I haven’t properly celebrated Halloween in several years, well before pre-pandemic times. This year I did. My friend just moved to a new home in West Asheville, a proper neighborhood filled with young families and thus trick-or-treaters, and he invited me over to grill and hand out candy, so I went ahead and spent $37.95 on a jack-o-lantern onesie made of enough polyester that I avoided any real jack-o-lanterns sporting open flames.
Halloween in West Asheville is no joke. I felt like we were on the set of a Halloween movie; that’s how many trick-or-treaters and their costumed-bedecked parents were roaming about (quick poll: did parents always dress in coordinating costumes with their young children, or is that a new Instagram-fueled phenomenon?). We ran out of candy fairly early, so we turned off the lights and fled to Haywood Road, where we planned to have a costumed beer or two at The Cellarest before calling it a night (I had Scream pulled on on Amazon Video for my return home. Spoiler Alert: Scream never got watched).
Cellarest was pretty dead, which we figured wasn’t that weird since while it was Halloween, it was also a Monday night. However, just as we got our 2nd and planned last beverage, another friend texted and asked if we were out and about in West Asheville. “It’s pretty much the place to be,” he said, which didn’t exactly track with what we were experiencing. “I just had a beer at what can only be considered a gas station rave,” he said. He didn’t have to say anymore.
The Brew Pump is a West Asheville gas station with a small bar attached to the side. Maybe because I’m primarily in that part of town for lunch, I’ve never seen it in action, but allegedly the bar gets a decent crowd most weekend nights. Still, it’s first and foremost a gas station, one I’ve stopped at numerous times post lunch for gas, Gatorade, or a six-pack on pre-kayak days. When we pulled up on Halloween night, it was indeed what could only be described as a gas-station rave. The entire station was shut down, the venue was packed, and the DJ was set up between the gas pumps.
Apparently, The Brew Pump Halloween night party isn’t random. It’s been something that’s gone on for years and is 100% the place to be in Asheville on Halloween night (I refuse to hear any arguments against this). The music wasn’t necessarily good, but it was loud and contagious, the majority of the attendees were costumed, and I’m happy to report that this wasn’t a young people’s event: I didn’t feel the least bit old, which is nice. Our 1-2 beers turned to several tall boys straight from the gas station coolers, and if the rave didn’t shut down around 11:30, there’s a chance we would’ve been there till the last call—there’s something genuinely magical about drinking a 20 oz can of Twisted Tea dressed like the world’s most comfortable jack-o-lantern while people dance on gas pumps just a couple of feet away. I can’t wait till next year.