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Carving pumpkins, dressing up as the undead, purposefully scaring ourselves silly – Halloween is already a holiday with plenty of odd rituals. But for those seeking something stranger, there is no shortage of weird events to help ring in all Hallows Eve.
From shooting out zombies to smashing pumpkins with construction equipment, here are a few extreme versions of more traditional frights.
Instead of: Dressing like zombies
Try: Killing zombies with paintballs
Zombie pub crawls and parades, like those in Chicago, Brisbane and Dublin, have become practically passé. So why join them when you can beat them? Skip the heavy makeup and take on zombies head to head at the Zombie Apocalypse in Atlanta, Georgia. The two-part attraction includes immersion into a zombie onslaught across a 35-acre truck stop and a specialized arena where participants can take up paintball arms against the undead.
Instead of: Watching horror movies in the basement
Try: Watching horror movies with 1,100 people in costume
While celebrities and indie-types frequent other film festivals, ghouls and vampires are the norm at the Heavy Hitting B-Grade Horrorfest at the Fairmont Chateau in Whistler, British Columbia. Celebrating its 10th anniversary on 30 October, the festival is the longest-running and largest horror film festival in Western Canada. Filmmakers premier short scary films (all under 10 minutes) for the chance to win the Silver Skull Trophy.
Instead of: Smashing pumpkins
Try: Smashing pumpkins with construction equipment
People at Play is no ordinary Florida amusement park. Instead of rides, visitors work real-life construction equipment like bulldozers and excavators through obstacle courses. Those who sign up for the October “Punkin’ Chunkin’” package also get to destroy a dozen pumpkins with the supersize equipment.
Instead of: Visiting a haunted house
Try: Getting scared by train or ship
In Vancouver, the normally innocent Stanley Park train has been transformed for the season into the “Circus of Disaster”, showcasing escaped animals, creepy clowns and skeleton acrobats. The one-mile train ride lasts about 15 minutes, but elsewhere in the park, survivors can check out the face painting and pumpkin carving in the park.
Off the coast of Newport Beach, California, the 1930s insane asylum-themed Ghost Ship is the world’s only haunted attraction that sails in open ocean. It had its premiere voyage on 14 October and sails for a scary 75 minutes every Friday and Saturday through the end of the month.