Choosing where to Spend the Scariest Night of the Year

by Noemi Arellano-Summer

Photography courtesy of Billy Bevevino

October is the best time of year to grab your friends and go discover the city’s darker side. Once the leaves starting changing and professors start talking about midterms, that’s when it’s time to start planning Halloween parties and costumes, and maybe sneaking some time in here or there for an event exploring Boston’s frightening side.

As one of the oldest cities in the U.S., it would seem obvious that Boston has some otherworldly places to visit and tall tales to match. Halloween tours collect those legends and stories to show to the public, while other Halloween events simply aim to have fun.

The Ghosts and Gravestones Tour began in 1998 after people began expressing interest in the strange tales and legends of Boston and has ran ever since. The hour-and-a-half seasonal tour runs from the end of March to the middle of November and covers cemeteries such as the Granary Burying Ground, the haunted hotel of the Omni Parker House (where the Boston Strangler’s last victim died) and the Boston Harbor.

Ghost Ship Harbor is an immersive haunted house attraction that opened in 2016 and runs from the end of September to Halloween night. Located in Quincy, MA, it features a number of attractions all situated on a 718-foot-long battleship, the USS Salem. These include midway games, food, an entertainment area with alcoholic drinks, tarot card readings and a virtual reality experience.

Another off-campus option is catching a T-ride and heading to Salem, MA, best known as the location of the 1692 witch trials. During the entire month of October, there are Haunted Happenings events, including history tours, carnivals and various parties on the actual night of Halloween. There are also several witch walks and tarot card experiments for those curious in the magical side of October 31.

If you’re planning on staying in, campus offers plenty of fun opportunities to spend Halloween . West Campus, Danielson, 575 Commonwealth Avenue and the Towers feature parties for students, while Myles Standish Hall arranges a carnival every year featuring a haunted house and games.

The Brownstone RHA leads a free ghost tour on Friday, October 24. The Upper Bay State brownstones are also holding a Siblings Trick or Treat event.

Students reflect on the qualities that make different tourist traps and Halloween events stand out or appeal the most to them.

“Last year was my first BU Halloween, and I remember I had a Chem 101 exam on that Monday,” said Gayani Perera (CAS ’20). Although she ended up studying, Perera found time to go to a pumpkin painting event at in her dorm with a couple of friends as a study break.

Even though it’s only the middle of October, some BU students have gotten into the spirit early.

On Friday the 13, the Towers RHA put together a showing of the stop-motion film Coraline, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman. Food and drinks were also provided.

“Personally, this month I am planning on taking my residents to Towers of Terror! [the Halloween event for the Towers],” said Towers Resident Assistant Simran Kaur (Questrom ’19).

She also added in some advice for Halloween, reminding students to “stay safe as this is a city, but that being said have fun!”

The BU Physics department also gets in on the fun every year. For 12 years running, they have held a combination pumpkin drop and costume contest.

This year’s event is on October 27 at 12:30 p.m., in front of the Metcalf Science Center. There is also a contest for guessing the weight of the largest pumpkin dropped.

There are plenty of events during Halloween weekend in which to get involved. As all of these events are annual or seasonal, if you don’t choose the right event to go to this year, there’s always next year to try a different activity.