Things to do in Montréal October 27 to November 2

Robyn Fadden

Might as well call this Halloween week in Montréal: costumed family activities and zombie walks outdoors, high-energy parties and events all over the city for days – and  there's still plenty of non-Halloween art, dance, theatre, film, a diversity of live music and more.

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Halloween thrills

Halloween in Montréal is all about the best tricks and treats, scares and surprises – we've got the ghoulish goods on what the city's doing for Halloween weekend, from ghost tours to late-night parties. Among it all: La Trouble-Fête celebrates Montréal’s 375th in spooky style October 27-29 at Place des Festivals with storytelling, music and giant marionettes at Friday's L'éveil des morts; the zombie hordes and live music by Duchess Says and more at La Marche des Zombies de Montréal on Saturday afternoon; and family-focused wizard village Grande fête de la sorcellerie entertainment on Sunday. Check out Montréal's most haunted places – if you dare. See the city from on high while wearing a Halloween mask at the Bal Masqué at the Observatoire de la Place Ville Marie on October 28 or from a rollercoaster at La Ronde’s Fright Fest. Party at the W Hotel at Yelp Montréal's Yelpoween or pay homage to your favourite Stranger Things character at Théâtre Fairmount. And beyond costumes and tall tales, we've got all kinds of ways to genuinely face your fears in Montréal, including on La Grande Roue de Montréal, the tallest observation wheel in the country.

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375 years of Montréal

Along with those major Halloween activities come other seasonally spectacular celebrations for Montréal's 375th anniversary. Among the many free things to do this fall in Montréal, walk along McGill College Avenue to see the photographs of Expo 67: The Place to Be, along Sherbrooke Street in the Golden Square Mile for La Balade pour la Paix: An Open-Air Museum, download Projet EVA art collective's Cortège to your phone and take an immersive tour along the Promenade Fleuve-Montagne, and in Old Montréal to see the historic tableaux projections of Cité Memoire. While there, see Notre-Dame Basilica and multimedia wonder AURA. Explore the Plateau neighbourhood through the eyes of Paul à Montréal, a self-guided tour based on the beloved comic art of Michel Rabagliati. Spend an evening illuminated at the Montréal Botanical Garden’s enchanting family-friendly Gardens of Light to October 31. Or cheer for NHL greats the Montréal Canadiens as they take to home ice against the New York Rangers on October 28 on the Bell Centre.

Fall food and drink

From gourmet table d’hôte dinners to cozy weekend brunches and special events, MTLàTable Montréal restaurant week features 175 restaurants offering multi-course meals at fantastic prices ($21, $31 or $41), November 2-16, including classic Montréal restaurants, hotel restaurants and pubs and supper clubs. Autumn in Montréal means seasonal feasts and a variety of harvest activities for all ages. Drop by the city's public markets to see what's in season and discover creative new cuisine from Québec at our Montréal restaurant picks for fall. If you're looking for tried-and-true Québécois classic dishes, we've got the goods on where to find the best poutine and more musts for foodies visiting Montréal – plus where to go shopping for foodies too. Explore some of Montréal's liveliest neighbourhoods through their great restaurants, including downtown Parisian brasserie Le Pois Penche for a Sous le soleil de Provence 7-course meal by visiting chef Hervé Pochat-Baron October 27-28, and several restaurants from Old Montréal to Little Italy competing in Pizza Week to October 31. Caffeinate in style at Montréal's indie coffee shops or with the city's best iced coffee. Relax with weekend brunch or a creative cocktail. Or see how health-conscious food can be genuinely exciting and delicious in Montréal.

Art inspires

Multidisciplinary exhibition Once Upon A Time… The Western gives the Western film genre new artistic life at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts while immersive installation Kushapetshekan / Kosapitcikan – A Glimpse Into the Other World by Atikamekw artists Eruoma Awashish and Meky Ottawa and Innu artist Jani Bellefleur-Kaltush evokes the sacred. Renowned art foundation DHC/ART in Old Montréal celebrates its 10th anniversary with L'Offre a dynamic group exhibition exploring concepts of "the gift," as well as the pioneering video art and installation work of Bill Viola: Naissance à rebours. The Montréal Science Centre presents interactive new exhibition Indigenous Ingenuity: Timeless Inventions, from the essentials of First Peoples’ scientific principles to how to build an igloo, alongside photo exhibition Regalia: Native Pride featuring 30 Indigenous portraits. The Phi Centre pays homage to American artist, designer and illustrator Barbara Nessim in exhibition Conditions de fluidité, featuring over 50 works. See Montréal painter Melanie Authier's first solo show, Contrarieties & Counterpoints, and new photography work by Carolyne Scenna at Galerie de l’UQAM. Explore the golden age of magicians in the McCord Museum's Illusions: The Art of Magic. Explore the Mile Ex neighbourhood near Little Italy and the Jean Talon Market and stop by gallery Never Apart to see its fall exhibitions. And if you're driving to or from the airport along Highway 20, keep an eye out for Alain Paiement's art work Bleu de Bleu.

On stage

On the English-language theatre scene this fall, see hockey-legend history unfold in Playing with Fire: The Theo Fleury Story at Centaur Theatre to October 29 or classic winter tale The Hockey Sweater: A Musical at the Segal Centre; Black Theatre Workshop's powerful staging of Katori Hall's The Mountaintop at the Segal Centre to October 29; and the musical-comedy theatre of Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show at Mainline Theatre. Montréal's fall dance scene promises thrilling, contemplative, boundary-pushing shows: Les Grands Ballets dances Stabat Mater and Beethoven's 7th Symphony choreographed by Edward Clug and Uwe Scholzat at Place des Arts to October 28; Danse Danse presents the amazing Hofesh Shechter Company's Grand Finale at Théâtre Maisonneuve November 1-4; Tangente and Agora de la danse present the Dansu series by three Japanese choreographers to October 28; and installation performance Serpentine by Daina Ashbee, October 31 to November 1 at Usine C

On screen

Put on a VR headset to see a roster of short films and immersive VR work in Lucid Realities or watch the short films of the Not Short on Talent showcase at the Phi Centre. Explore space in double feature KYMA – Power of Waves and Edge of Darkness at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, see Amazon 3D in IMAX at the Montréal Science Centre or immerse yourself in the high-tech audiovisual spectacle of Harmonielehre, featuring music by John Adams as played by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, at the SAT to October 27 followed by Liquid Architecture by Wiklow, Diagraf and EWERX and Hyperforme by Max Cooper and maotik, starting October 31. Families can dress up and see Felix Concerto en chat majeur, Felix the Cat films accompanied by live piano music at Cinquième Salle on October 29. The edgy 5th annual Au Contraire Film Festival explores the relationship between creativity and mental health to October 27 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Filmmaker François Jacob takes us to a Siberian Arctic mining town in documentary A Moon of Nickel and Ice at Cinéma du Parc. And the Cinemania Festival of Francophone film (with English subtitles!) kicks off on November 2 with comedy Le Sens de la Fête followed by more feature films, shorts, talks and more to November 12.

Classical and cultural

The 18th Arab World Festival of Montréal opens on October 27 with the traditional-meets-modern rhythms of Belgian-Tunisian collective Bargou 08 at Le National while Perséides and Tandem nomade play a free show at 4 pm at Espace Culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme at Place des Arts. Among the many shows to catch before the festival closes on November 12: the nightingale of Moroccan song Nabyla Maan enchants on October 28 at Le National, while on October 31 theatrical musical performance Hourya by Leila Toubel and Mehdi Trabelsi compells at Cinquième Salle. Sudanese-born Rasha Sheikh Eldine performs November 1 at Cinquième Salle followed on November 2 by singer, oud player and composer Waed Bouhassoun while Hubert Dupont and fellow musicians play traditional Oriental music and fusion jazz in their Golan concert at the Phi Centre. In other classical music this fall, see the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and three world-renowned organists in concert Montréal, The City of 100 Bell Towers, celebrating the city's rich religious heritage, at the Maison symphonique de Montréal on October 28. Later in the week, Kent Nagano conducts Rachmaninoff and Adams at the Maison symphonique, November 1-4, and Italian composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi presents an anthology of his greatest hits at Place des Arts on November 1.

More live music

On Friday night, Italian prog rock band Goblin, known for their work with horror filmmaker Dario Argento, perform with openers Morricone Youth at Théâtre Fairmount, while Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy and Amy Shark strum up some feelings at Théâtre Corona and Yumi Zouma and She-Devils rock out at Bar le Ritz PDB. Saturday night brings London-based singer-songwriter rapper-producer King Krule and Show Me The Body to MTelus, incredible exploratory electronic musician Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith to Bar le Ritz PDB, English electronic dance music producer Gareth Emery to New City Gas, and electronic producer Whethan and SAINT WKND to Le Belmont. Osheaga presents genre-pushing award-winning British indie-rock-pop band alt-J on Sunday, October 29 at Place Bell in Laval while noise-pop meets motown as US Girls plays La Sala Rossa. On Monday, get into the jazzy house-electro of Austrian musician-producer Parov Stelar at MTelus. On Halloween night, see eclectic musician Ariel Pink play Le National, dance to Dutch electronic duo Showtek at New City Gas, or sing your heart out with a live band at uRockaoke at Le Belmont. Singer-songwriter Colter Wall personifies classic country music on November 1 at Divan Orange, while MAX rolls his stylish Meteor Tour into Théâtre Fairmount on Thursday night.

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden, blogger

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

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