Makeup-caked monsters, schemers and jokers, Playboy bunnies, people costumed as “fake news,” mongers of fear, peddlers of terror, mothers of dragons and other skimpily clad carousers will open their treat bags on Halloween.
But one day isn’t enough. Not for us. A Halloween party will take place every weekend in October, and we have South Florida’s outbreak of haunted houses, zombie competitions and costume contests to thank for all this childishness.
Here are 12 ways South Florida will spend the month freaking out.
Wynwood Fear Factory
The warren of graffiti-splatted warehouses in Wynwood seems to be made for Halloween, which perhaps explains why the old RC Cola Plant is the setting for Fear Factory. This year’s music bill has performances from chart-topping rapper Wiz Khalifa, French producer DJ Snake (Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” album), DJ Porter Robinson, Steve Angello (ex-Swedish House Mafia) and hip-hop duo Big Gigantic. French DJ Martin Solveig and Miami’s own Cedric Gervais will also perform. Art installations, haunted houses, scare zones, and merch and food vendors round out the diversions. Costumes are encouraged.
Fright Nights West Palm Beach
6-11 p.m. Thursdays and 6 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 28, at South Florida Fairgrounds, 9067 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach; $25, plus $5 parking fee; 561-793-0333 or MyFrightNights.com
This 16-year-old fright fest has spilled enough fog-machine juice on the South Florida Fairgrounds to kill a vampire. Maybe a werewolf. Too bad neither aren’t on the menu for 2017’s jumble of pop-up haunted houses, this year offering impromptu frightenings by occult worshippers, Dr. Frankenstein, serial killers, escaped mental-asylum patients and Kim Kardashian’s hairstylist. Only one of those nightmare scenarios is false. The 12-day Fright Nights will also feature midway rides, games, scare zones and carnival food, in case you’d like to induce a heart attack with an elephant ear instead. A $15 Groupon is available here.
Howling at the 30th edition of Moonfest, downtown West Palm Beach’s music-heavy block party, will be 29 acts on five blocks of Clematis Street, led by West Palm Beach rockers Surfer Blood (who broke out with their 2010 album, “Astro Coast”) and early-2000s hardcore and electronica duo Jackal and Hyde. Other acts (as of presstime, the headliner hasn’t been announced) include Fort Lauderdale’s Octo Gato, Tchaa, Big Chief and Afrobeta. The festival’s usual 21-and-olderrevelers can dress up for a $1,000 costume contest and walk through a haunted house.
7-10 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday and Thursday, 7 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday through Oct. 31 at 1751 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton; $25-$30, $45 for VIP; 855-994-2868 or EnigmaHaunt.com
A horde of snarling, marauding zombies haunt the Everglades after a viral epidemic breaks out in South Florida. Safe camps have been erected to protect unbitten civilians from exposure. This is the scenario that unfolds across 20,000 square feet and three rooms, with 80 actors ready to scare you in the darkness. Mummies, clowns and psycho butchers will provide scares in “Realms of Terror,” another attraction.
Scarecrow Festival and Contest
2-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum, 300 N. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach; $10; 561-832-4164 or HSPBC.org
Straw, more than scares, anchors this family-friendly festival, whose small-town throwback vibe can be blamed on its bounty of bake sales, pumpkin patches and pie-eating contests. A $300 prize will head to the best-dressed scarecrow ($200 for second, $100 for third), and there will be face-painting, corn-shuckin’, arts and crafts and a haystack hunt for Halloween treats. Fun trivia: In South Florida, haystacks are called “curbside Irma debris.”
X Scream Haunted House
For this event’s unlucky 13th anniversary, scary monsters and super creeps will freak out at two themed haunted houses and mazes — “Tale of the Dragon Witch” and “The Void” — which we hear is a cutting satire of the White House. Other diversions include hayrides, live music and food.
7-11 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31, along Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors; free; 954-463-9005 or WickedManors.org
The question, "How many Wonder Woman/Joan Crawford/Jessica Jones impersonators will fit on one city block?" may be answered at this block party, this year themed "HeroIcons." The night of vamping, over-the-top shenanigans and barely there costumes and will be emceed by drag performer Miss Misty Eyez (she does a mean Adele cover), along with DJ Laz morning show co-hosts Ms. Bryan and Kimmy B. They’ll judge four costume contests — Kids, Best Group, Best Theme and Most Sex Appeal — and a hero-themed “flash mob” will likewise scare the Drive. Proceeds will benefit the city’s Pride Center at Equality Park.
Hutter’s Zombie Crawl West Palm Beach
More opportunities for the shambling, drunken and zombie will appear on this downtown Clematis crawl, which touts a sweet deal: five drinks from five bars for the cost of one South Beach mojito. Drag a leg to Roxy’s Pub to register, then moan into a pumpkin-beer pint at Banko Cantina, Monarchy Nightclub and Pawn Shop Lounge. The crawl ends on Roxy’s rooftop, where a $1,000 costume contest will be held. A Groupon for the crawl costs $15 for one drinker and $27 for two.
Nightmare on the Beach
For those at home keeping score, Negan and Ken Bone are out. Pennywise the Clown and handmaids are in. Which may dovetail nicely with the beachside party’s theme, “Dark CarnEvil.” Nightmare on the Beach will offer live music, top-shelf cocktails, rare craft beers and finger foods from Miami-based caterers. The evening will benefit the Little Lighthouse Foundation, which supports children facing hardships.
Brickell Monster Bar Crawl
Perhaps the cheapest option for beer-soaked debauchery, this Halloween crawl will offer five drinks from Brickell mainstays. Start at American Social, then head to the Craftsman, Fado’s Irish Pub, Taverna Opa and RedBar Brickell and Baru Latin Bar.
Vizcaya's 31st Annual Halloween Sundowner
8 p.m.-midnight Saturday, Oct. 28, at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, 3251 S. Miami Ave., Miami; $170, $250-$3,000 for VIP; 305-250-9133 or VizcayaHalloween.org
We just may bend the knee for Vizcaya’s boozy bash at the 100-year-old estate on the bay. This year’s Halloween fete is subtitled “Mystery, Myth and Fantasy,” which sounds like a “Game of Thrones” contest waiting to happen. Costume categories are Best Male Costume, Best Female Costume, Best Couple and Best Group Costume, and diversions include DJs, live music, light bites and, yes, wandering Vizcaya’s botanical garden. WTVJ-Ch. 6 anchor Roxanne Vargas will emcee the event.
Downtown Fright Night
This “Stranger Things”-themed downtown block party aims to boogie like it’s 1984. Which is fine, but we’re in Miami. Our 1984 looks like “Miami Vice” and cocaine cowboys. A Halloween bash hosted by the spooky folks behind SWARM (also responsible for the October’s Grovetoberfest), Fright Night will feature a “Stranger Things”-inspired “family fun zone” with magic shows and bounce houses; two stages of local entertainment; a dog costume contest; an open-air market; and “The Upside Down,” an adult party with DJ Laz, specialty cocktails, a cash costume contest and a screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
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