Halloween always feels a little extra special when it falls on a Saturday, so the excitement among children and parents alike will be through roof this weekend.
There won’t be another scary Saturday where Halloween is concerned until 2020, so thrillseekers will want to plan accordingly. There’s still plenty of time for the last-minute types to get in on the action, however. Here’s a list of some of the free events on tap this weekend in what has been called the most haunted city in Canada.
• Heritage Haunted House, 3808 Heritage Lane, Saanich, Saturday, 5:30-9:30 p.m. A fundraiser for the Help Fill A Dream foundation, this monster makeover takes more than two weeks to complete. Ages eight and up. Admission is by donation.
• Treat Street, downtown Sidney, Saturday, 3-5 p.m. A family-friendly trick-or-treat experience runs through the core of Sidney. The nearby Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa (9805 Seaport Pl.) will also be in on the action from 2-4 p.m. with a haunted house aimed at youngsters.
• Pumpkin Swim, Esquimalt Recreation Centre, 527 Fraser St., Saturday, 1-3 p.m. A family swim that includes a free pumpkin as a parting gift.
• Halloween Bonfire Centennial Park, 7500 Wallace Dr., Saturday, 7:30 p.m. The open expanse of Saanichton’s park will be the perfect spot for a bonfire and fireworks display staged by the Central Saanich Volunteer Fire Department. Hot dogs and hot refreshments are available, with donations benefiting Central Saanich Lions Club.
• Forest Spooktacular, Francis/King Regional Park, Munn Road, Saanich, Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. There’s plenty to do and see at this drop-in event, including a walk with Capital Regional District Parks naturalists, Halloween crafts and hot “ghoulish brew.” Wear a costume and win a prize.
• Halloween in Oak Bay Village 2-5 p.m., Saturday. Merchants on Oak Bay Avenue take part in this annual tradition, which stretches for blocks. Not far away is the bonfire at Fireman’s Park, near the Oak Bay Firehall, which will be lit at 6 p.m.
• Spooky Halloween Trick or Treat for children up to 10 years of age at Westshore Town Centre, Langford. Saturday, 3:30-5 p.m. with Twiggly Wiggly special magic tricks at 4 p.m. near the haunted house (near Dollarama). Children must be accompanied by an adult.
• Halloween Spooktacular for young families at Tillicum Centre, 3170 Tillicum Rd., Saanich, Saturday, 3-4 p.m.
• Tricks and Treats at Mayfair Shopping Centre, 3147 Douglas St., Victoria, Saturday, 3-5 p.m.
• Broadmead Village Halloween celebrations for trick or treating, Saturday, 3-5:30 p.m., 777 Royal Oak Dr., Saanich. broadmeadvillage.ca
• 4Cats Halloween Party at Uptown, 103-3450 Uptown Blvd., Saanich. Friday, 5-6:30 p.m., ages three and up. Cost $5. Register at 4cats.com
• Pumpkin Bowling, decoration and more at Victoria Public Market, 6-1701 Douglas St., Victoria. Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., victoriapublicmarket.com
• Halloween Spooktacular Fireworks at Bear Mountain Resort, 1999 Country Club Way, Langford. Fun starts 6 p.m. Saturday, fireworks at dusk (about 8 p.m.). bearmountain.ca
• Halloween Bonfire, Saturday 6-9 p.m. behind Archie Browning Sports Centre, 1151 Esquimalt Rd. Hosted by Esquimalt Lions. More information at esquimalt.ca.
• Haunted Zipline, at Adrena LINE Zipline Adventure Tours, 5128C Sooke Rd., to Saturday, 6, 6:30 and 7 p.m.
• Company Z Paintball Adventures: Zombie Hunters, Friday, 7:30-11:30 p.m. at Midway Paintball, 5500 Indian Road, Duncan. Cost: $50. companyzpaintball.com or 250-361-5124.
• Pumpkin Art on Oak Bay Avenue, at Oak Bay Municipal Hall, to Saturday, daily 5-9 p.m.
• Halloween Train at B.C. Forest Discovery Centre, to Friday, 3:30-9 p.m. at 2892 Drink-water Rd., Duncan. Tickets: $12/$10/$8. bcforestdiscoverycentre.com or 250-715-1113.
• Galey Farms Halloween at 4150 Blenkinsop Rd., Saanich. Activities include: Pumpkinfest, with train rides, corn maze and petting farm, Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Festival of Fear, 6-10 p.m. nightly to Saturday with Corn Maze of Horror, Crazy Train, Madame Isabella’s and Carnevil. Details: galeyfarms.net
• Vancouver Island Corn Maze at Pendray Farms, 9537 West Saanich Rd., North Saanich, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. to Saturday. Cost: $10/$5. vicornmaze.com or 250-891-5548.
• Evil Acres at 10375 Wilson Rd., North Saanich, presents Slaughter House Extreme; The Final Cut and The Darkness Maze; Phobia Edition. Cost: $13/$18. To Saturday, 6:30-11 p.m. Not suitable for young children. evilacres.com
Juried show features local artworks through November
Art lovers seeking a new painting, or just a browse through high-quality original offerings by local artists, will want to head to Goward House on Sunday and for most of November.
Members of the Victoria Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists will show up from 2 to 4 p.m. with their paintings and drawings as part of the Juried Fall Exhibition 2015, one of two major events each year.
“We usually have between 70 and 90 pictures, it just depends,” said Agnes Cornell, a member of the federation for 20 years. Artists typically bring a couple of examples for sale. Everything from abstract to representational styles will be on hand, along with a few dozen artists.
“It’s a juried show,” Cornell said, meaning that two of the federation’s signature members from Vancouver selected the artists whose works will be on display. “Most of them are local, or close by, such as Shawnigan.”
The works will be on display until Nov. 26, Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The show opens Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. at Goward House, 2495 Arbutus Rd.; admission is free. Details at victoriafca.com.
A time to honour the departed
Although it might sound like the title of a zombie movie, Day of the Dead is anything but.
Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a Mexican custom and one of the country’s biggest holidays. It takes a decidedly different view of death than one commonly associated with Halloween.
Families and friends traditionally gather on the Day of the Dead to pray for, honour and remember departed loved ones and to celebrate their lives.
Puente Theatre’s Day of the Dead Fiesta celebrates this annual observance with flair on Friday, from 8 p.m., at White Eagle Hall, 90 Dock St.
The entertainment lineup for this year’s festivities includes Hank Pine, Compassion Gorilla and Bucan Bucan.
Tickets, $15, are available at the door, and costumes are encouraged.
Spotlight on Island’s war history
As Remembrance Day approaches, the Royal B.C. Museum and the Sidney Museum are focusing on Greater Victoria’s connection to the two world wars.
On Sunday, the Sidney Museum presents Fighting From Home and Abroad — Saanich Peninsula and the Islands at War.
A memorabilia display will focus on people from the Peninsula and the Gulf Islands who served in the world wars and other conflicts. It runs from 10 a.m.
to 4 p.m. at the museum at 2423 Beacon Ave. Admission is by donation.
As part of the Royal B.C. Museum’s Live at Lunch series, historian Paul Ferguson will explore Victoria’s links to the first world war through heritage sites, commemorations and memorials.
Ferguson, who has written about battles in Europe and Turkey, will talk about how you can find such famous names as Passchendaele, Hill 70 and Zonnebeke close to home.
The talk takes place at the museum at noon on Nov. 4. Admission is by donation.