After two years in which all the Halloween fun we’ve come to expect in eastern Maine had to be curtailed or canceled outright due to the pandemic, the thrills and chills are back in full force to scare the daylights out of participants young and old — or at least get them hopped up on candy.
Here’s a list of some of the fun stuff happening over the next two weekends in the Bangor area.
In Prospect, for the first time since 2019, the Fright at the Fort at Fort Knox State Historic Site is back in all its atmospheric, spine-tingling glory, with a small army of local scare actors turning this 19th-century fortress into an unforgettable Halloween experience. This year, tickets ($15) are only available for purchase in advance online for specific entrance times, in an effort to avoid the traffic crush of years past. It’s set for Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 21 and 22 and Oct. 28 and 29. For tickets, visit the Fort Knox website.
In Bangor, Maineiac Manor — the yearly haunted experience at the Bangor Mall — once again takes over a storefront in the mall, this year turning it into “Maineiac Asylum,” overrun with crazed inmates. It’s definitely for those with a strong tolerance for scares — so much so that Manor staff now offer a “no scare” night, without the scare actors, on Oct. 21. The rest of the time, however, get ready to scream. Tickets are available online at maineiacmanor.com.
And for a scare experience that’s at once terrifying and oddly heartwarming, each year, the town of Kenduskeag goes all-out for its annual Haunted House at the Cole Memorial Ballfield. From parents to middle schoolers, just about every kind of person gets involved, and there’s a wonderful hometown feel to the event — but don’t be fooled, it’s no joke when it comes to the scares. Admission is $5, and it runs from 7 p.m. to midnight on Oct. 28 and 29 at the ballfield, located at 536 Levant Road.
Family-friendly days and nights
Trunk or Treat nights are popular all over the country, and the Bangor region is no exception. Bring your little ghoulies to one of many such events this weekend and next, including at the Center Drive School in Orrington from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 22, at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 26, at Glenburn Elementary School from 4 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 28, at University Mall Plaza on Stillwater Avenue in Orono from 1 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 30, and at the Carmel Town Office from 5 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 31.
Other family-friendly Halloween events include the return of United Cerebral Palsy of Maine’s Pumpkins in the Park, featuring hundreds of intricately carved pumpkins, trick or treating, bounce houses and other kid’s activities. It’s set for noon-5 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 23, at the Anah Shrine on Broadway in Bangor, and admission is $3 per person, or $10 for a family.
At the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor, there’s a not-so-scary Halloween party featuring mad scientist experiments, live animal experiences and a monster dress-up workshop. It’s set for 1 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 22, and it’s free with museum admission. There’s also the annual Family Halloween Spectacular at the Old Town-Orono YMCA, set for 5-7 p.m. on Oct. 28 and featuring pumpkin carving, storytime and a trunk or treat. Admission is $15 for a family and includes a pumpkin.
A theatrical fright
Celebrate the season with theatrical productions based on the works of arguably the two greatest horror writers of all time. Some Theatre Company offers up “Carrie: The Musical,” based on Stephen King’s debut novel and featuring enough fake blood to ruin any prom. Performances are set for Oct. 20-23 and Oct. 27-29 at Some’s Bangor Mall theater space, and tickets are available online.
Also in the Bangor Mall, Ten Bucks Theater Company presents “Shuddersome: Tales of Poe,” based on works by Edgar Allen Poe, performances are set for Oct. 20-23 and Oct. 27-30, and tickets are available at the door.
The Bangor Historical Society hosts its yearly Darker Mount Hope Cemetery tours, in which participants go on a nighttime tour of the famed Bangor cemetery and a cast of players tell very real, sometimes spooky stories about the “permanent residents” of Mount Hope. Tours are set for 6 p.m. on Oct. 21 and 22, and tickets are available online at bangorhistoricalsociety.org.
A bit farther south, at the Grand Theatre in Ellsworth, there’s the Terror Theater show, a yearly event that’s equal parts haunted house and theatrical experience. It’s set for the evenings of Oct. 27, 29 and 30 and admission is $10, with reservations required online.