The multi-talented performers of Happenstance Theater channel their dark sides in “Cabaret Macabre,” a show of vignettes inspired by Edward Gorey, Victorian nightmares and Gothic romance. (Photo by Leslie McConnaughey)

Halloween invariably gives theaters a reason to get their freak on. If you’re in search of spooky fun that doesn’t involve dressing up like a naughty pirate and throwing yourself into the M Street throngs, the best places to look are some of your favorite theatrical haunts. (Be sure to check out more of our best Halloween events here.)

Infinitely oddball theater company Happenstance always manages to evoke long-ago eras with a hint of romance and mystery, and their annual Halloween show “Cabaret Macabre” will be no exception. Last year, critic Celia Wren wrote that “Cabaret Macabre” was full of “gothic quirkiness.” This year, the troupe is back with more spooky vignettes, beginning Friday night.

For some high-brow horror, look no further than Washington Ballet's staging of Michael Pink's “Dracula,” which begins its run at the Kennedy Center on Wednesday night. Rather than
turning into a bat and flying, the infamous bloodsucker leaps and pirouettes before sinking his teeth into his equally nimble

There are two chances to get your fill of “The Raven” in coming days: At the Lyceum in Alexandria, longtime Poe interpreter David Keltz returns for “Poe in Alexandria,” a night that re-creates a real visit by the notoriously dark writer to Virginia in 1849; the event Oct. 30-31 includes readings of “ The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Tell-Tale Heart” and more. Georgetown Theatre Company will do its own Poe readings at Grace Church in Georgetown on Saturday night.

And finally, the screening of the camp-horror classic “Nosferatu” — F.W. Murnau's creepy 1922 silent film featuring the grotesque Count Orlok — amps up the horror with live accompaniment. This Halloween tradition for many Washingtonians is a perennial sell-out at the AFI Silver Theatre. If you haven’t been, now is the time to check it out; two shows are scheduled this Friday.

More Halloween coverage from the Going Out Guide:

Places to carve a Halloween pumpkin

Local Lore: Ghosts in your backyard