Zombies, ghouls and goblins: it’s Halloween in Montréal!
This article was updated on October 9, 2019.
The ghosts of Montréal are out and about every night of the year in the Montréal en Histoires - Cité Mémoire lightshows throughout Old Montréal, but their numbers rise exponentially every Halloween, from the little ghouls and goblins trick-or-treating door-to-door throughout the city’s neighbourhoods to the bigger kids partying the night away in mind-blowing costumes. Here’s some of Montréal’s most exciting Halloween events sure to make heads turn – and some of them roll!
For the little ones (and those young at heart)
Each year the Space for Life’s Montréal Botanical Garden holds The Great Pumpkin Ball, featuring the Little Monsters Courtyard, pumpkin decorating contests, spooky games and kooky story time with Esmeralda the witch. As an added bonus, the Gardens of Light lanterns extravaganza – featuring glowing artworks from Asian and First Nations cultures – runs until Halloween night, and makes for the perfect way to take a peaceful breather for the grown ups. Everything runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily right up to Halloween.
Those looking for a twist on Halloween fun will love bowling in their best costumes at BoulZeye, while Laser Game Evolution offers exciting Halloween laser tag events across its three labyrinthine levels. Starting October 25, the celebrations include make-up for younger taggers and a Panic Room sure to thrill any family.
It’s lights off at the Stewart Museum for the new escape game Phantoms of the Island, reserved for families – urged to come in costume! – on October 26 and 27 (with an adults-only version on October 31). The Strange Ghosts of Pointe-à-Callière take over their namesake museum on October 26 and 27, taking kids aged 4 to 10 on a journey through the city’s archaeological history with kid-friendly ghost tales of bygone times in Montréal.
Those wanting to go further back in time won’t want to miss the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts’ Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives exhibition. There’s also few places spookier during Halloween season than a wax museum, and Grévin MONTRÉAL never disappoints.
Considered the “most haunted city in Canada,” Haunted Montréal’s ghost walks will take you and yours into some of the city’s most paranormal locations. You can see some of its previous findings of ghostly activity on the Haunted Montréal Blog. That slight chill you just felt was only an autumn breeze … or was it? It’s also presenting Short Stories of Haunted MTL at the Observatoire Place Ville Marie – but if the ghosts won’t get you up atop one of the city’s tallest buildings, maybe a fear of heights will!
And if you’ve ever wanted to take a ride on a ghost train, Railway Ghosts at Exporail / The Canadian Railway Museum promises a spirited time amongst their collection of train cars and rail ephemera – but no promise you’ll ever make it to your destination (cue evil laugh here)!
Thrills for the grown-ups
If you’ve ever wanted to experience life inside a horror movie, Malefycia creates a living, breathing place of horror for participants 18+, with live actors, spraying blood and terrifying effects. As always, the organizers suggest you wear comfortable clothing just in case the show gets too real. You might want to practice your escape tactics in advance at one of A/Maze Escape Games' four locations around Montréal.
As if the rollercoasters at La Ronde weren’t already terrifying enough, the annual Fright Fest (running from October 5 to 27) turns the park into a slasher film come to life, including chainsaw-toting zombies chasing you from ride to ride. Bring running shoes and sick bags, just in case. Speed junkies will also love the MTL Zipline as it rockets over the Old Port of Montréal hanging from a single wire. Don’t mind the screams.
The annual multi-venue Festival Halloween MTL promises excitement throughout the city centre, from improv to comedy and from film screenings to the Night of Dead Celebrities coming back to life!
Pointe-à-Callière’s Échappe-toi promises an unforgettable escape game experience amongst the city’s historic foundations, including DJ and beverage to get you into the spirit. History fans will also enjoy Les créatures de la nuit at the Stewart Museum on October 20, a presentation on vampires, witches and succubae.
There’s several walking tours available, including the Traditional Montréal Ghosts Walks - Guidatour in Old Montréal and Secret Montréal’s Ghosts of the Red Light District tour, exposing the sinful underbelly of the city’s iconic cobblestone streets.
Speaking of sinful, Cirque de Boudoir’s Salem Halloween event at Théâtre Paradoxe on October 26 turns the idea of the sexy witch costume on its head with a night of kinky fun inspired by the bewitching New England town infamous for its witchcraft. Those with a thirst for more heels and fishnets won’t want to miss MainLine Theatre’s annual The Rocky Horror Show, running from October 17 to November 2. Don’t forget the wieners!
Mark Hamilton, blogger, Queer MTL community manager
Male, mid-to-late 30s, tall and bearded. Likes romantic walks on Mont Royal, long-distance cycling, beard oil products and antique travel guides. Has a bad habit of falling in love with men in vintage photographs who are certainly long dead. If he could be anything, he’d live his life as a professional flâneur. Until then, he spends his time writing, making music, and wandering.