Despite pandemic, halloween activities abound


The season of things that go bump in the night is well and truly upon us. It’s somewhat different this year, however, as a menace more extreme than all of the ghoulies and ghosties imaginable has disrupted our lives, and quite a few events upon which we have come to rely have either been canceled or indefinitely curtailed.

Fear not, though, there are still a few diversions out there in Greater Nashua that are guaranteed to put a chill up your spine and get you into the proper Halloween spirit.

First off, lovers of the macabre will be overjoyed to hear that Nashua’s own Fright Kingdom, 12 Simon St., will be open and ready for business. The attraction, which bills itself as New England’s largest indoor horror attraction, will be ready for visitors on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, beginning Oct. 4 and running through Nov. 2. It will be open from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

The venue encompasses five different tableaus, each designed to plunge guests into a paroxysm of horror. The first, “Apocalypse Z,” has all of the hallmarks of a Hollywood thriller, as zombies are unleashed on the city. The venue employs video, realism and state-of-the-art special effects.

Next up is “Bloodmare Manor,” where guests are transported back to the 19th century, where they will meet face-to-face with the degranged Bloodmare family.

This is not your usual family get-together.

“Psycho Circus” follows next, a 3D haunted house featuring custom illusions and crazed clowns. Definitely not for the kiddies. “Grim” is the next hurdle, a labyrinth of pitch darkness through which visitors have to negotiate.

“Castle of Corpses” pretty much speaks for itself. This castle now belongs to ambulatory corpses whose only purpose is to feed on the flesh of the living.

The attraction also features a Monster Midway, where visitors waiting to get in can amuse themselves with concessions, photo opportunities and entertainment.

It is required of all attendees that they wear a mask or face shield that covers their nose and mouth at all times. They will also be asked questions to determine exposure to Covid-19, and hands must be sanitized prior to entry. Customers may have their temperature taken at random, with any temperature over 100.4 resulting in immediate dismissal from the property.

Tickets for Fright Kingdom at $27 apiece, and are available at www.frightkingdom.com. For more information, call 603-809-1173.

The Milford Pumpkin Festival is something of a legend in these parts, and they will be celebrating their 31st outing this year — albeit in a virtual format. As usual, the event will be held on Columbus Day Weekend, Oct. 10 and 11. This will also be hosting the 14th annual Pumpkin Festival Variety Show, featured on various virtual stages, starting at 7 p.m., showcasing the best that local musicians have to offer. The show can be accessed on the festival’s webpage as well as their facebook page.

Artist Eric Escobar of Wicked Ways Inc. will be at Station 101, displaying his artwork in a special mural executed specifically for the occasion. Additionally, there will be fundraising raffles for next year’s festival, tee-shirts available for sale, as well as 20-ounce Milford Pumpkin Festival tumblers. To get in on the fun, visit www.milfordpumpkinfestival.org.

With all this going on, the neighboring town of Wilton hasn’t been slack in offering up its own thrills and chills. The Wilton Town Hall Theatre, 40 Main St., will be presenting the silent classic “Nosferatu” (1922) on Sunday, Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. The program is free and open to the public, and will feature live music provided by film accompanist Jeff Rapsis. A donation of $10 is suggested, to help defray expenses.

“Nosferatu” is notable for being the first film adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” featuring a relatively unknown actor by the name of Max Shreck in the title role. Directed by German filmmaker F.W. Murnau, it is an entirely unauthorized version, with changes made to avoid copyright infringement. For instance, Dracula is here referred to as Count Orlock, and much of the action takes place in Hamburg instead of Whitby, England. The vampire is a far cry from Bela Lugosi’s cultured European aristocrat; instead, Orlock is a bald, reptilian apparition, with huge talons adorning his skeletal fingers. Extensive as these alterations were, however, they didn’t prevent Stoker’s widow from suing the filmmakers, demanding that the negatives and all existing copies be destroyed. Luckily for us, a few prints survived, which is the only reason we can see it at all today.

“The original ‘Nosferatu’ is a film that seems to get creepier as more time goes by,” said Rapsis. “It’s a great way to celebrate Halloween and the power of silent films to transport audiences to strange and unusual places.”

The Town Hall Theatre is observing procedures to comply with all state and CDC public health guidelines, including reduced seating capacity. For more information, call (603) 654-3456 or visit www.wiltontownhalltheatre.com.

Finally, over in Amherst, LaBelle Winery, 345 Route 101, will be hosting a Monster Bash Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $69 per person, plus 9 percent sales tax and 12 percent gratuity. Tickets are sold by table only, with a limit of six guests per table.

The evening promises to be one of light-hearted ghoulishness, as guests are invited to grab a themed cocktail from the bar, to be followed by a spooky four-course dinner. Everyone is encouraged to dress their monstrous best, as costumes are highly recommended and necessary for participation their first-ever costume contest, where the winner takes home the grand prize.

The meal opens with artisan bread with whipped butter, accompanied by miniature pumpkin bowls filled with Pumpkin Bisque. The second course is Ricotta Pumpkin Canneloni in sage brown butter sauce. Then comes the main course — Herb Roasted Statler Chicken Breast with Pumpkin Pilaf. There is also a vegetarian option, which is the chef’s choice. Finally, for dessert, there are Meringue Ghost Tartlets. After the dinner, DJ Andy Sussman will open up the dance floor for a monstrously good time.

This is a plated dinner event; tickets are sold by the table only. It is recommended that guests register all together to guarantee group seating. In the event that guests would like to be seated with others who registered separately, it is requested that they make a note in the “Seating Requests” section of the registration form. The management requests that all guests wear a mask upon arrival and when moving in a public space. They do not have to wear masks while seated at their table.

For more information and tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/monster-mash-dinner-tickets-119935593589.

So, despite restrictions imposed by the pandemic, there are still plenty of options out there, from haunted houses to pumpkins to silent vampires, all the way to a sumptuous Halloween dinner.

Happy haunting!