10 things to do in Boston this Halloween weekend

BosTen is your weekly guide to events and cool happenings in and around Boston.

Witch's Woods in Westford.
Witch's Woods in Westford. Handout

While Massachusetts has reopened museums and other cultural institutions during Phase 3, many residents are continuing to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic. With that in mind, this week’s BosTen offers a mix of things to do this weekend. Have an idea about what we should cover? Leave us a comment on this article or in the BosTen Facebook group, or email us at [email protected].

Enjoy Halloween treats without going trick-or-treating

While Halloween looks decidedly more socially distanced this year (forget bobbing for apples), food festivities haven’t completely fallen by the wayside. We rounded up 11 restaurants that are putting their best ghoulish foot forward, like Somerville’s Juliet, which will throw its own virtual murder mystery dinner party, and Cambridge’s Harvest, which is currently taking orders for a candy-inspired doughnut package. Attend a “basic witches” brunch, a “Twin Peaks” homage, and a Día De Muertos celebration — and save the jam-packed costume parties for, hopefully, next year.

Snuggle up on the couch for IFF Boston’s Fall Focus Film Fest

Outside of its spring festival, for the last five years, IFF Boston has put on a highly successful Fall Focus Film Fest, which gives audiences a chance to catch early Oscar contenders and film festival darlings. This year’s fest, which runs from Oct. 29 through Nov. 2, will be virtual, but the movies are as strong as ever. Highlights include “Minari,” starring Steven Yuen (“The Walking Dead”) as a Korean-American father moving his family to Arkansas in pursuit of the American dream, and “Sound of Metal,” a Massachusetts-filmed movie starring Riz Ahmed (“Rogue One”) as a metal drummer whose life begins to unravel as he starts to lose his hearing. You can buy individual tickets or an all-access festival pass at IFF Boston’s website.

Enjoy free admission to Drumlin Farm

The Highland Street Foundation’s annual Free Fun Friday didn’t happen as planned this summer, but you can still take advantage of select free days this fall, including this Friday at Drumlin Farm. Take a stroll at the Audobon Society property along its numerous trails, pay a visit to the farm animals, and stop by the farm stand on your way out. While admission is free, visitors must choose an entry time via Eventbrite.

Catch Halloween movies of all types at a drive-in movie theater

With traditional movie theaters sitting near-empty and almost no new major releases, drive-in theaters have continued to be the cinematic experience of choice during the pandemic. The drive-ins that have remained open past Labor Day weekend have queued up great lineups of Halloween-themed entertainment. If we were to pick a show each night, here’s how we would do it: On Thursday, the Mendon Twin offers up a double dose of Sam Raimi with “The Evil Dead” and “Evil Dead II”; Friday, the Northfield Drive-In has a family-friendly triple feature with “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” “Hocus Pocus,” and “Addams Family Values”; Saturday, the Topsfield pop-up drive-in has a double dose of Michael Myers (not the “Austin Powers” actor) with “Halloween” and “Halloween II”; and Sunday, Christian Herter Park in Allston does the time warp again with a free walk-up screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show.” (Note: Christian Herter Park isn’t a drive-in, and the event is first-come, first-serve with a limit of 50 viewers.)

Listen to spooky stories at Frightful Fridays

Despite its spooky-sounding name, Gore Place usually isn’t especially creepy. That will change on Friday when staff presents an outdoor version of the Waltham estate’s annual Frightful Fridays event. Guests will be able to enjoy five spooky stories in the shadow of Gore Mansion — but not too spooky: Staff says the event is fine for kids ages six and up. The 6:30 story time is already sold out, but there is still space for the 7:45 readings.

Get spellbound by the Sanderson Sisters for “Hulaween”

While a “Hocus Pocus” sequel may still be a ways away, fans won’t have to wait too long to see the Sanderson sisters reunited. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy will reunite at 8 p.m. Friday on Zoom for Midler’s annual “Hulaween” costume gala. The fundraiser will benefit New York Restoration Project, Midler’s nonprofit dedicated to creating and preserving open green spaces for public use in New York City.

Bring Puritan & Co.’s annual Harvest dinner into your own home

Now in its seventh year, Puritan & Co.’s Harvest dinner is being given the takeout treatment, with a four-course meal available for pickup and delivery on October 30 and 31. Chef Will Gilson tips his hat to harvest season with a menu that includes local cheeses with fall preserves, house pickles, and rye crackers; harvest squash bisque; dry-aged pork chop with salt-baked apple; and pumpkin tart. The $55 meal can be ordered through October 31, with the option to add one of two drink pairings: a $45 wine pairing for two, or a $20 apple cider and brandy pairing for two. 

Vote for your favorite Zombie cocktail

It’s a battle for the undead: On Saturday, cocktail bars Noir, Shore Leave, and Variety Bar are pitting their own version of the classic Zombie cocktail against each other, offering visitors of Noir inside Cambridge’s The Charles Hotel to try all three and vote for a favorite. From 5 p.m. to midnight, guests can sip on each and stick around until 12 p.m., when a winner will be announced. Be sure to dress up, too — costume contest winners will receive a prize from Privateer Rum. 

Take a ghost walk in the South End

Sister restaurants The Beehive and Cósmica are hosting all-day festivities on Saturday, inviting guests to take a ghost walk between venues throughout the day to enjoy family-friendly activities. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., both locations will offer food and drink specials, along with free candy for kids and prizes for costume contest winners. From 5 p.m. to midnight, the celebrations continue with more dramatic food specials — think General Tso’s pig head and blood sausage — and a Day of the Dead theme at Cósmica. Reservations are encouraged.

Visit one of New England’s haunted attractions

Though some local haunted houses aren’t opening this year due to the coronavirus, others have continued to operate, with some completely reimagining their offerings and all adding numerous safety requirements. As Spooky World’s Nightmare New England puts it, “This year, everyone wears a mask.” Over at Witch’s Woods in Westford, a timed ticket grants you access to five haunted attractions, but each guest must finish in 90 minutes and make a reservation in advance. As of now, tickets are still available on the Witch’s Woods website.


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