Halloween is less than two weeks away, and several spooky events in the Boone area are taking place in the days leading up to the holiday. Whether students want to be scared at a haunted trail, participate in a costume contest or simply eat, dance and socialize with friends, there are plenty of Halloween celebrations on campus and throughout the community to choose from. Read further to learn more about a few of these events and attractions, and have a happy Halloween in the High Country!
Spooky Duke Race and Costume Contest
The seventh annual Spooky Duke Race and Costume Contest will be held on Oct. 28 at Appalachian State University in the Raley/Peacock parking lot.
The Spooky Duke Race proceeds benefit the Parent to Parent Family Support Network of the High Country. All of the money raised helps support their work to help local families in need.
According to the event’s press release, “The program, housed in Appalachian’s Reich College of Education, provides free support, caring connections, information and hope to families who have a premature baby, a child with a disability, an emotional or behavioral challenge, a mental illness, a chronic health condition or to families who are grieving the death of a child.”
The Parent to Parent Family Support Network not only benefits Watauga County, but also supports families in Alleghany, Ashe, Mitchell, Wilkes and Yancey counties.
The Halloween-themed race is a 5K and 10K run certified by USA Track & Field. The Spooky Duke race includes a free costume march for adults, children and dogs.
According to the event’s press release, “Costumes are encouraged for everyone!”
Other activities at Spooky Duke include free activities for children from 8 to 10:30 a.m., free childcare for registered runners during this time, music, photo booths, prizes for costumes and prizes for the top three female and male runners in both the 5K and 10K races.
Registration for the event is open through Oct. 25, and the race is $20 for the 5k and $30 for the 10K. For an additional $2, participants will receive an emailed finish line photograph.
Tweetsie Railroad Ghost Train
Another spooky attraction in the High Country is the Tweetsie Railroad Ghost Train. The Ghost Train is a Halloween event that highlights the autumn scenery and spookiest time of the year in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Ghost Train is on Friday and Saturday nights from Sept. 22 to Oct. 28. North Carolina’s first theme park, Tweetsie Railroad, transforms at night into a haunted park. The Ghost Train leaves every 30 minutes on a chilling and haunting journey.
Once on the Ghost Train, a video plays informing the riders of the situation outside of the train ride. The theme of the video changes every year. This year, riders can expect fire, explosions and terrifying sets along the ride. Actors on the train enhance the spookiness of the pitch-black Blue Ridge Mountains.
Admission for Tweetsie Ghost Train is free for children under 2 years old and $38 per person over 2 years old, which includes a ride on the Ghost Train and access to other Halloween attractions at Tweetsie, including the Haunted House, Halloween Shows on Main Street, Trick-or-Treating, Tweetsie Palace Spooktacular, rides in the Creepy Carnival, Warp Tunnel, the Black Hole, 3-D maze and the Freaky Forest.
According to Tweetsie Railroad’s website, “It’s safe, scary fun for the whole family! Kids will enjoy the Halloween shows and trick-or-treating. And take a chilling journey into the night as we return to Area 12 on the Ghost Train– if you dare!”
Haunted Horn: The Curse of the Wendigo
Hosted by Appalachian Mountain Brewery’s We Can So You Can Foundation, the Curse of the Wendigo is a self-described “fully immersive haunted trail experience.” Every Friday and Saturday in the month of October, located at Horn in the West’s Daniel Boone Amphitheater, a team of 40 people will seek to transport visitors back in time.
The trail centers around a colonial captain named Joshua who brings a terrible curse to a small Appalachian settlement. Visitors’ experiences will be determined by their own choices during the haunted trail, leading to an interactive experience.
Appalachian Mountain Brewery’s director of retail operations, Danny Wilcox, describes Boone’s first haunted trail as “half theatrical production, half haunted trail.” With over three months of production put into the Curse of the Wendigo by AMB and the Southern Appalachian Historical Association, the team expects 1,500 to 2,000 visitors every night. In addition, Wilcox hopes that the trail will help bring more awareness to what the Southern Appalachian Historical Association does for the community, which is to raise awareness of the Blue Ridge Mountain region’s cultural heritage through education and entertainment.
Tickets are available online or at the event. The Curse of the Wendigo costs $13 online, or $18 at the door.
The Pagan Student Association Halloween Ball
Appalachian’s Pagan Student Association will be celebrating the fall season with their annual Halloween Ball, which will take place on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Linville Falls room in Plemmons Student Union.
“It is one of our biggest events during this semester,” Danika Mosher, a senior studio art major and member of the Pagan Student Association, said. “We provide a fun environment for people to gather and dance in a safe space on campus.”
In addition to dancing, the ball will also include a costume contest and a baking contest. Local restaurants and stores have provided a variety of prizes for the winners.
This year, the Pagan Student Association is honoring their 15th anniversary and they hope to make this Halloween Ball a special one.
“Our celebration consists of continuing our mission of providing an open-minded environment for religious exploration, while also serving as educators on the diversity in our community,” Mosher said.
Early purchase ticket prices are $3 for Pagan Student Association members and $5 for non-members. At the door, it is $5 for members and $7 for non-members.
Story By: Julianne Blaylock, A&E Reporter, and Olivia Reich, Intern A&E Reporter
Photos By: Halle Keighton, Photo Editor; Julianne Blaylock, A&E Reporter; and courtesy of Ashley Abernathy