6 Ways to Make the Most of Fall in the Triangle
Halloween season is upon us... and it’s so much less depressing than last year! COVID-related closures put a serious damper on fall festivities in 2020 — but now, as vaccination rates increase and cases drop, fall events all over the Research Triangle are back in business. Looking to get off campus with friends? Here’s our guide to six of the best autumn activities in Durham and the greater Triangle area.
Catch a scary movie at the Carolina Theatre
In the heart of downtown Durham, the Carolina Theatre is showing a diverse selection of spooky films for the Halloween season. Oct. 23, come see Saturday Slash-a-Thon Volume Two, a marathon of four retro slasher flicks (tickets are $6 to see one film or $20 for an all-day pass). The lineup leading up to Halloween weekend features 4K restorations of Possession (1981) on Oct. 23-24 and 28 and The Howling (1981) Oct 29-31, if you’re looking for a fright; there’s also the 4th Annual Rocky Horror Picture Show Ball — bring your own costumes and props!
Carve a pumpkin… with baby goats???
Spring Haven Farm, twenty minutes away in Chapel Hill, offers your standard pumpkin-picking experience with a unique twist. Until Oct. 31, you can come find your perfect pumpkin and then carve it while hanging out with adorable baby goats. The farm also has tractor rides, a “Haunted Forest”, and a Pumpkin Paint and Sip event for those 21+. (General admission is $13.50; pumpkins range from $8-$16.)
Not a fan of goats? There are plenty of other pumpkin patches to be found in the Triangle, including Gross Farms, Huckleberry Trail Farm, and the Museum of Life and Science's Pumpkin Patch Express.
Visit the North Carolina State Fair
It’s back! After its 2020 cancellation, the North Carolina State Fair has returned to Raleigh this fall for its 153rd year, now with two additional rides and 25 new food vendors. From Oct. 14 until Oct. 24, come ride the rides, see homegrown live music and entertainment, and consume thousands of deep-fried calories. Tickets start at $10 if purchased online and $13 if purchased at the fair gates.
Go on a ghost tour
Apparently, the Triangle is incredibly haunted. Who knew? Durham Dark & Mysterious Ghost Walk, held Jul. 23 to Oct. 31, will take you on a 1.5-mile walking tour to six of the most cursed spots in Durham; a slightly further drive away, Raleigh Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour (running every weekend) promises to provide an insider look into Raleigh’s “ghostly and paranormal past”. For a more leisurely (but no less creepy) experience, the Haunted Trolley (in operation Oct. 23, 29, and 30) will take you on a ride to several haunted spots in Downtown Raleigh, including Mordecai Historic Park — said by many to be the most haunted place in the city.
Get a taste of Halloween history
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Have you ever wondered how Halloween as we know it today came to be? Oct. 29, from 6:30-9:30 p.m., come to Duke Homestead’s Halloween Phantasmagoria for an event “unlike any other Halloween experience”. Every fall, the Homestead travels back in time to the nineteenth century to show visitors how Halloween was celebrated during the Victorian era, with costumed performers, historical reenactments, and more. Tickets are $10 if purchased in advance and $15 at the door.
Explore a fall market
Pick up some quirky seasonal decor for your dorm room while also supporting local businesses at one of the Triangle’s many fall markets! Head downtown to the Durham Night Market Oct. 28 — or a short drive away to the Raleigh Night Market Oct. 21 — for unique vendors, live music, and a wide assortment of food trucks. Over in Chapel Hill, the Festifall Arts Market Oct. 23 and 30 (from 4-8 p.m.) will celebrate the work of local artists from throughout the Triangle.
As you get into the Halloween spirit this October, we encourage you to take a chance and look beyond Duke’s campus and Franklin Street, even if only for a single afternoon. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s plenty of exciting fall fun to be had in the Triangle.