patrons who are not in costume.
October 14-31. 866 Bloor West. 5 pm-2 am. blacklagoonpopup.com
The producers of this RuPaul’s Drag Race tour have promised to up the set design quality with a zombie-themed show that brings top performers from season 13 and a handful of the reality competition’s recent winners together on the same bill.
October 16. Meridian Hall (1 Front East). 8 pm. $65-$85. ticketmaster.ca
If the horror walks are too intense for your kids (and you), this drive-in movie experience is offering family-friendly scares. During nightly screenings of Goosebumps and Scream, choreographed actors and dancers will appear around your vehicle to create a “movie within a movie” experience timed to the action on screen.
October 26-31. Ontario Place (955 Lake Shore West). 6:30 pm & 10 pm. $50 per vehicle. ontarioplace.com
The annual covers show featuring members of local indie bands dressing up and performing as their musical heroes turns 10 this year and runs over two nights. The grand finale at Lee’s Palace will take place over two floors and feature tributes to Kate Bush, Oasis, Shania Twain, Spinal Tap, the Strokes, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Garbage and more.
October 29 at Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen West), October 30 at Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor West). Doors 7:30 pm. $15. showclix.com
Recently revived west-end venue Parkdale Hall is hosting a community-oriented Halloween affair, featuring comedy, a craft makers market, trivia and eats and treats courtesy of Sausage Party Toronto.
October 30. Parkdale Hall (1605 Queen West). 1-7 pm. $40. eventbrite.ca
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