Historical & haunted: Kingston’s spooky attractions

By Abbey McCauley

During the fall season in Kingston, you will find ghostly adventures, glowing pumpkins, and so much more. On its surface, Kingston is a charming and historic city, but as you dig a little deeper, you’ll uncover spooky neighborhoods, a vacant asylum, and a frightening military fort. Read on to discover how you can experience Kingston’s spooky side.  

Legend: 🎃 (family-friendly), 👻 (mature audience)  

Pumpkinferno 🎃 

Kingston Penitentiary, 560 King St W 

The third annual Pumpkinferno ascends on one of Kingston’s historic landmarks, the Kingston Penitentiary, from September 29 to October 29. Seventeen captivating exhibits made up of 7,000 illuminated artificial pumpkins will line a path throughout the limestone penitentiary under the night sky. Prepare to be mesmerized by an enchanting world of glowing pumpkins! Reserve your ticket on Kingston Pen Tours’ website or at the Visitor Information Centre (open daily 9:30 am – 6:30 pm).

Open: September 29 to October 29 

Ghost and Mystery Trolley Tour 👻 

Visitor Information Centre, 209 Ontario St 

Kingston’s well-known red trolley is normally reserved for tours to the city’s most famous landmarks, but as the sun sets it veers off course to several of Kingston’s sites that have haunted stories. At one stop, you’ll peer across Cedar Island and perhaps see the fair maiden ghost. You’ll also get to see the vacant Rockwood Asylum, rumored to be haunted by ghosts of its deceased patients and doctors. Visit Kingston Trolley Tours’ website or the Visitor Information Centre (open daily 9:30 am – 6:30 pm) to book your tour.  

Tours are available daily at 6:30 pm until October 31  


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Fort Fright 👻 

Fort Henry, 1 Fort Henry Dr  

Are you brave enough to step foot in a haunted garrison after dark? After a two-year hiatus, the highly acclaimed Fort Fright returns to Fort Henry. This year’s Fort Fright offerings include the Haunted House, spooky interactive activities, classic horror film screenings, and coffin rides. For those who aren’t afraid of the dark, Dark Nights takes over on October 19 and 26, plunging Fort Fright into near complete darkness. For dates and ticket information, visit Fort Henry’s website or the Visitor Information Centre (open daily 9:30 am – 6:30 pm) 

Open: September 29 to October 31

Ghost and Mystery Cruise 🎃👻 

Crawford Wharf, 1 Brock St  

Cruise Kingston’s shoreline and waters after dark on the Island Queen to learn about the mysteries of the city, which include hair-raising stories of death, murder, wreckage, and mystery. After departing from Crawford Wharf, the cruise will approach historic sites such as Fort Henry, Rockwood Asylum, and Kingston Penitentiary. On select Fridays in October, the Ghost and Mystery cruise will transform into a party! Experience the same spooky ghost stories while enjoying music, dancing, appetizers, and more on the water. Costumes are encouraged. Reserve your tickets today by visiting Kingston 1000 Island Cruises or the Visitor Information Centre (open daily 9:30 am – 6:30 pm) 

Sightseeing cruise dates: August 25, September 8 and 22, October 6 at 8 pm 

Party cruise dates: October 13, 20, and 27 at 8 pm 

Improbable Escapes 🎃👻 

303 Bagot St  

Improbable Escapes has several different escape rooms, but two in particular are perfect for the Halloween season. In “Coroner’s Report” you’ll be locked inside the abandoned Ambrosia General Hospital, which was shut down years ago because doctors were performing strange experiments and dissections on patients. In “The Cure for the Common Zombie,” a nuclear accident has created a mutated strain of the common cold that has unleashed an undead epidemic. But there are rumours of a cure, and your team’s goal is to find it before the zombies eat your brains. Check out Improbable Escapes’ website to book your escape room.  

Open: Mon – Thu (11:45 am – 9 pm), Fri (12:45 pm – 10:30 pm), Sat (10 am – 10:30 pm), Sun (10 am – 9 pm)  

Fruition Berry Farm Corn Maze & Pumpkin Picking 🎃 

3208 Hughes Rd  

Partake in a family-friendly Halloween adventure at Kingston’s Fruition Berry Farm! Pick out the perfect pumpkin at the pumpkin patch, ride a tractor, and adventure through the sprawling corn maze. This year’s corn maze theme is Amazon River Adventure, promising a “farm-tastic” time for all ages.  

Open: Saturdays and Sundays from September 23 to October 29  

Sherlock’s Escapes 🎃 

298 Bagot St  

Put on your detective hat, grab your friends, and head down to Sherlock’s Escapes to solve some mysterious crimes that have been happening in Downtown Kingston. In “The Doctor’s Redemption,” you’ll be put through the detective training to get out of a kidnap and hostage situation. In “A Scandal in Kingston,” your team will need to break into Irene Adler’s apartment and retrieve a stolen file containing sensitive information. Book your escape room by visiting Sherlock’s Escapes’ website 

Open: Mon – Fri (1 – 11 pm), Sat – Sun (10 am – 10 pm)   

Escape the Museum 🎃 

Museum of Health Care (32 George St) & Murney Tower Museum (2 King St West 

Dive into Kingston’s historical past while on a chilling adventure in two of the city’s museums. Both the Murney Tower Museum and the Museum of Health Care will be open on October 21 from 3 to 8 pm for this special Halloween-themed event. To earn a prize, explore both museums and find the clues that lead to keys on each site. Will you be lucky enough to escape?  

Date: October 21, 3 – 8 pm  

Halloween on the High Seas

Halloween on the High Seas 🎃 

Great Lakes Museum, 55 Ontario St 

Back by popular demand, Halloween on the High Seas returns to the Great Lakes Museum for spooky season. Bring the whole family on October 28 from 1 to 4 pm for trick-or-treating, interactive activities, and a chance to meet mermaids, pirates, and scuba divers. Ahoy matey!  

Date: October 28, 1 – 4 pm  

Halloween-themed workshops at The Broom Factory  

The Broom Factory, 305 Rideau St  

Spooky Character Creation 🎃 

October 15, noon – 2 pm  

Bring to life the most hauntingly captivating characters your imagination can conjure with Machete Comics at the Broom Factory on October 15 from noon to 2 pm. Learn how to create scary comic characters with depth, layers, and conflict. No prior illustration experience is necessary: ages 8 to 18 are welcome to join in this spooky workshop. Visit Machete Comic’s website to register.   

DIY Special Effects Makeup Workshop 🎃 

October 28, 1 – 3 pm  

Enter the mysterious world of cinematic special effects makeup at the DIY Special Effects Makeup Workshop hosted at the Broom Factory. From eerie prosthetics to ghostly makeup, Devon Ellis of Visual Menace has the tricks and treats you need to unleash your inner monster-maker. This event is for ages 13+ and all materials are included in the cost of registration. Register today to confirm your space in the workshop.   

The Spooktacular Pumpkin Decorating Party 🎃 

October 29, 10 am – noon  

Carve out some fun this Halloween! Join the Kingston Canadian Film Festival and Kingston School of Art at the Broom Factory for The Spooktacular Pumpkin Decorating Party. You can submit your pumpkin to the Kingston’s School of Art Pumpkin Decorating Contest for a chance to win glouslish prizes. All materials are included in the cost of registration. Book your spot today on the Kingston School of Art website 

HalloZINE Workshop 🎃  

October 29, 1 – 4 pm  

Unleash your inner storyteller at the HalloZINE Workshop. This workshop invites you to explore the world of DIY publishing by creating your very own Halloween-themed zine – a small, handmade booklet bursting with eerie stories and art. This event is for ages 13+ and all materials are included in the cost of registration. Check out the Kingston School of Art website to reserve your spot. 

Soiro Spooky Bizarro 🎃 

The Broom Factory, 305 Rideau St  

You are invited to the Soiro Spooky Bizarro, an unforgettable evening of spooky performances at the Broom Factory on Halloween night, October 31. Wear your Halloween costume at this cabaret of puppetry, electropop, and Halloween-themed activities. There will be creative shows by Birdbone Theatre, Von Boltz, and Lederhosen Lucil. Purchase your ticket for this unforgettable night of spooky fun.  

Date: October 31, doors at 7 pm  

The Rocky Horror Picture Show 👻 

The Screening Room, 120 Princess St 

Let’s do the Time Warp again and celebrate Halloween in style at Kingston’s independent movie theatre, The Screening Room! The theatre will be holding 10 screenings of the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). Dress up and sing along – audience participation is encouraged! Tickets are on sale now on The Screening Room’s website 

Showings on October 21-22, 25-31