Get in the Samhain Spirit: Six Ghastly Halloween Happenings

Filed in Local Events, Things To Do by on October 27, 2009 1 Comment

Fiends, ghouls, and misfits, delight! Halloween is almost here; the spirit of Samhain hangs palpably in the, mingling with the ubiquitous scents of cider and crisp leaves. Though the holiday is far removed from its Celtic and Christian origins—celebrations of the autumn harvest (Celtic) and saints (Christian) having been replaced long ago by gluttonous candy reaping and unimaginative ‘Sexy [Arbitrary Noun]’ costumes, respectively—there is still plenty of reason to rejoice.

As one of the oldest American cities, Boston has plenty of macabre lore oozing from its cobblestones, from the estimated 1,100-corpse crypt in the basement of Old North Church to the unspeakable horrors of Allston frat parties. Halloween themed events are going on all week throughout the city, with happenings for revelers of all ages.

While you could drop in on any one of the themed parties at local bars, or, worse do the clichéd tourist thing and get suckered into visiting Salem (no matter how fervently the city bills itself as the Halloween headquarters, I refuse to recognize a few fake witches as proper credentials—though commercializing such a dark historical event is itself evil) your options are not so limited.

Compiled here are, appropriately, six haunted happenings to get your pulse pumping this Halloween. And don’t worry, they’re all free or reasonably priced so you don’t need to worry about the horrifying sight of your bank account balance.

Boo! Bikes! Boo!

Halloween weekend is packed with bike rides guaranteed to spook your pants off, not with scary costumes but with the terrifying unpredictability of Boston’s drivers (Lookout! A woman yapping on a cell phone while carelessly opening her door!) On Friday, Critical Mass will roll out from Copley, and many riders are expected to come dressed up for the occasion. Last year’s ride, which fell on Halloween—Critical Mass takes place the last Friday of every month—featured Waldo, at least one robot, and two rider’s dressed in an homage to the light cycles from Tron. On Saturday, the annual Halloween Bike Ride, starting at 8 pm from the Green Street T stop in Jamaica Plain, will offer riders a leisurely tour of the city. For more daring cyclists, there’s the Red Bull Witch Hunt, a ride from Boston to Salem for a night-long haunted party. The ride departs Oct. 28 at 6:30pm from 1301 Boylston Street.

Spooky Organ Music

What’s scarier than church itself? Minor key classics played on a church organ, which you can catch inside the towering Gothic architecture of Old South Church in Copley Square. Selections from The Phantom of the Opera and other pop culture horror staples will be played into the night, culminating with the definitive haunting organ piece, Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

Old South Church, where God and Satan will playfully spar over the booming reverberations of haunting harmonies

Old South Church, where God and Satan will playfully spar over the booming reverberations of haunting harmonies

Big Concert at the Paradise

Local punk/ska outfit Big D and the Kids Table will play their annual Halloween show on back to back nights at the Paradise Rock Club in Allston, Oct. 29, 30. Fans of the band can get in the holiday spirit by dancing the monster mash, while former fans can bemoan the horrors of the band’s recent commercial success.

(All) Night of the Living Dead

The Coolidge Corner Theater will present a full 12 hour chunk of horror from midnight on Halloween (technically Sunday morning) to noon. A remake of horror classic, The Blob, and a sort of zombie flick, Night of the Creeps, highlight the evening. And, of course, there will be a costume contest.

Guided Ghost Hunting

Take a trolley ride with monsters and zombies to see some of Boston’s most morbid sights. Ghosts and Graveyards, which bills itself as a “Frightseeing Tour,” brings riders to various cemeteries in the city, including the historic Granary Burying Ground, where Sam Adams and Paul Revere lie interred. But beware! John Hancock’s 15 foot phallus may be too terrible a sight to bear!

This Is It

Yes, you can go see the new Michael Jackson movie, This Is It. While the epic music video for Thriller will anchor Jackson’s legacy to Halloween for years to come, the “memorial” movie’s capitalization of his death is much more sinister, and thus a fitting flick for Satan’s favorite holiday.

Of course, there are innumerable other ways to celebrate Halloween—reading a collection of Poe, reciting incantations from the Necronomicon, or shooing away hobos and children who try to guilt you for candy. Whatever you decide to do, have a happy Halloween, and keep watch for the Great Pumpkin!

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  1. Boston Area Halloween Events 2010 | The Blog @ Directory of Boston | November 1, 2010

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