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Insider Itinerary: Frightfully Fun

October 9, 2023 |
Wendy Underwood
Lost Souls of Gastown Tour

It’s October, which means, SPOOKY SEASON IS HERE! For some, Halloween is a frightfully fun chance to delve into the mysterious and bizarre, the haunted and ghoulish. It’s a spirited time of year with plenty of activities to fill the days and nights. Some may be surprised to learn of Vancouver’s dark past and tales of true crime, others may be looking for Halloween activities to enjoy during the light of day. Whether by sunlight or moonlight, there’s a host of eerie and extraordinary activities to try.


Vancouver Police Museum Mugshot

Vancouver Police Museum

The Vancouver Police Museum is one of the spookiest spots visitors can check out any time of year. The oldest police museum in North America, it is set in the original Coroner’s Court, City Morgue, and Autopsy Facility which is over 80 years old. Walking into the somber room you’re met with a wall of mortuary freezers and an autopsy station where some of the city’s most gruesome murders were investigated. Dig into some of Vancouver’s most bizarre cases of true crime, like the ‘Milkshake Murders’ and the unsolved case of the ‘Babes in the Woods.’ The Movies in the Morgue series is back by popular demand – catch screenings of scary movies like Friday the 13th and Silence of the Lambs.

Lamplighter Public House

Not too far from the Vancouver Police Museum is the Lamplighter Public House, located in historic Gastown. The 120-year old building is referred to as “a bastion of bourbon-soaked history” as strong as its legacy as the oldest and liveliest pub in Gastown. In fact, it was the first establishment in the city to serve alcohol to women. Today, some say it is home to a spirit. Staff attest to hearing strange sounds like the loud clanging of wine glasses hanging in racks over the bar. They suggest it sounds as if someone – or something – had run their hand across them without any person being nearby. Another account notes an empty glass levitating from the bar and being smashed onto the ground. An old sleigh displayed above the door once included a mannequin, but it has been removed after staff say they had seen it moving by itself. So common are these accounts, that staff jokingly refer to the poltergeist as Billy Bob.

Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours

For those who want to delve deeper into the ghostly past of Gastown, take the Lost Souls of Gastown tour with Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours. This 100% outdoors, small group tour takes a look at Vancouver’s earliest and most gruesome history – a town set ablaze by fire, ravaged by smallpox, and plagued with unsolved murders. This adult-oriented tour combines both interactive theatre and history—all stories are based on true events. Weave through back streets including the infamous Blood Alley on this 90-minute tour designed to give you chills.


Pumpkin Patch at Southlands Heritage Farm

Start your Sunday morning with an activity that’s more delightful than frightful. A visit to the local pumpkin patch is a Halloween must. Perfect for taking in the crisp autumn air, the Southlands Heritage Farm is a full-fledged working farm located within Vancouver city limits (in fact, you can catch the #2 bus across the street from the hotel, and you’ll be there in less than 45 minutes). Snap a few pics, grab a pumpkin or two, and pick up some locally-sourced souvenirs like honey and jam. To make sure you can pick up that pumpkin, it’s recommended that you purchase your tickets online in advance.

Solve a Mystery!
Take to the streets of downtown Vancouver to solve a cold case or thwart villains planning to take over the city with one of Vancouver Mysteries‘ adventure games. Groups of 2 – 6 people compete against each, with options available for those 12 and up, as well as families with younger kids. Games are around 2 hours long, with daytime starts for families, and nighttime adventures for older groups.

Fright Nights at Playland
After 20 years of scaring the pants of Vancouver’s spooky season fanatics, Fright Nights at Playland at a Halloween tradition! Along with the amusement park’s regular rides (scary enough!), there’s blood-curdling entertainment and a selection of gruesome haunted houses including Materia Medica – a sub-humanoid laboratory, Keepers Doll Factory, and The Bloodshed. Fright Nights is open Friday – Sunday from the beginning of October, with extra midweek nights later in the month. It’s definitely worth buying your pass online because dates sell out (especially close to Halloween!) and you can also save a little cash.

Ready to plan an October visit to the city? Check out our great rates, available when you book direct!

Photo Credits:
Feature Image – Lost Souls of Gastown – Forbidden Vancouver Tours website
Mugshot – Vancouver Police Museum Facebook page

Lamplighter Pub –
Forbidden History Tour – Forbidden Vancouver Tour website
Southlands Pumpkin Patch – Southlands Heritage Farm Facebook page
Vancouver Mysteries Halloween Adventures: Vancouver Mysteries website

Materia Medica at Fright Nights: Fright Nights website