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22 Terrifying Halloween Parties This Week

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No shame at all to the people out there that want to spend this Halloween curled up on the couch binge-watching The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix (except holy shit that show is soooo good). But for the others who wanna don a disguise and roam the streets with mischievous intent, we’ve got you covered! Succumb to the dark fantasies this strange season brings and do something you might regret in the morning. Here are the best events happening this Halloween weekend. 

STORIES FROM THE UNDERWORLD

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I recently stumbled upon a fascinating subreddit called TwoSentenceHorror, where writers from all over the world post the scariest stories they can conjure with only two sentences. Here’s my favorite: I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, “Daddy check for monsters under my bed.” I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, “Daddy there’s somebody on my bed.” Damn, that’s spooky!This Thursday, the Portland Public Library hosts their own scary story showcase featuring a slew of local talent including Suzanna Sylvain, Richard Leone, Duff Plunkett, Gregory Hofmann, Laura Trapletti, Tim Queeney, and Ann Bennett-Cookson. Expect some haunted poetry, and a gruesome ending. These writers won’t be limited to two sentences and I’m curious to see how they’ll shock the audience in 2,000 words or less. | Oct. 25 | Portland Public Library | 5 Monument Sq., Portland | Thu 6 pm | Free

SURVIVE THESE HORRIBLE AND AMAZING GAMES

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Horror video games like Dead Space, Resident Evil and Doom feature disgusting and horrific monsters, but they also give players an unholy arsenal of weapons to blast them with, softening the scare factor. Once you’ve shot your 265th demon in the face with a shotgun, the creatures turn into generic bullet fodder. But during the recent renaissance of horror games, developers have taken to limiting the players' combat options. For example, in Outlast/Outlast 2, you must avoid mentally deranged criminals and deformed cultists by sneaking around in the dark, with only a camera and flashlight in your inventory. No guns. And in Amnesia: The Dark Descent, widely regarded as the scariest game ever made, your character only has a rusty lantern to protect them from that weird pig monster. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t help much!) In these games, you actually have to survive — and it’s terrifying! Discuss the influence, mechanics, and pros and cons of games like these with other horror nerds at Arcadia this week, while also trying them out for yourself one on of the bars numerous gaming consoles. | Oct 26 | Arcadia National Bar | 24 Preble St., Portland | Fri 6:30 pm | Free

MAINE IS THE CREEPIEST STATE, RIGHT?

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Some say the woods of Maine are soaked in ancient blood, and infested with ghosts and curses from the state’s darker history. Too many legends and sightings have suggested some supernatural threat is hiding out there amongst the brambles, and just for fun, we’re going to believe that to be true. Test your will to confront these entities during the Pineland Farms’ 5th Annual Haunted Woods Walk. You’re gonna get freaked out — bring a flashlight, and maybe a friend who’s bolder than thou. | Oct. 26 | Pineland Farms | 15 Farm View Dr., New Gloucester | Fri 9 pm | $12

HALLOW-QUEENS

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Fans of the drag show sure have options this year, don’t they? Empire is the fourth venue in Portland offering a chance for party-goers to drag it up. Featuring performers Mizz Diveena, Kat Walker and Shaunna Rai, this masquerade ball will be chock full of sass, lip-synching, and fabulousness. | Oct. 26 | Empire | 575 Congress St., Portland | Fri 9 pm | $7

MEET THE SEXIST GHOST OF OUR MOST FAMOUS POET

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Famed Portland poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote that “All houses wherein men have lived and died, are haunted houses.” To which we ask, What about women? Huh, Mr. Longfellow? Are they not good enough to be ghosts too? Enter his historic home on Congress St., conjure up his ghost, and ask him the tough questions yourself during the Maine Historical Society’s haunted tour of this Portland landmark. | Oct 26 | Maine Historical Society | 389 Congress St. | Fri 6 pm | $15

YOU’ll FLOAT TOO

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Some people will be sick and tired of partying in the Old Port yet again this year. Understandable. Some of those people will smartly decide to join the Popsickel cruise instead, and party on a big ol' boat taking off from Casco Bay Lines. Seriously, this isn’t some cramped ferry. This boat actually has a massive dance floor big enough to fit 225 people on it! Float into the unknown and go down the rabbit hole with a ton of drunk strangers. | Oct. 26 | Casco Bay Lines | 56 Commercial St., Portland | Fri 8 pm | $25

DANCE OFF YOUR SINS

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Revelers at Plague’s Goth Ball will be asked to choose which of the seven deadly sins they’d like to embody for the night. Dress in your sinful best and decide between lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride, while DJs Dehuman8 and Fox spin some dark, alternative dance tracks. Will someone be cheeky with the costume requirement and show up as our current human manifestation of each and every deadly sin? You know who I'm talking about. | Oct 26 | Aura | 121 Center St., Portland | Fri 9 pm | $5

WIN SOME CASH YOU COSTUMED FIEND

Have you got a costume this year that’s going to turn heads like the possessed girl in The Exorcist? Wear it to Brian Boru’s Halloween Fairy Tale Ball, because it’s one of the few parties in the cities that’s offering a significant prize for the best-dressed attendee. Like, hundreds of dollars. Get over there and wow those judges. Music by DJ JuLee and her seven dwarves. | Oct. 27 | Brian Boru | 57 Center St., Portland | Sat 9 pm | Free

DRAG QUEENS AND OTHER CURIOSITIES

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RuPaul's Drag Race Season 10 Cast Credit: VH1

Easily one of the biggest Halloween parties in Portland, EqualityMaine’s annual Great Pumpkin Ball will not disappoint, especially if you’re a fan of the ancient art of the drag. Starring “the Vixen” from RuPaul’s Drag Race, featuring several local drag, theater, and cabaret performances, and hosted by Blake Hayes from Coast 93.1, and local consent-education organization Speak About It founder Shane Diamond, this bash will be extra AF. Come drink, dance, and laugh uncontrollably with hundreds of others (last years party of 700 sold out quick) and support Portland’s LGBTQ community in the meantime (proceeds from ticket sales will benefit EqualityMaine’s recent work in area schools). | Oct 27 | State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland | Sat 7 pm | $20

SHAPESHIFTERS AND CHANGELINGS

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The SPACE Halloween party sells out every year, and for good reason — they invite some ghoulishly good performers who have to contend with a fun twist. Bands will dress up and perform as other bands for packed night of covers and sweaty fun. The local rockers and pop luminaries on this year’s bill include Sunset Hearts as Depeche Mode, the Blood Caps (an amorphous Halloween band fronted by Phoenix editor Nick Schroeder) as Roxy Music, the recently revived Contrapposto as The Knife, and Virile (members of Cadaverette, The Worst, Ossalot, and Crunchcoat) as Hole. | Oct. 27 | SPACE Gallery | 538 Congress St., Portland | 9 pm | $12

GHOST RIDERS

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Some Portlanders will want to dance and drink in their Halloween getups while other will want to ride their bikes. The annual Allspeed Halloween party and night ride returns this year! If you’re joining the group ride, make sure your bike has a light, and be prepared for a 90-minute journey into the darkness. And don’t wear an exceptionally drapey fabrics unless you want your bike gears to swallow your costume! | Oct 27 | Allspeed Cyclery | 127 Marginal Way, Portland | Sat 6 pm | Free

THESE THINGS ARE REALLY NOT FOR CHILDREN

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Graphic novels are some of the best ways to consume horror content. If you’ve shied away from the medium out of an impression that they are too juvenile, hear us out — some truly compelling and mature narratives are nestled between comic panels these days. If you want to get started on the graphic novel horror genre I recommend picking up Harrow County, a southern Gothic fairy tale; Locke & Key, a Lovecraftian mystery set in a very creepy New England mansion; Outcast, a comic set in a apocalyptic wasteland littered with demons; and finally Uzumaki, an unforgettable manga about a Japanese town infected with spirals (this one has to be one of the most creative examples of body horror out there). Chances are good that you can find these titles and other freaky comics at this week’s Portland Comic Expo 2018. | Oct. 28 | Portland Expo Building | 239 Park Ave., Portland | Sun 10 am | $5

COME FOR THE LOLS

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It’s so hard not to laugh at a doggo in costume, isn't it? They just look so embarrassed and ashamed — it’s 10-percent degrading and 90-percent adorable! Dog-o-ween at the Thirsty Pig will feature a costume contest for a bunch of local dogs, and I’m going just for the lols but will probably stay a while because they’ve got such damn good beer and sausages there. Proceeds go to the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. | Oct. 28 | The Thirsty Pig | 37 Exchange St., Portland | Sun 2 pm | Free

A FILM TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE

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The creepy little fucker who singlehandedly spawned almost a century of vampire legends and films will be showcased at the Merrill Auditorium this year. Yes, I’m talking about Nosferatu, the OG vampire first featured in the 1922 silent German expressionist film. If you consider yourself a horror film nerd and you haven’t seen Nosferatu, you’re lying to yourself. Backed by a live-soundtrack by municipal organist James Kennerley, this screening is a special one indeed. Mayor Ethan Strimling will be in attendance and will judge a teen and adult costume contest during the intermission. | Oct. 30 | Merrill Auditorium | 20 Myrtle St., Portland | Tue 7:30 pm | $23

THESE CREATURES NEED YOU

Bayside Bowl’s hosting a Halloween party, which, if well attended, might literally save a animal shelter in Waterville from shuttering its doors for good. Think of the critters! The Howl-O-Ween party promises drinks, costumes, drag performances, dance tunes by DJ Haylstorm of Hot 104.7 Maine, and a professional photographer who will snap your pic for free! Raffle prizes from Lush, Sephora, Tsunami Tattoo, and Spirit Halloween are also up for grabs. | Oct. 30 | Bayside Bowl | 58 Alder St., Portland | 7 pm | $10

BANDS IN DISGUISE

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Hiding in plain sight on Forest Avenue is a new and exciting performance space carved out of an old tanning salon. It’s called Sun Tiki Studios, and this year it’s hosting with a lineup of cover shows bleeding into the wee hours. Members of Amiright?, Street Sity Surf and KGFREEZE will transform into the indie-rock band Pavement for the night. Cheap City is trying out System of a Down. The English Muffins and Enbran Tain are covering Bauhaus. And closing out the night will be Crunchcoat’s doing a thing called "Whole Tone Ramones," which we imagine sounding a little like listening to those Nirvana songs played in major key. Don’t miss these strange transformations. | Oct. 30 | Sun Tiki Studios, 375 Forest Ave., Portland | 8 pm | Free

IDEALLY, YOU WON’T REMEMBER THIS NIGHT

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Local rappers and party professionals Max Felker and Ralph Derose are at it again, trying to throw the biggest, baddest, and most exclusive Halloween party in town. It’s not clear if they’ll pull it off, but their party is definitely worth considering, especially among those that want to get absolutely sloshed and act a fool on Halloween night. They’re at Aura nightclub this year, offering late night sets with DJ Musonda, Don Damiani, Mike Clouds, and Superstar Freddy. They’ll be joined on stage by a troupe of “sexy ghoul dancers,” so yeah, it might be that kind of night. | Oct. 31 | Aura, 121 Center St., Portland | Wed 8 pm | $10-35

ARE MEN LITERAL GOBLINS?

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Still furious about the ascendency of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court? For many women and survivors of sexual violence, that confirmation process and subsequent news cycle was a literal nightmare and possibly darker than any other reference on this list. A bunch of area women are going to dress up in Handmaid Tale outfits to make a statement about the real life horrors of the present moment, and should you agree, consider joining in solidarity at Monument Square. | Oct. 31 | Monument Square, Portland | Wed 3 pm | Free

MEMENTO MORI FRIENDS

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The folks at Arcadia are reminding us that we’re all dead inside and it’s high time that we show it. Their zombie-themed party features undead tiki drinks, a zombie costume contest, an eyeball hunt, zombie dice games, braaaaaains, severed arms, and more playful reimaginings of human remains. Drink to the unsettling reality that we’re all just lumps of meat and bones and that’s all we’ll ever be. | Oct. 31 | Arcadia National Bar | 24 Preble St. Portland | Wed 7 pm | Free

STREET MAGIC AND A LOT OF SUGAR

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Pro tip. The annual West End Halloween parade is an excellent way to score some free candy. Rumor has it someone amidst the procession of life-sized puppets will be passing out full-sized Snickers. Use this info to your advantage. | Oct. 31 | 166 Brackett St., Portland | 5:45 pm | Free

THERE WILL BE BLOOD….KIND OF

Have you ever stared into the beady little eyes of one of David Worobec’s puppets and figurines? If not, try it when he brings the Tophat Productions version of Little Shop of Horrors back to Mayo Street Arts this year. Attending this whimsical and miniature puppet version of the classic horror musical is a yearly tradition for many people. Come find out why. | Oct 31 | Mayo Street Arts | 10 Mayo St., Portland | Wed 7:30 pm | $12

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