Recommended Event: Halloween Home Decorating Contest
Wondering where to go or what to do on All Saints’ Day? Come to Anoka, the Halloween capital of the world. Proceeds from Halloween events support community organizations and charities. One event that draws out community spirit is the home decorating contest. It’s the ideal Halloween activity for those who go batty over home decorating and home improvement. Taking first prize last year was the home on 17741 Orchid St. NW in Andover. Through the beguiling arrangement of real and origami orchids of varying textures and colors, the homeowners created a hauntingly beautiful theater. There were no skeletons in this family closet; they had a great time outdoors. Some sprawled across the family plot; a few made themselves at home on the lawn; another was draped over chained wooden trestles. A veiled apparition graciously hosted the get-together. The home decorating contest is open to residents of Anoka, Andover and Ramsey. Winners receive a cash prize.
1900 Marshall St., N.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55418
At this funky tiki bar hangout, every day is Halloween. The riverfront patio has a forbidding (or forbidden?) looking wooden deity. Er-Ah (repeat several times) — perhaps this piece of teak (or laminate) is a warrior guardian to the powerful tiki god. Its lifeless but mighty protruding spears are a barricade to going overboard on lounge-concocted island libations. On the patio, revelers can enjoy a candle-lit Hawaiian luau under thatched imitation bamboo trees. Maybe these are palm trees. (What the heck!) If the patio looks too mundane, head to the Shrunken Head bar and do voodoo tricks before your friends and drinking buddies. A life-sized green shrunken head presides over ceremonial rituals. Next, take your sweetheart to the lush tropical Forbidden Cove, themed with passion flowers and palm trees (but are they real?). Finally, go to Ports of Pleasure on an unmapped island where dried coconut trees are abundant. You won’t get wanded or carded as long as you’re of age. Nor will you have to pass muster with uniformed security guards. Escape to Ports of Pleasure if the zombies are on your trail.
Nightmare Hallow Scream Park
15201 Zurich St.
Columbus, MN 55025
Since 1991, this Halloween scream theme amusement park has been taking those who dare on a nightmare hayride. The hayride is not for children, the faint of heart or those with weak stomachs. The props are mostly kitschy rather than scary. The scariest is the network of black bungee cords that form a dark spider web, trapping the unwary who ride the Terror Trail (Eek!). Those who manage to take shelter inside the haunted house walk through cavernous papier-mâché labyrinths. Here, monsters greet visitors every treacherous step of the way. But the real décor at the door are the actors in creepy costumes and ghastly face paint. Their campy star turn and funky flair for the ghoulish are worth the price of admission. You, too can get into the act, even if you’re not a professional actor. The scream park looks for real people to pose as monsters in the park’s haunted house. But first, you’ll have to get past the zombies on your way to the audition before Halloween.
701 First Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
A popular dance club, First Avenue is said to also be haunted. The building’s architecture is its own décor — rounded in front and painted black. The side walls are decked out in white stars with the names of bands and musicians, past and present, who performed at the club. Built in 1937, the dance club began as an art deco bus depot with the latest in traveler comfort: public phones, air conditioning and shower facilities. The curved wall behind the bus gates was converted decades later into a large “plush purple” stage for live rock performances. Paranormal manifestations began after a young woman hung herself in the powder room. Today, her apparition is sometimes seen dancing with other night club patrons. So far, no one has booed her off the dance floor.
2044 Robert St., S.
West St. Paul., MN 55118
Lights, costumes, special effects — Twin Cities Magic has everything for Halloween, costumed parties, themed occasions or a theatrical setting. Generate bubbles, fog, haze and flames with help from special effects equipment. Fan the flames and control atmospheric effects with machines from special effects manufacturers. In the store are theater and club lighting fixtures, accessories and lighting supplies. Hats, masks, boa feathers, an assortment of costumes and costume accessories, shoes and jewelry complement the special effects. And the atmospheric effects are in character with the costumes. If unsure about what to wear to a masquerade ball or a Halloween party, Twin Cities can put together a captivating costume. Add a few special effects and you’ll become the life of the party or the enchanting belle of the ball.
Linda Cameron has written home design, home improvement and lifestyle articles for The Boston Globe and City Shopper Magazine. She has related interests in the building industry, travel, real estate and financing. She is a contributor to Examiner, House Spot, Techsling and Behance, covering topics on career, people, businesses, education and technology.