We've compiled our best picks for the upcoming week - as we creep, creepingly closer to Halloween. Also, check out our haunted house reviews, to see where you'll want to get your fright on.
For a classical Halloween experience, Heartland Actors Theatre presents The Reincarnation of An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe. Charles Goad, Scot Greenwell, Robert Neal, Matthew Roland and Michael Shelton will read some of Poe’s best beloved works, including “The Cask of Amantillado,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “Masque of the Red Death,” “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven.”
The evening will also include a silent auction to benefit HART. Apple cider and other fall treats will be available for purchase courtesy of Adrian Orchards.
The event is Oct. 27. Doors open for the silent auction at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. at Freemason Grand Lodge Theatre, 525 N. Illinois St. Tickets are $9.99; call 317-796-2222 or go to www.heartlandactors.org.
Historic Halloween fest
The 62nd annual Historic Irvington Halloween celebration will culminate Oct. 25 with a street festival at 5700 E. Washington St. from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and the 27th annual Pleasant Run RUN. The street festival will include a costume parade, live entertainment, food, arts and crafts vendors and other activities for all ages.
The festival begins Oct 20 at The Legend Classic Irvington Café. A wine tasting and art auction will be held to raise money for various Irvington charities. Also happening that week: a puppet show by the Melchior Marionettes at the Irvington United Methodist Church (Oct. 20, 6:30 p.m.), a house decorating contest, storytelling in Irving Circle Park (Oct. 23, 6:30 p.m.), “Ghosts and Infamous Places of Historic Irvington Haunted Tours” (Oct. 24-25 and Oct. 31-Nov. 1, $15), “The Classical Works of Edgar Allan Poe brought to Life” read by John Richard Luther II at Lazy Daze coffee shop (Oct. 24 and 31 at 6 and 8 p.m.; Oct. 25 at 5, 7 and 9 p.m.; Nov. 1 at 6 and 9 p.m.) and much more. For more information on festival events, visit www.irvingtoncouncil.com. To register for the Pleasant Run RUN, visit www.hiprr.org.
The Indiana Ballet Company will reprise its Phantom of the Opera Oct. 25, 31 and Nov. 1 at the Madame Walker Theatre Center, 617 Indiana Ave. All shows are at 8 p.m. Alyona Yakovleva, IBC artistic director, created original choreography for the performance, and set the dancing to a score that includes contemporary composers such as Apocalyptica and Piazzolla, as well as classical pieces by Chopin and Shostakovich.
Tickets are $25, $15 teens/seniors/military and $7.50 ages 5-12 in advance. (A $2.50 surcharge is applied to tickets purchased at the door.) For more information, call 317-501-9673 or visit www.IndianaBalletCompany.com.
Other Halloween-themed events happening the week of Oct. 22-29
IGT Haunted Indianapolis Downtown Walking Tours
Slippery Noodle Inn, 372 S. Meridian St.
The Indianapolis Ghost Trackers will present the haunted history of some of the city’s most interesting buildings. Oct. 24, 9 p.m. $10. www.indyghosts.org.
Halloween Cruise-In Car Show Trick-or-Treat
Audio Source Greenwood,1717 U.S. 31
Top 20 awards plus Best of Show, Best Car, Best Truck, People’ Choice, Best Adult Costume, Best Kid’s Costume, Best Halloween-Themed Vehicle. Goodie bags, $10 vehicle registration, spectators free. Vehicle participants are encouraged to bring candy to distribute during the show. Costume contestants must be present during awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Oct. 25, 2-7 p.m. 317-888-8445.
Fort Harrison State Park, 59th Street and Post Road
Featured events include a scavenger hunt, pumpkin painting, hayrides, costume contests for dogs and kids, a bonfire/weenie roast and a monster egg hunt. A haunted hayride will conclude the evening. Attendees should bring blankets and chairs for bonfire seating. Oct. 25, noon-8 p.m. Free with park admission, $5/carload. 317-591-0122.
Junior Achievement Education Center, 7435 N. Keystone Ave.
Costumes, music and more. Oct. 25. Cocktail hour from 9-10 p.m. followed by a silent auction. Costumes encouraged but not required. Ages 21+. $15. All proceeds benefit the Children’s Theatre Institute. indycti.org.
Footlite Musicals, 1847 N. Alabama St.
Family-friendly Halloween event featuring ghost stories, refreshments and games. Oct. 26, 3-6 p.m. Free. 317-926-6630, www.footlite.org.
Fall Harvest Festival
Waterman’s Farm Market, 7010 E. Raymond St.
Narrated hayrides to the pumpkin patch, performances by Tyranny the Pumpkin-Eating Dinosaur, corn maze with easy, medium and difficult pathways, bounce houses, a new spinning pumpkin ride, Pumpkin Patches the Clown, pony rides, a straw bale maze, sliding straw stack, pedal cars, make your own scarecrow and musical entertainment on the weekends. Food will be available from Two Guys Cooking and His Place Restaurant, as well as kettle corn, Hawaiian Ice, cotton candy and other snacks. Through Oct. 31. 317-356-6995. www.watermansfarmmarket.com.
Hell House: The Demon Guided Tour
Word of Life Church, 525 S. Foltz Ave.
The Demon will walk you through 13 scenes of life-changing and mind-burning experiences. Oct. 24-25 and 27-31 at 7 p.m. $5. Children 10 and under are not allowed unless parents consent. 317-730-7839, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tours include a Haunted Indianapolis Downtown Walk, Ghost Bus Tour, Chilling Chatham Arch-Lockerbie Spirit Walk and more. Check schedule for dates and times. 317-840-6456, www.unseenpress.com.
Haunted House Reviews
The Asylum House
Four and a half stars
8604 S. Meridian St.
The creative plot and characters make this haunted house not only scary, but also entertaining. It touches base with almost every type of horror genre, from traditional scary movie villains to mad clowns and doctors. This isn’t one of those places where you wait longer in line than it takes to go through the haunted house. The Asylum House includes the main haunted house, a walk through the woods, a cemetery and more. I was jumping from start to finish. Gate opens at 7 p.m. on weekend and weekdays, but note that some content may not be suitable for children under 13. Through Nov. 1; $19; www.theasylumhouse.com. —Sarah Collins
The Children’s Museum Guild’s Eerie Express
3000 N. Meridian
I readied to board the Eerie Express inside the Children’s Museum with 12-, 10- and 7-year-old boys. The eldest saw no reason to submit himself to terror and waited on a bench. The youngest backed out of the first black-lit compartment in tears, after a creepy train engineer warned us we wouldn’t make it out alive. The fifth-grader and I pressed on like Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, my arms wrapped tightly around him as I thrust my short companion through dark curtains to greet unknown ghouls. I’d like to tell you delightful details of the well-prepared train motif — the dining car, sleeping berths, the skeletons playing poker, the adults and children in 19th century garb — but I was too busy making a land speed record to notice much. We finished the 15-minute tour in a neat five. My brave friend, of the closed eyes and finger-plugged ears, remembers nothing but the candy shop at the end. We can report that there was no blood or gore, no chainsaws, only passengers that popped out yelling “Aah!” There was also a fun whirling tunnel inside the train and fabulous Lego landscape outside. The first-grader and I will return during the haunted train’s “friendly hours” for a presumably slower, brighter ride. Through Oct. 31; $6.50; 317-334-3322. —Josefa Beyer
350 Anniston Drive, Southport
The Fright Manor has been one of Indy’s haunted house mainstays for years, and continues to be the reliable old-faithful of the set. It’s perhaps the most traditional haunted house you could ask for, with nonstop animatronics, one wildly decorated room after another and plenty of actors hidden in ever-more-creative ways to sneak up and scare the bejeezus outta you. It’s bigger than ever, too, with three separate houses in one layout, making it one of the biggest haunted houses around. Last year I criticized it for feeling like just one house trying to be two; they’ve solved that this time around, with three haunts that really feel separate. That said, it did feel a bit irksome to have to wait in line three times. But a minor quibble. Through Nov. 1; $18; www.frightmanor.com —Paul F.P. Pogue
Hanna Haunted Acres
Four and a half stars
7323 E. Hanna
Hanna Haunted Acres is the Old Faithful of Indianapolis haunts. That said, for the last few years it felt like it was falling into a bit of a rut, a little TOO familiar. I’m pleased to report that while all the old standbys are still in place, Haunted Acres has gotten a fresh coat of paint, so to speak, that makes it new and relevant even to jaded haunt-goers like me. They’ve bumped their traditional range of events — three haunted houses, a corn maze and a hay ride — to include a sixth, the Blackout Maze, which is just what it sounds like (making your way through total darkness) and just as creepy as it sounds. The hayride, always the central attraction of Haunted Acres, is as fine as ever, with an overhaul that adds plenty of new animatronics and creepiness to the already-excellent goings-on. And, of course, it still has one of the most hair-raising finales of any haunt out there. (If you’ve never done it before, just make sure you get a seat near the back of the trailer. Trust me on this one.) At $27 (for all six events), Hanna Haunted Acres is a bit pricy, but it’s not just one haunted house — it’s practically a county fair of scares. You’ll be at it for at least two hours, not counting time waiting in lines, so you’ll get your money’s worth. Through Nov. 1; hannahauntedacres.com. —PFPP
Conner Prairie, 13400 Allisonville Road
The Headless Horseman event is a sure win if you’re looking for family entertainment. Storytelling, face painting, live music, puppet shows and a performance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by the City Center Children’s Theatre are just a portion of activities to enjoy before the Haunted Hay Ride. There’s a Disney movie, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mister Toad, playing in one tent, and another houses Rhythm Fun with Bill Bailey, where kids can take part in an ongoing jam session. The historic area of the park has been closed off to provide an excellent setting for the wagon ride. Ghoulies spring from the woods, and screams emanate from dark corners of the road. The Headless Horseman even makes a mounted pass at your wagon, seeking a head to call his own. It’s a thrilling 10-minute ride and the staff is very accommodating. Overall, it’s a great experience. S’mores, caramel apples and other snacks are reasonably priced ($2-$5), and some activities such as face painting ($3-$5) come at additional costs as well. Through Oct. 30; $7-$13, 317-776-6006, www.connerprairie.org. —Gray Bowman
Historic Hannah House
Hannah Mansion, 3801 Madison Ave.
The Hannah House bills itself as the only haunted house in Indianapolis to be held in a true haunted house — where slaves on the Underground Railroad died in a terrible fire and still roam the house today, in tales 1860s-costumed narrators will tell in great detail. One wonders what the restless dead think of killer clowns wandering the basement where they died. Hannah House really caught me by surprise; it packed a great deal into what seemed to be a small space, and once you get outside there’s a whole lot of pitch-black, in-the-woods craziness to be had. One thing I especially like: the actors in this thing are trained to be RELENTLESS; they don’t just jump out and say boo, they’ll stalk you through five, six, seven rooms and still be screaming at you. The Hannah House has its fair share of surprises that you’re not likely to see anywhere else. I won’t spoil them here, except to say that it’s “Game on” when you least expect it, and that at least one of the clever mind games — midway through, in the woods — is something I’ve never seen before in a haunted house, and it suckered me TWICE. Through Oct. 31; $15, $12 children; thehannahmansion.org. —PFPP
Irvington Haunted Walk
Three and a half stars
The upside of the Irvington Haunted Walk — a two-hour tour of some of the most infamous sites in the historic neighborhood — is that I had no idea that Irvington was home to so many creeps, horrors and specters. And not just the woo-woo kind either (although the tour has plenty of that), but real-life terrors such as the home of former Indiana KKK grand dragon, D.C. Stephenson, and, a little ways down that road, that of his final victim, Madge Oberholtzer, whose death at his hands broke the back of the Klan forever. Or then there’s the site where Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train passed through Indianapolis, or the final murders committed by one of the worst serial killers in history, H.H. Holmes. If there’s any downside to the walk, it’s that the interpreters and narrators aren’t always the best and most charismatic storytellers — but with material this good, you don’t necessarily have to be. Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 1; $15 (Not recommended for children 12 and under. A free one-hour tour for children ages 7-12 will be held Oct. 25 at 1 p.m., tickets will be available at 8 a.m. that morning at Lazy Daze Coffee House.); www.lazydazecoffeehouse.com. —PFPP
2525 N. Shadeland Ave.
This is Indy’s elite haunted environment. The props, set design and elaborate format of the labyrinth are the true spectacle of Necropolis; it is almost unfortunate that as each room and corridor is traversed, you are not able to stop and flip the light switch to take it all in. Instead, an adrenaline-induced state of vigilance takes hold and does not let go until the very last evil clown is averted. (The clowns … God help you with the clowns.) For an additional $7, attendees are treated to two additional houses — one of which does not offer any unique surprises and is a let down following the Necropolis main attraction, but the “Night Terrors” attraction nearly steals the show, if not in overall quality, with its horrifyingly clever surprise. Through Nov. 1; combo ticket $25; 317-353-1987. —Andrew Roberts
Nightmare on Edgewood
Three and a half stars
6004 Camden St.
Without the bells and whistles of a high-budget haunting, Nightmare on Edgewood offers classic horrors with enthusiastic performances, sparing none of the traditional characters or nuances needed for a freshly soiled pair of pantaloons. This is the final year for Nightmare on Edgewood, a sad ending to a Southside tradition that lasted several years. Aside from its elite entertainment value and tradition, Edgewood deserves special attention because of its built in philanthropy and community building: Proceeds benefit the Edgewood Athletic Association, the baseball and softball diamonds on which the event is located. Through Nov. 1 (a discount is offered for those wearing a costume on Halloween night); $15; 317-783-9523, www.edgewoodathletics.org. —AR
Stonycreek Farm, 11366 S.R. 38 East, Noblesville
One caveat to the five-star rating: That’s assuming that you have a young kid or several around. When I was young, my second-favorite thing about Halloween, next to the candy itself, was running by the pumpkin patch to get the season’s jack-o-lantern-to-be. Stonycreek Farm reminds me of that, with a whole lot of awesome niftiness added on, whether it be the straw maze, kid-friendly haunted house (bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside) and a pretty freakin’ enormous Pyramid of Straw (which would have been pretty much the coolest thing ever when I was a kid). Plus, a pumpkin patch. (And a really big one at that!) It’s like the county fair conflated with Halloween, and for families concerned about the haunted houses that might rack up more than $100 per family before you even count the food, it’s the perfect alternative. Through Oct. 31; $5 parking fee (other fees, dependent on activity, range from $1 to $5); www.stonycreekfarm.net. —PFPP
Four and a half stars
Post Road Recreation Center
4700 N. Post Road
Screamers takes great pride in being utterly unique, with every one of its gruesome creations being a fully formed design of its own, not based on recycling tropes from classic film or TV horror. And it certainly succeeds on that front, with something new around every corner. Screamers does a great job in upending the expected, to the point that when you’re walking down a creepy hallway, you’re not even sure what side the horror in general is going to come from, let alone which particular door hides the Creepy Jumpy Guy. It caught me off guard quite a bit, and that’s always a pleasure in a genre that’s too often mediocre. I particularly liked their creative use of frothing, bubbling blood and toxic waste vomit. Screamers feels a little short, especially compared to some of the mammoth labyrinths out there, but what it lacks in length, it certainly makes up in style. Through Oct. 31; $12; www.screamershauntedcreations.com. —PFPP
Trail of Terror
11991 Florida Road, Fortville
The Trail of Terror provides a family-friendly haunted walk through the dark forest not far from Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. While the trail itself isn’t too terrifying, some of the scariest parts of the experience occur before you even walk into the woods. Winding through the dark countryside of Hamilton County, you have to follow an eerie gravel road to reach the Trail of Terror. Once you are there, you are asked to sign a waiver that warns of the dangers you may encounter along the way. You will be relieved that there are no real dangers there, but will be surprised by the originality of the frights. Normal haunted houses make you fear what is around each corner, while the Trail of Terror makes you fear the skies! Watch out for the repelling werewolves and other boogey men who “drop in” for a good scare. There are several other unique stops along the trail, such as creepy fogs, disorienting strobe lights and chainsaw wielding maniacs. Overall, the Trail of Terror is a frighteningly fun half-mile journey. Through Nov. 1; $20; trailofterror.net. —Evan William Roberts