10 Ways to Get Spooky This Halloween in Vancouver

Forbidden’s Lost Souls of Gastown Tour

The ghosts and goblins are set to haunt Vancouver this month in the lead-up to Halloween. Here are 10 ideas for having a playfully scary time around the city:

Forbidden Vancouver’s Lost Souls of Gastown Tour

Will Woods

Forbidden Vancouver is bringing back their very popular, deliciously gruesome, and educational walking tour of Gastown. As Vancouver’s most historic neighbourhood, Gastown has more than its share of secrets and hauntings. For its thirteenth consecutive year, the Lost Souls of Gastown Tour will take guests back in time as a period costumed guide leads them by lamplight along the cobbled streets of the neighbourhood. The walking tour encompasses theatrical performances to make the experience as interactive and immersive as possible. Stories that will be shared and re-enacted include the murder of gold prospector John Bray, the legends surrounding Gaoler’s Mews (Vancouver’s first jail), the Great Fire, as well as exciting Gold Rush tales. Part of the proceeds (2%) will be donated to the Vancouver Urban Native Youth Association. Tours happen every night at 7pm (1.5-2 hours long) this month, with multiple times available starting October 14. Book online here.

Black Lagoon at Butcher & Bullock

Book of Blood

Since its launch in October 2021 in Toronto, the Black Lagoon has grown to become a world-wide Halloween sensation. The creation of Erin Hayes and Kelsey Ramage, the Black Lagoon is a cocktail pop-up for adults looking to experience some Halloween fun in a themed-bar environment. The return of the pop-up to Vancouver at Butcher & Bullock from October 4 to 31, 2023, promises to be even more elaborate and delicious this year, with the décor embracing “goth-metal and cult horror.” The night centres on sipping four spooky and macabre cocktails, ranging from the Book of Blood with Montelobos mezcal, Giffard piment, beet juice, lime, and miso falernum to the Death Rattle with Ford’s gin, Lustau brandy, Lustau amontillado, pineapple, lime juice, spiced oat orgeat syrup saline, Bitter Queens’ Caribbean spice bitters, mint, and nutmeg. Entry is free. Be sure to book a table here ahead of time here.

Playland’s Fright Nights

Photo: Playland’s Fright Nights

From October 6 to 31, 2023, Playland will be holding their annual Fright Nights, now celebrating its twentieth anniversary. The grounds of Playland will metamorphosed into a thrilling Halloween landscape, complete with haunted houses, scary decorations, rides, and live performances. New this year is the haunted house The Void, whose backstory involves a missing forest ranger and teens in a howling cave. Other highlights include a roving troupe called “The Carnival of Carnivorous Delight,” which features a fire eater, a contortionist, a daredevil, and a sword swallower; Carn-Evil, a house devoted to the creepy nature of clowns and other things carnivalesque; and thrills on rides such as AtmosFear and the creaky Wooden Roller Coaster. The immersive Opening Scaremonies each night at 6pm at the park entrance promises to be a great kick-off to your night at Fright Nights. Note: Fright Nights is suggested for those 13 years and older. No costumes or makeup allowed. Information and tickets can be found here.

Pumpkins After Dark

Photo: Pumpkins After Dark

Those who love pumpkins and their transformation into jack-o’-lanterns will adore Pumpkins After Dark, which take places October 6 to 31, 2023, at Swangard Stadium and Central Park in Burnaby. The fun starts with a pathway decorated with tons of carved pumpkins, with special effects, music, and other sounds to transport you to this fantastical Halloween world. Guests can also fuel up with bites from the many food trucks in attendance, be entertained by roaming performances, as well as watch live demonstrations on pumpkin carving. There were be no shortage of photo opportunities with the plethora of pumpkins on site, some with the most fearsome caved faces illuminated in the dark. Tickets can be booked here.

Vancouver Mysteries’ Ghost Patrol

Photo: Vancouver Mysteries’ Ghost Patrol

Assemble a team, get in costume, and prepare to solve a mystery involving a paranormal case together. Vancouver Mysteries, which specializes in self-guided outdoor mystery games around the city, has launched a new game called Ghost Patrol for the Halloween season. From October 13 to 31, they will be hosting 7pm Halloween Mystery Nights during which teams will solve puzzles and find clues around the downtown core, all with the chance to win prizes. The story involves paranormal forces threatening the city, so players need to have their wits about them if they want to protect the city from ghostly menaces. The game is suitable for those 12 and up (there are also kids games available) for teams of 2-6 players. Book ahead here.

HowlOver Canada

Photo: HowlOver Canada

HowlOver Canada is back from now until October 31, 2023. The ride/experience will begin with a pre-show and then take visitors on a journey with Biker Mama witch and her scary gang as they soar over Canada in the dark of night to a music festival. For those new to FlyOver Canada, the ride entails a moving platform with swivel motion so guests of all ages can immerse themselves in the projections on the screen. Added multi-sensory effects heighten the “real”ness of the flight. The Flying Whale Café is also serving Halloween-inspired goodies, such as pumpkin loaf and witches’ brew, and there are Ghosties and Tiger Moon plush toys for purchase at the gift store. Tickets are limited so book ahead here.

The Improv Centre’s Stage Fright 2: Murder at the Disco

L to R: Taylor Palmer, Maggie Onedo, Ed-Witzke; Photo by Brandon Hart Photography

Who doesn’t enjoy a whodunnit on an evening leading up to Halloween. The Improv Centre brings their usual madcap wit and energy to the second edition of their Stage Fright show, running from now until October 28 on Friday and Saturday evenings. This time it’s set in the groovy 1970s with a disco theme. The narrative takes the audience to a Diamond Disco dance marathon where the stakes are so high that someone is willing to do anything to win. In usual improv fashion, the story (and jokes) will depend on clever, silly, and/or wild audience suggestions, so no two shows are exactly alike. Even better, one audience member will get to play the (bumbling) lead detective in the second half as everyone races to figure out who committed the murder. Tickets can be booked here.

Canyon Frights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

Photo: Canyon Frights

Family-friendly Halloween fun is happening at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park during Canyon Frights, taking place October 13 to 31, 2023 during regular park hours (10am to 8pm). The park will be decked out in Halloween décor, including plenty of pumpkins, skeletons, witches, cauldrons, and other ghoulish surprises. There will be games for kids of all ages, including a Scavenger Hunt with creepy cobwebs and a Halloween colouring contest. The owls of Raptor Ridge will also make appearances from 10am to 5:30pm during the weekends. As the sun sets, the lights in the Park will add extra spooky atmosphere. Wander around the Park enjoying its many attractions, including the suspension bridge, the Cliffwalk, and the Living Forest. Tickets are available here.

Vancouver Aquarium’s Fin-tastic Fall Days

Photo: Vancouver Aquarium’s Fin-tastic Fall Days

The Vancouver Aquarium is embracing the fall and the Halloween spirit with their Fin-Tastic Fall Days, being held from now until October 31, 2023. This fun-for-the-whole-family visit is all about getting cozy and mysterious as guests learn about their 65,000 ocean creatures. Kids of all ages will marvel at the fall colours found in the many aquatic environment and tanks around the Aquarium. As well, there will be a Deep Sea Maze through a kelp forest, and kids can also interact with critters in the Spooky Wet Lab, which is decorated with cobwebs and pumpkins for Halloween. Finally, the Octopus: Blue Planet II 4-D movie is a great immersive and educational viewing on the deep ocean and the octopuses that call it home. Book tickets here.

Parade of Lost Souls

Commercial Drive’s beloved Parade of Lost Souls is back October 28, 2023, under the direction of The Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret. The event is three-fold, beginning with a family-friendly Parade of Little Souls at 6:30pm, a Parade of Lost Souls at 7:30pm and 8:30pm, and then a 19+ Lost Soul After Party from 10pm to 1am at the Wise Hall with visuals, performances, and live music. The parades start at Britannia Library and everyone is encouraged to join with their most elaborate Halloween costumes. The theme this year is Everything! Everywhere! All at Parade!, with music, art, and performance involved. The Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret is also holding multiple workshops before the big night, such as dance classes for “Thriller” and “The Time Warp,” in addition to witch dance classes for those interested in performing at the Parade of Lost Souls. It should be a magical and lively evening. More info and tickets for the After Party can be found here.

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