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Tuesday March 21st

Your guide to the Halloween spooky season at UNC

<p>One of the many pumpkins placed along the paths in during the BOOtanical in 2017. Photo courtesy of North Carolina Botanical Garden.</p>
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One of the many pumpkins placed along the paths in during the BOOtanical in 2017. Photo courtesy of North Carolina Botanical Garden.

 The Triangle Area boasts a spooky-fun Halloween weekend — promising Victorian-era seances, BOOtanical festivities and improvisational dance performances. Here are the events you don't want to miss:

Halloween Phantasmagoria - Durham, N.C.

A seance during the 2018 Halloween Phantasmagoria. Photo courtesy of Julianne Herczeg.

The Duke Homestead Education & History Corporation will hold its annual Halloween Phantasmagoria on Oct. 25 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. During the Phantasmagoria, Victorian views on death and spiritualism will come to life on the weathered former property of Washington Duke.

Julianne Herczeg, site manager and events planner for Duke Homestead, said the event aims to elucidate upon the origins of modern scary traditions — from seances to crystal ball readings. 

“There's gonna be things that the Victorians thought were spooky that we still think are spooky today that have helped define how we celebrate Halloween,” Herczeg said. 

While serving as an entertaining dive into Victorian history, the event also functions as an educational vehicle.

Tickets are $10 if purchased online and $15 at the door. Sales go back to the educational programming for the site’s museum.  

This money helps us be able to put on quality educational programs that give school kids a great experience," Herczeg said. "That gives our junior interpreters, youth interpreters a great experience and just visitors in general. It definitely goes to a good place, so we really appreciate everyone's support.”

   BOOtanical Family Festival - Chapel Hill, N.C.

One of the pumpkins featured during the 2017 BOOtanical. Photo courtesy of the North Carolina Botanical Garden.

For the fourth year in a row, the North Carolina Botanical Garden will hold its BOOtanical Family Festival on Oct. 25 from 5 to 8 p.m. The festival’s activities range from live animal presentations and leaf art-making to botanical garden exploration. 

Jennifer Peterson, communications manager for the North Carolina Garden, said the event gives people of all ages a chance to appreciate the beauty of nature in North Carolina. It's $5 to attend and free for kids ages 2 and under. 

“It's just fun to come out and celebrate the nature of North Carolina in an interesting way," Peterson said. "I always think Halloween is a lot of fun. It's very much a fall-themed sort of event. It’s a fun time.”  

The event also gives people an opportunity to check out the foundation’s 31st annual Sculpture in the Garden exhibit, which features the works of 36 sculptors in North Carolina. 

“Fall is a time of lots of native wildflowers, we have so many asters and various plants blooming right now — it's a great time to come out to the garden just to visit,” Peterson said. “And it's a fun time to have sculptures in the garden because the leaves change color, and the plants bloom. And just every week it looks different.”

VII: An Improvisational Performance - Chapel Hill, N.C.

Spring show performance by the Modernextension dance company at East Chapel Hill High School. Photo courtesy of Julia Wilson.

Modernextension Dance Company’s fall 2019 Improvisational Performance, VII, will take place in Gerrard Hall on Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. The performance is a showcase of Modernextension’s talents and skills developed throughout the semester. 

Claire Willmschen, a UNC junior and the president of Modernextension, said this year’s title and theme meld together to produce a spooky presentation for the audience. She said the dancers will take the theme and perform abstractions of it. 

“This year, we wanted to do some kind of spooky, fear-related theme,” Willmschen said. “But we wanted it to be somewhat ambiguous in the title in order to draw more people in because they want to know what it's about.”

Willmschen said improvisational dance is difficult on a number of the company’s dancers due to their strict technical backgrounds. However, she said for this semester’s performance, the dancers are feeling confident in their movements. 

“If our show comes across in the way that we intend to, if a non-dancer can watch it and understand what we're trying to get across and be moved by it as one is by art, I think that is probably the most fulfilling aspect,” Willmschen said. "Just supporting these people who are taking part in performing arts on campus and are willing to volunteer to do this in order to keep art as a conversation is important.”

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