Whether you are looking for a family-friendly walk in the woods – accompanied by some spooky stories – or a campy live theater gorefest, Newburyport has all your Halloween tricks and treats in a compact and beautiful package. This seaside community is more than meets the eye – and the newly formed Newburyport Arts Collective is working to build further Halloween happenings every year. Watch a horror movie that was banned in the 1980s, walk the streets of downtown dressed like a witch, or learn to carve a pumpkin – safely – from a crafting expert.
“With downtown arts organizations finally able to welcome visitors in-person, Newburyport is getting into the Halloween spirit,” says John Moynihan, NAC Steering Committee Moderator and executive director of the Firehouse Center for the Arts. “We’re excited to invite people back to be entertained in our safe, friendly little city, exploring our restaurants, stores, and beautiful outdoor spaces.”
Here are 10 unique ways members of the Newburyport Arts Collective invite you to celebrate Halloween in Newburyport.
The Spirits of Oak Hill, a collaboration between Anna Smulowitz and Joppa Junior Dance Company
Oct. 19, 5:30 p.m.
Youth theater and youth dance combine for a spooky celebration of the season, outdoors at Oak Hill Cemetery. Bring blankets or a chair to this free performance. More information available here.
Witches’ Night Out, Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Oct. 22, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Dress in your best costume! On this night, the streets of downtown Newburyport and the Tannery will be filled with witches, ghosts, vampires and other Halloween characters for a grown-up version of trick-or-treat, with merchant hospitality, seasonal Halloween treats, shopping, and more! Attendees are urged to come in costume.
Full Moon “Goosebumps” Story Slam, The Actors Studio of Newburyport
October 23, 7 p.m.
This monthly storytelling competition puts equal emphasis on content and performance, resulting in as much fun as you can possibly have on Zoom! Participants tell a five-minute true story based on the evening’s theme: “Goosebumps.”
To learn more or register, visit the Actors Studio website.
Maudslay is Haunted, Theater in the Open
Oct. 23 & 24 (Raindate Oct. 30), 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Bring the family for a one-hour walk through eerie vignettes, spooky sketches and haunting scenes at this all-time favorite Halloween event held outdoors in beautiful Maudslay State Park. Don’t worry about the little ones being too frightened – they’ll be given a magic acorn to hold tight and keep them safe from the ghouls. $10; Children 4 and under free (Parking at Maudslay State Park: $5 in-state & $10 for out-of-state.)
For more information, visit the Theater in the Open website.
Evil Dead the Musical, Firehouse Center for the Arts
Weekends, Oct. 22-31
Five college students go to an abandoned cabin in the woods and accidently unleash an evil force that turns them all into demons. Blood flies. Limbs are dismembered. Demons tell bad jokes… and all to music.
For tickets, visit the Firehouse Center website.
Family Jack o’ Lantern Carving, Tinkerhaus Maker Space
Oct. 24, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Pumpkins and tools provided! Learn how to transfer your design ideas onto a pumpkin and safely carve using tools, appropriate for children over 6. Buy tickets at the Tinkerhaus website.
Pumpkin Carving Workshop for Teens and Tweens, Tinkerhaus Maker Space
Oct. 29, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Pumpkins and tools provided! Learn to transfer the idea in your head to a design on a pumpkin and try out really cool carving tools. Pizza included! Tickets and more information at the Tinkerhaus website.
Rocky Horror Picture Show, Firehouse Center for the Arts
October 29, 11 p.m.
In this cult classic film with rock songs and elaborate dances, sweethearts Brad and Janet are stuck with a flat tire during a storm and discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, they meet a houseful of wild characters including “Rocky.” Prop bags full of stuff to throw are included with your ticket!
Visit the Firehouse Center website for tickets.
Possession, A Once-Banned Horror Film, The Screening Room of Newburyport
Oct. 29and 30, 8:30 p.m.
Called “unpredictable, horrific, [with] moments of terrifying lucidity only serving to highlight the staggering derangement at its core,” by Time Out, this film was banned after its release in the U.K. in 1981, and subsequently shown in the U.S. only in a deeply edited 81-minute version. Here, a newly restored version of the stunningly choreographed nightmare of a marriage unraveling is presented in its full form.
Buy tickets here.
War of the Worlds, The Actors Studio of Newburyport
Oct. 30, 5 p.m.
On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater broadcast a version of H.G. Wells’ novel ‘War of the Worlds,’ setting off a panic across the country. Join TASN Vintage Radio Players as they recreate that broadcast live and in-person at the Firehouse Center for the Performing Arts.
Ticket available at the Actors Studio website.