Calgary’s Spookiest Halloween 2012 Events

If you’re still not sure what to do this weekend to celebrate Halloween, you likely have a plain white sheet to wash for your awesome ghost costume. Seriously. Most people (women) have been planning their costume, party, and/or evening since at least summer, so you’re pretty far behind. But no worries, there are still plenty of interesting events with room for latecomers. Here, a few ideas worth the scare.

Hanging with the family on Halloween likely means you’re staying sober, but it doesn’t mean the evening has to be dry. ScreamFest, now Calgary’s annual haunted house extravaganza (the event used to run in Edmonton as well—just not this year, for some reason) has moved to the Grandstand Building at Stampede Park from its previous and bone-chilling outdoor locale at Canada Olympic Park. Scare the kids in advance by telling them you’ll be visiting a place where farm animals were killed in the most gruesome of public spectacles.

Speaking of animals, Boo at the Zoo corrals thousands of Calgarian families together each year for trick or treating throughout the entire Calgary Zoo, but the event also features an interactive zombie apocalypse, a haunted carnival, fortune-tellers, and a creepy carousel ride. Be sure to consult the scare-rating index—the Zoo’s staff has rated each element of the event from 1 to 5— before taking younger children on certain portions.

If you’re free to move about this weekend, get on the bus and browse the lurid costumes sure to be found at every nightclub throughout the city. Bust Loose’s Halloween Howler will load you into a cheese wagon with thousands of other rowdies and drop you off at several different bars—this year includes the Roadhouse, Vinyl, Ranchman’s and Express—just long enough to admire a few Little Bo Peeps, Sailor Moons, and a French maid or two.

If you’d like a little more culture with your costume party, the Green Fools Theatre continues its tradition of offering one of the wildest Halloween parties in the city, this year at the downtown Legion. The Plaid Tongued Devils and Eve Hell and the Razors will rock the joint, and the Green Fools themselves will perform what sounds like a Mayan apocalypse-influenced staging. Dress as anyone who “helped shape the world we know” and witness “gods and mortals gathering to say goodbye.”

Still not classy enough for you, Mr. Highbrow? Hotel Arts’ Grave Gala will transport guests to the canals of Venice with this year’s Italian-themed costume party. Venice Is Sinking is the title of this year’s Calgary Opera fundraiser event, and will feature actors posing as famous Italian explorers, artists and composers. Brush up on your Vivaldi and prepare to mingle with elites and eccentrics alike.

Image courtesy of Ray Wong.

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