Mill City Haunts: A new Halloween spectacle in Pawtucket’s downtown

Mill City Haunts: A new Halloween spectacle in Pawtucket’s downtown

PAWTUCKET – Come for the ghostly gondolas, stay for the creepy creatures. And in between enjoy every other aspect of this “Halloween spectacle” designed to last for days.

For many years, the Slater Mill has hosted a variety of Halloween-themed events, many centered on paranormal events. The creators at TEN31 Productions and the Revel Factory, just up the road at 249 Roosevelt Ave., also have a special place in their heart for the ghoulish holiday, using their expertise in living statues to create haunted experiences for patrons each year.

Now the two, separated only by Exchange Street and Pawtucket City Hall, will partner up for a Halloween event never before seen in downtown Pawtucket: Days of spooks and haunts organizers hope will draw thousands of people to the area.

Mill City Haunts runs Oct. 18-27, starting at dusk, with plenty of free parking in the downtown.

“For nine haunting nights in Pawtucket, Rhode Island – the historical center of industry in late 18th century America – Mill City Haunts serves a witches brew of attractions creating a destination in the city, anchored by its downtown and historic Daggett Farm, and open to all residents and visitors,” states a release.

“Scary movies, ghost hunts, haunting hand bells, a ghostly gondolier, tarot readings, macabre art, a haunted tunnel and an experience in UNDERLAND are just some of the haunts spooking this mill city, enhanced with lighting, audio/visual, films, and live performances,” it adds.

The event is also tying in another local favorite, Haunted Tunnel at Daggett Farm in Slater Park, to promote the city as a destination this Halloween season. Haunted Tunnel is a big draw on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the month of October, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The volunteer-run popular attraction features an intense 10-minute cycle, at $10 per person.

Eric Auger, of TEN31 Productions and mastermind behind many aspects of Mill City Haunts, said he and Slater Mill Director Lori Urso first began talking about coordinating Halloween events together as a way to bring more life to the downtown four or five years ago, but nothing came of it at that time.

The inspiration in trying to “activate” the space between their two facilities is Salem, Mass., a town that turned the two assets of a simple story and great architecture into a major tourist destination. Pawtucket doesn’t really have the story, said Auger, but it does have the “buildings and bones to put something” tied together with a theme of having a “hauntingly good time in America’s first mill city.”

A key thrust here will be to shine a new light on the architecture of City Hall, where the landmark tower once suggested for money-saving demolition will be highlighted with a Halloween-themed light show.

“We’re going to shine an amazing and new kind light on City Hall,” said Auger.

A “terribly underutilized” piece of the downtown, the Veterans Amphitheater next to City Hall, will be the “epicenter” of activities during Mill City Haunts.

Auger, of TEN31’s living statues first seen at Providence Waterfire, will be bringing in the gondolier from that popular event to take guests up and down the Blackstone River in “a very creepy way.” Behind City Hall will be the Creature Feature Pathway, an art installation based on classic black and white horror characters such as Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolf Man and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

There will be a mix of free events and premium events with a fee. Any events in the amphitheater, such as concerts or movie nights, are free, as is the light show every 15 minutes and the Creature Feature Pathway and the art exhibit at the Blackstone Valley Tourism Center, said Auger.

“We really just wanted to make sure it feels like Halloween,” said Auger. “It’s definitely an event that’s going to be different, and in some ways maybe a little more modern than the city has done before.”

Revel Factory at 249 Roosevelt Ave., opens for “UNDERLAND: An Immersive Haunted Experience” on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, where interactive characters engage with guests in an other-worldly place. Ages 12 and older, 30-minute cycle beginning at 7 p.m. $10 advance, $12 at door. Tickets at underland2018.eventbrite.com.

Ghost hunters do their thing inside Old Slater Mill on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, leading after-dark investigations of its 18th and 19th century buildings, where chilling speculation about this iconic Rhode Island landmark is brought to light.

On Thursdays, noted paranormalist Carl Johnson leads his popular 90-minute Mills & Mysteries tour. Johnson explores the most spiritually charged places on the campus, starting at 8 p.m. $18 per person. Advance reservations at brownpapertickets.com.

On Friday and Saturday, Thomas D’Agostino and Arlene Nicholson lead a History Research Paranormal Investigation at the mill. D’Agostino will utilize Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) and other means to channel communications in both mills. Nicholson will use tarot cards to communicate inside the 1758 Sylvanus Brown House. Sixty-minute cycle, start times 8, 8:40, 9, 9:20, 9:40 and 10 p.m.. $20 per person on brownpapertickets.com.

Mill City Haunts is presented by the city of Pawtucket, in partnership with Slater Mill and TEN31 Productions, and with the support of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, Pawtucket Library, Pawtucket YMCA, Pawtucket Parks and Public Works Departments, Delin Design, Riverfront Lofts and other partners.
Visit www.millcityhaunts.com .

HAPPENING AT MILL CITY HAUNTS
(* Indicates free Events)

THURSDAY, OCT. 18
7 p.m. – *City Hall Lighting Illumination and Creature Feature Pathway (through Oct. 27), City Hall, downtown.
7 p.m. – *Jennifer Gillooly Cahoon Exhibition opens (through Oct. 27) – Blackstone Valley Tourism Council Gallery, 175 Main St.
7 p.m. – *“Hotel Transylvania” (2012 – PG), Veterans Amphitheater, Roosevelt Avenue next to City Hall, 137 Roosevelt Ave.
7-10 p.m. – UNDERLAND: An Immersive Haunted Experience, at TEN31’s Revel Factory, 249 Roosevelt Ave.
8 p.m. – Mills & Mysteries Paranormal Investigation, at Old Slater Mill, 67 Roosevelt Ave.
8:40 p.m. – *Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” (1992– R), Veterans Amphitheater, Roosevelt Avenue.

FRIDAY, OCT. 19
(TBA YMCA Family Program)
6:30 p.m. – Classic films, Blackstone Valley Visitor Center Theater, 175 Main St.
6:30-9 p.m. – Haunted Tunnel, Slater Park Daggett Farm, Slater Memorial Park, 426 Newport Ave.
7 p.m. – *JMW High School Student Bands –  Veterans Amphitheater, Roosevelt Avenue.
7-10 p.m. – Row the River Styx, with Charon, Ferryman of the Dead, Blackstone River, downtown Pawtucket.
7-11 p.m. – UNDERLAND: An Immersive Haunted Experience, Revel Factory, 249 Roosevelt Ave.
8-10:30 p.m. – Paranormal history research investigation with D’Agostino & Nicholson, Slater Mill site, 67 Roosevelt Ave.

SATURDAY, OCT. 20
Noon-6 p.m. – *Mill City Spooky Marketplace, vendors, readings, seasonal music, treats and activities, Slater Mill, 67 Roosevelt Ave.
6:30 p.m. – Classic Films, Blackstone Valley Visitor Center Theater, 175 Main St.
6:30-9 p.m. – Haunted Tunnel at Slater Park’s Daggett Farm, 426 Newport Ave.
7-10 p.m. – Row the River Styx, with Charon, Ferryman of the Dead, Blackstone River, downtown Pawtucket.
8-9 p.m. – *Space Heater haunted electronic pop, Veterans Amphitheater, Roosevelt Avenue.
8-11 p.m. – Paranormal history research investigation with D’Agostino & Nicholson, Slater Mill, 67 Roosevelt Ave.
7-11 p.m. – UNDERLAND: An Immersive Haunted Experience at Revel Factory, 249 Roosevelt Ave.

THURSDAY, OCT. 25
7 p.m. – *Tim Burton “Corpse Bride” (2005) PG,  Veterans Outdoor Amphitheater, Roosevelt Avenue.

8 p.m. – Mills & Mysteries Paranormal Investigation, Slater Mill, 67 Roosevelt Ave.
8:40 p.m. – *“The Shining” (1980) R, Veterans Amphitheater, Roosevelt Avenue.
7-10 p.m. – UNDERLAND: An Immersive Haunted Experience, Revel Factory, 249 Roosevelt Ave.

FRIDAY, OCT. 26
6:30 to 9 p.m. – Haunted Tunnel at Daggett Farm, Slater Memorial Park, 426 Newport Ave.
6:30 p.m. – Classic films at Blackstone Valley Visitor Center Theater, 175 Main St.
8 p.m. –*Burbage Theatre performance, Veterans Amphitheater, Roosevelt Avenue.
8-10:30 p.m. – Paranormal history research investigation with D’Agostino & Nicholson, Slater Mill, 67 Roosevelt Ave.
7-11 p.m. – UNDERLAND: An Immersive Haunted Experience, Revel Factory, 249 Roosevelt Ave.

SATURDAY, OCT. 27
6:30 -9 p.m. – Haunted Tunnel, Daggett Farm, Slater Memorial Park, 426 Newport Ave.
7-9:30 p.m. – *Wheeler Handbell Ensemble, Veterans Amphitheater, Roosevelt Avenue.
6:30 p.m. – Classic Films, Blackstone Valley Visitor Center Theater, 175 Main St.
8-10:30 p.m. – Paranormal History Research Investigation D’Agostino & Nicholson, Old Slater Mill National Historic Site, 67 Roosevelt Ave.
7-9:30 p.m. – UNDERLAND: An Immersive Haunted Experience, Revel Factory, 249 Roosevelt Ave.
10:31 .p.m.-1 a.m. – UNDERLAND Costume Ball, Revel Factory, 249 Roosevelt Ave. Guests are encouraged to wear costumes (prizes awarded), and come dance the night away. Doors open at 10:31 p.m. $18 per person advance, $20 at door. Tickets at Underland2018.eventbrite.com