This year, Halloween falls on a weekend. If you were to ask Bushwick Bill, he’d tell you that this is a good thing. Without work, school or any other weekly distractions to get in the way, you can be free to plan an awesome weekend and celebrate Samhain like you were meant to.
Pensacola is a great town to be in if you’re into full-on Halloween fun. We at IN would like to offer up some suggestions to make sure that you’re not left out of the loop this holiday weekend.
Now, we fully understand that not everyone can go out and party the night away all the time, so we aren’t just telling you where to find cheap drinks and costumed members of the opposite sex, although we will surely make mention of it (wink).
Instead, we have broken Halloween weekend into three different categories to ensure that you can make the most of the holiday, no matter what your situation or taste.
Behold, the IN Guide to Halloween.
FOR THE NIGHT OWLS
Make no mistake, if you are looking for the hottest Halloween parties and events, Pensacola is more than glad to oblige your indulgences. Downtown is always jumpin’, but this particular weekend will be amplified by spooky shindigs and frightful festivities.
Seville Quarter can always be trusted to have some killer events slated, even when it’s not a holiday or special occasion. This Halloween weekend will make a standard weekend at Seville seem like an evening at the library.
“We have so much happening for Halloween that it is a little overwhelming, but it is going to be one of the biggest Halloween weekends in the history of downtown Pensacola and Seville Quarter,” says co-owner Buck Mitchell. “As always, Seville Quarter is the leader in Pensacola for putting on the best Halloween experience. We have a lot of charities that are involved in our events, so we plan on a great turnout and a lot of fun.”
Seville’s hootenanny officially gets kicked into high gear on Thursday, Oct. 28 with the “Howl at the Moon” contest. Beginning at midnight in Rosie O’Grady’s, contestants will line up for a chance to demonstrate their best howls for prizes.
If howling isn’t your thing, you can catch a bubbling cauldron of fun over at Phineas Phogg’s when the celebration of Noche de Brujas (Night of the Witches) is honored with a “Sexiest Witch” contest. If that isn’t enough, the “Legend of Sherwood Manor” haunted house will be reopened Oct. 28-31 to scare the wits out of you, while benefiting Manna Food Bank.
The rest of the weekend at Seville follows suit, with a pumpkin carving contest and a live performance by alternative rockers Finger Eleven on Friday, a haunted mansion party on Saturday and a “Deja-Boo” teen party early on Sunday before wrapping this mummy of a weekend up with a costume contest and all-around throw down with special discounts for B.A.R.E. (Bar and Restaurant Employees). Visit sevillequarter.com for a complete list of events and details.
Seville isn’t the only place to catch a haunting good time. Vinyl Music Hall will also be hosting a Halloween Bash on Saturday, with live music from Magnapop, Ingram Hill and Deadly Fists of Kung Fu, who will be playing a special tribute set to The Cars.
Blazzues, Big Easy Tavern, The Handlebar, Sluggo’s and pretty much any other place you can think of will have something interesting to do for Halloween, so be sure to check your local media outlets for ideas.
FOR THE THRILL SEEKERS
Let’s face it—not everyone is into the whole party thing. However, there are those that are seeking thrills beyond the bar. Pensacola is a great town to be in, if you’re into the strange and unexplained. This brings us back again to Seville Quarter.
Not only is Seville Quarter a great place to spend a night out on the town, but it is also a well known hot spot (or would it be cold spot?) for paranormal activity in downtown Pensacola. “There are plenty of haunted places in Pensacola, but none more so than Seville Quarter,” explains local paranormal investigator Pattie Krakowski.
She continues, “One of the rooms was once a brothel, where all kinds of horrible things happened. There is also the ghost of a former employee that is probably the most popular and frequently encountered spirits in the building. Employees have also heard children in the building. These could have been children of the brothel women, or perhaps from another place. Most of the furniture in Seville was imported from England. Sometimes, spirits will attach themselves to objects and can travel from place to place, haunting wherever it turns up.”
If you’re out looking for proof of paranormal activity, just take a stroll through Seville Quarter around closing time, or just ask some of the bartenders and servers about their experiences, as there have been many.
Enough about Seville, though. That’s not the only place to find a good fright. Pensacola is a very old town, with plenty of history and lots of places to visit where restless souls roam.
Being a military town of sorts, Pensacola is home to two of the most haunted forts in Florida, even the United States. Fort Pickens and Fort Barrancas are both great destinations for those of you who like to feel as if someone, or something, is watching you. This time of year is especially nice to go explore these old battlements, as the autumn breeze whipping through the dank corridors adds to the creepy chill you get in your spine if you dare to explore the forts alone. The best thing about these places is that they are completely free and open to the public, no matter your age.
Downtown Pensacola on the whole is also a great place to search for spooks and ghouls. Just take a stroll through some of the parks, or down the streets of our ancient town at night and feel the chills start to creep up your spine faster than you can say “Jack Skellington.”
You can also visit places like the old Pensacola Lighthouse or the T. T. Wentworth Museum, or you can catch a great pizza pie at O’Zone Pizza Pub and explore the old Sacred Heart Hospital building while you’re there—that place is spooky no matter what time of day. Whatever it takes to get your heart beating fast and heavy, and satisfy your craving for adventure this Halloween, Pensacola is a good place to find it.
FOR THE PARENTS AND HOMEBODIES
As we said before, not everyone will have the luxury of being able to go out and party, or chase ghosts through old buildings. With this in mind, we have included a few things for those of you who might be stuck at home, handing out candy, or roaming the streets with your little ones in search of the perfect score.
Since trick-or-treating has not been moved to Saturday after all (Halloween: 1, The Man: 0), we’re going to tell you how to spend your Halloween Sunday either by yourself, or with the family, without sacrificing all the fun. However, Sunday isn’t the only day for finding the best places to haul in candy, or have some good old fashioned family fun.
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The local businesses in downtown Pensacola, in conjunction with the Downtown Improvement Board, are holding a special Trick or Treat event on Friday, Oct. 29. Get yourself and your little monsters all dressed up and look for the participating businesses as you roam the streets of downtown from 4-6 p.m., collecting lots of sweet treats.
There will also be plenty of “Trunk or Treat” events happening at local churches and businesses, not to mention all the great haunted houses, corn mazes and hayrides, so once again, be sure to check with those local media outlets for details and info on things for the whole family to do.
If you’re looking for a great neighborhood to initiate your conquest for candy, East Hill is the place to go. One of Pensacola’s oldest neighborhoods, East Hill is full of old houses and friendly people who fully get into the spirit of Halloween. Costumed sweet-seekers will be stalking the streets on Sunday, looking for treats. However, East Hill is an old suburb, so you may run into a few tricks along the way. The spirits are especially mischievous at Halloween time.
Finally, for the ones who are left hanging out around the house, waiting for those raps on the door from masked children, or whatever else might be stopping by on the Devil’s Night, we are here to suggest a film that makes all of the lore and legends of Halloween a lot more fun.
“Trick ’R Treat” (2007, Warner Premiere Video), from producer Bryan Singer (“X-Men,” “Superman Returns”) and director Michael Dougherty, is the end-all-be-all Halloween movie. Sure, John Carpenter’s classic that bears the holiday’s name is always a good choice, but this obscure little film that we have suggested is leaps and bounds more “Halloween-y”.
Playing out like an evil “Pulp Fiction,” “Trick ’R Treat” weaves four different stories together into one big fright fest. Whether it be a school principal with a murderous dark side, a virginal beauty with a dark secret, a mean prank with wicked results, or an old man dealing with a tiny problem with a big attitude, “Trick ’R Treat” is sure to deliver what you need to enjoy the holiday and stay in the spirit. Of all Halloween-themed films, this one is the most authentic and entertaining of them all. Get on those Netflix accounts and put this one at the top of your list.
Well, there you have it, folks. If you haven’t decided on what to do this weekend, hopefully this helps. So enjoy the holiday, but be careful. There’s so much fun to be had it’s scary. Below is a list of places, events and ideas to get the most out of this Halloween.
DAUNTING DOWNTOWN DIVES:
Seville Quarter, sevillequarter.com
Big Easy Tavern, myspace.com/bigeasytavern
Vinyl Music Hall, vinylmusichall.com
Hopjack’s Pizza Kitchen & Taproom, hopjacks.com
The Handlebar, myspace.com/thehandlebar
Fort Pickens, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Pickens
Fort Barrancas, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Barrancas
T. T. Wentworth Museum, historicpensacola.org
Pensacola Lighthouse, exploresouthernhistory.com/pensacolalighthouse
Old Sacred Heart Building, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pensacola_Hospital
Oct. 28-31, Fear City Nights: “Legend of Sherwood Manor” Haunted Mansion, sevillequarter.com
Oct. 30-31, Sweet Season’s Corn Maze, sweetseasonsfarms.com
Oct. 30, Vinyl Music Hall-oween Bash, vinylmusichall.com
Oct. 29, Halloween Bash at The Handlebar, newsouthmetal.com
Oct. 29, Finger Eleven, sevillequarter.com
“Trick ’R Treat” (2007), Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures
“Halloween” (1978), Sony Pictures
“Beetlejuice” (1988), Warner Bros.
“The Monster Squad” (1987), TriStar Pictures
“Young Frankenstein” (1974), 20th Century Fox
The Misfits, “Earth A.D.” (Plan 9 Records)
Type O Negative, “Bloody Kisses/October Rust” (Roadrunner Records)
AFI, “The All Hallows E.P.” (Nitro Records)
The Other, “New Blood” (SPV/Steamhammer Records)
Alkaline Trio, “Good Mourning” (Vagrant Records)