Halloween is the season for self-expression in all of its many glorious forms: costumes, music, dance, art, theater, and maybe even a few forms that can’t be classified. Whether you’re a trash-culture junkie or a splatter-movie freak, a pagan ritual follower or a brazen exhibitionist, you’ll definitely find something chilling, somewhere in the Bay Area. Here’s a sampling; for more Halloween and Día de los Muertos events, go to www.sfbg.com.
PARTIES AND BENEFITS
The Enchanted Forest Cellar, 685 Sutter, SF; 441-5678. 10pm-2am. $5-10. Silly Cil presents the seventh annual Enchanted Forest costume ball; woodland nymphs and mythical creatures are welcome. DJs McD and Scotty Fox rock the forest with hip-hop and ’80s sounds.
Hyatt Regency/98.1 KISS FM Halloween Bash Hyatt Regency, 5 Embarcadero Center, SF; 788-1234. 8 pm. $28.50 advance ($30 door). KISS Radio’s Morris Knight MCs an evening of costumed revelry. DJ Michael Erickson brings the dance mix.
Rock ’n’ Roll Horror Show Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell, SF; 820-3907. 7:30pm. $5-10 donation. Rock out and scream loud for a good cause: proceeds go to the ninth SF Independent Film Festival. A screening of 1987 B-movie Street Trash is followed by the sounds of Sik Luv, Wire Graffiti, Charm School Drop Outs, and Madelia.
SambaDa: Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Exotic Halloween Extravaganza Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF; 552-7788. 10pm. $8-10. Don’t feel like ghosts and goblins and blood and guts? How about samba and bossa nova grooves to keep your feet busy?
Halloween Madness Speisekammer, 2424 Lincoln, Alameda; (510) 522-1300. 9pm. Free. Skip Henderson and the Starboard Watch offer hard-drinking sailor songs. Come in costume and get a free rum drink, matey.
Exotic Erotic Ball Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva, SF; 567-2255, www.exoticeroticball.com. 8pm-2am. $69. P-Funker George Clinton, ’80s icon Thomas Dolby, and rapper Too Short are among the musical guests at this no-holds-barred celebration. Put on your sexiest, slinkiest number and admire the antics of trapeze artists, fetish performers, and burlesque show-stoppers, as well as those of the attendees.
Fresh/Halloween T-Dance Ruby Skye, 420 Mason, SF; www.freshsf.com. 6pm-midnight. $20. Sassy, slinky, and sexy costumes abound at this Halloween dance party. DJ Manny Lehman spins.
Dead Rock Star Karaoke Cellar, 685 Sutter, SF; 441-5678. 8pm-2am. Free. Elvises, Jim Morrisons, and Kurt Cobains deliver heartrending renditions of favorite songs.
A Nightmare on Fulton Street Poleng Lounge, 1751 Fulton, SF; www.polenglounge.com. 8pm-2am. $5-10. The third annual Holla-ween showcases a rich harvest of fat beats, thanks to the DJ skills of Boozou Bajou.
Scary Halloween Bash 12 Galaxies, 2565 Mission, SF; 970-9777. 8pm. $10. All dressed up but not feeling like heading to the Castro? Want to hear a marching band? No, wait, come back. It’s the Extra Action Marching Band, which specialize in baccanalian freak-shows. Sour Mash Jug Band and livehuman leave you grinning beneath that rubber mask.
Art Hell ARTwork SF Gallery, 49 Geary, suite 215, SF; 673-3080. noon-5:30pm. Free. Bay Area artists render darkness, death, and all things devilishly creepy. Sale proceeds go to the San Francisco Artist Resource Center. Also open Thu/26-Sat/28, same hours.
Babble on Halloween Dog Eared Books, 900 Valencia, SF; 282-1901. 8pm. Free. There’s nothing like shivers up the spine to go with cupcakes and wine! Bucky Sinister, Tony Vaguely, and Shawna Virago creep you out with spooky stories and bizarre performances.
A Second Final Rest: The History of San Francisco’s Lost Cemeteries California Historical Society Library, 678 Mission, SF; 357-1848. 6pm. Free. Trina Lopez’s documentary tells the story of how San Francisco relocated burial grounds in the wake of the 1906 earthquake and fire — ironically sending some of the city’s settlers on a last journey after death.
Shocktoberfest!! 2006: Laboratory of Hallucinations Hypnodrome, 575 10th St, SF; 377-4202. 8pm. $20. The Thrillpeddlers are back with a gross-out lover’s delight: public execution, surgery, and taxidermy in three tales of unspeakable horror. Also Fri/27-Sat/28, 8pm.
BATS Improv/True Fiction Magazine’s Annual Halloween Show Bayfront Theater, 8350 Fort Mason Center, SF; www.improv.org. 8pm. $18 ($15 advance). Madcap improvisational comics of True Fiction Magazine transform audience suggestions into hilariously bizarre pulp fiction–inspired skits. In the spirit of the season, TFM is sure to throw ghoulish horror into the mix. Also Sat/28.
Hallowe’en at Tina’s Café Magnet, 4122 18th St, SF; 581-1600. 9pm. Free. What’s Halloween in San Francisco without any drag? Before you consider the sad possibilities, let Tina’s Café banish those thoughts with a deliciously campy drag queen cabaret show. Mrs. Trauma Flintstone MCs.
Rural Rampage Double Feature Alliance Française de San Francisco, 1345 Bush, SF; www.ham-o-rama.com. 7:30pm. Free. Those midnight movie aficionados at Incredibly Strange Picture Show unreel a shriekingly tasty lineup from the “scary redneck” genre: Two Thousand Maniacs and the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
11th Annual Soapbox Pre-Race Party/Halloween Show El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF; 282-3325. 9pm. $7. What better way is there to get revved up for the Oct. 29 Soapbox Derby in Bernal Heights? With a full evening of good ’n’ greasy garage rock and rockabilly, thanks to the All Time Highs, Teenage Harlets, and the Phenomenauts, this party gets you in touch with your inner speed demon.
Pirate Cat Radio Halloween Bash Li Po Cocktail Lounge, 916 Grant, SF; www.piratecatradio.com. 8pm. $5. The community radio station presents an evening of crazy rock mayhem with Desperation Squad, the band now famous for getting shot down on TV’s America’s Got Talent! Wealthy Whore Entertainment, the Skoalkans, and Pillows also perform.
Shadow Circus Vaudeville Theatre Kimo’s, 1351 Polk, SF; firstname.lastname@example.org. 9pm. $5. Shadow Circus Creature Theatre hosts a variety show of ukulele riffs, comedy, burlesque, and filthy-mouthed puppets.
Spiral Dance Kezar Pavilion, Golden Gate Park, 755 Stanyan, SF; www.reclaiming.org. 6pm. Free. Reclaiming, an international group observing pagan traditions, celebrates its 27th annual Spiral Dance with a magical ritual incorporating installations, drama, and a choral performance.
Flamenco Halloween La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 849-2568, ext. 20. 8:30pm. $15. Flametal brings the evil to flamenco with mastermind Benjamin Woods’s fusion of metal and the saddest music in the world.
Murder Ballads Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 841-0188. 9pm. $8. Murder, misfortune, and love gone really, really wrong — all sung by an impressive array of garage rockers, accordionists, and female folk-metal songstresses. There’s even a duo who specializes in suicide songs! Dress up so no one can recognize you weeping into your beer.
The Elm Street Murders Club Six, 60 Sixth St., SF; www.myspace.com/theelmstmurders. 7:30pm. $20. Loosely based on A Nightmare on Elm Street, this multimedia interactive stage show promises heaping helpings of splatter.
The Creature Magic Theatre, building D, Fort Mason Center, SF; 731-4922. 8pm. Free. Reservations required. Black Box Theatre Company gives a single performance before a studio audience of their new podcast adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankensten. This version tells the story from the monster’s point of view.
Independent Exposure 2006: Halloweird Edition 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna, SF; 447-9750. 8pm. $6. Microcinema International assembles a festively creepy collection of short films from around the world, focusing on the spooky, unsettling, and just plain gross.
Bat Boy: The Musical School of the Arts Theater, 555 Portola, SF; 651-4521. 7pm. $20. It’s back: a Halloween preview performance of the trials and tribulations of everyone’s favorite National Enquirer icon, Bat Boy. Camp doesn’t get any better than this.
Cramps Fillmore, 1805 Geary, SF; 346-6000. 8pm. $30. Don’t get caught in the goo-goo muck. The Demolition Doll Rods and the Groovie Ghoulies also whip you up into a rock ’n’ roll frenzy.
One Plus One (Sympathy for the Devil) San Francisco Art Institute Lecture Hall, 800 Chestnut, SF; 771-7020. 7:30pm. Free. Before the Rolling Stones became some of the richest people on earth, Mick, Keith, and the boys dabbled on the dark side. At a rare screening of Jean-Luc Godard’s One Plus One, you get a chance to see them at the height of their flirtation with evil, performing the still-mesmerizing “Sympathy for the Devil.”
Haunted Haight Walking Tour Begins at Coffee to the People, 1206 Masonic, SF; 863-1416. 7pm. $20. How else can you explain all of those supernatural presences drifting between the smoke shops and shoe stores? Here’s a chance to find out about the more lurid chapters in the neighborhood’s history. Also Sat/28-Tues/31, 7pm.
Boo at the Zoo San Francisco Zoo, 1 Zoo, SF; 753-7071. 10am-3pm. Free with zoo admission. Costumed kiddies can check out the Haunted Nature Trail and the Creepy Crawly Critters exhibit. Live music, interactive booths, games, and prizes keep little ghosts and goblins delighted.
Children’s Halloween Hootenanny Stanyan and Waller, SF; www.haightstreetfair.org. 11:30am-5pm. Free. The Haight Ashbury Street Fair folks provide children ages 2 to 10 with games, activities, theater, and food. Costumes are encouraged.
Family Halloween Day Randall Museum, 199 Museum, SF; 554-9600. 10am-2pm. Free. Trick-or-treaters play games, carve pumpkins, create creepy crafts, and take part in the costume parade. Jackie Jones amazes with a musical saw and dancing cat; Brian Scott, a magic show.
Hallo-green Party Crissy Field Center, 603 Mason, SF; 561-7752. 10am-2pm. $8. It’s never too early to teach your children about environmentalism. The party includes a costume contest and a chance to bob for organic apples.
House of Toxic Horrors Crissy Field Center, 603 Mason, SF; 561-7752. 10am-2pm and 4-8pm, $8. Ages 9 and older. No, it’s not a Superfund site, but it should be equally educational: the center’s first haunted house addresses the scary world of environmental horror. Sludge and smog lurk behind every corner.
Boo at the Zoo Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links, Oakl; (510) 632-9525. 10am-3pm. Free with zoo admission. Dress up the kids and bring them over to the zoo for scavenger hunts, crafts, rides on the Boo Choo Choo Train, puppet shows, and musical performances. Also Sun/29, 10am-3pm.
Halloween’s True Meaning Shotwell Studios, 3252-A 19th St., SF; 289-2000. 1-3pm, $5-15 sliding scale. Kids are encouraged to come in costume for this afternoon of interactive theater led by Christina Lewis of the Clown School. Enjoy Halloween history, storytelling, role-playing, and face-painting.
Pet Pride Day Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, SF; 554-9427. 11am-3pm. Free. Dress up your pet in something ridiculous and head down to Golden Gate Park to laugh at all of the other displeased pups! The pet costume contest is always a blast, as is the dog-trick competition.
Haunted Harbor Festival and Parade Jack London Square, Oakl; 1-866-295-9853. 4-8pm. Free. Families can check out live entertainment, games, crafts, activities, and prizes. The extravagantly decked-out boats in the parade are not to be missed.
Rock Paper Scissors’ Annual Street Scare Block Party 23rd Ave. and Telegraph, Oakl; www.rpscollective.com. Noon-5pm. Free. Who doesn’t love block parties? The kid-friendly blowout has something for everyone: fortune-telling, craft-making, pumpkin-carving, and all sorts of wacky games and prizes. And barbecue — witches love a good barbecue.
Halloween Heroes Benefit Exploratorium, Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon, SF; (650) 321-4142, www.wenderweis.org. 6:30pm. $185 for a parent and child. A benefit for the Exploratorium Children’s Educational Outreach Program and the Junior Giants Baseball Program, this lavish costume party for kids promises to be equally fun for the parents. Many of the exhibits are turned into craft-making and trick-or-treat stations.
Halloween in the Castro Market and Castro, www.halloweeninthecastro.com. 7pm-midnight. $5 suggested donation. You and 250,000 of your new best friends — reveling in the streets and getting down to thumping beats. Don’t even think of driving to get there, and don’t forget: no drinking in the streets.
Vampire Tour of San Francisco Begins at California and Taylor, SF; (650) 279-1840, www.sfvampiretour.com. 8pm. $20. This isn’t Transylvania, but San Francisco has had its share of vampires. Just ask Mina Harker, your fearless leader, if you dare take this tour.
DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS
‘Laughing Bones/ Weeping Hearts’ Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak, Oakl; (510) 238-2200. Wed-Sat, 10am-5pm. $8. Guest curator Carol Marie Garcia has assembled a vibrant collection of installations produced by local artists, schools, and community groups, all celebrating the dead while acknowledging the sorrow of those left behind. Through Dec. 3.
THURSDAY NOV. 2
Death and Rebirth Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center, 2981 24th St, SF; 334-4091. 7-10pm. Free. Precita Eyes Muralists will be celebrating the work of founder Luis Cervantes with a breathtaking mural exhibit and celebration.
Día De Los Muertos Procession and Outdoor Altar Exhibit 24th St and Bryant, SF; www.dayofthedeadsf.org. 7pm. Free. Thousands of families, artists, and activists form a procession to honor the dead and celebrate life, ending at the Festival of Altars in Garfield Park, at 26th Street and Harrison. Local artists have created large community altars at the park; the public is invited to bring candles, flowers, and offerings.
Fiesta De Los Huesos’ Gala Opening Reception Mission Cultural Center for the Latino Arts, 2868 Mission, SF; 643-5001. 6-11pm. $5. Curator Patricia Rodriguez has put together a family-oriented party, with musical performances, mask carving, sugar skull–making, videos, and other tempting creations among the exhibits, altars, and installations. The exhibition opens Oct. 27.
Día De Los Muertos Benefit Concert 2232 MLK, 2232 Martin Luther King Jr., Oakl; www.2232mlk.com. 7pm. $8-20 sliding scale. Hosted by the Chiapas Support Committee, this benefit concert features Fuga, los Nadies, la Plebe, and DJ Rico. Early arrivals get free pan dulce and hot chocolate.
SUNDAY NOV. 5
Dia De Los Muertos Family Festival Randall Museum, 199 Museum, SF; 554-9681. 1-5pm. $100 and up for family of five. The family event benefits the museum’s Toddler Treehouse and other toddler programs. Arts and crafts, food, and entertainment make this a rewarding educational experience for kids. Attendees learn how to make masks and sugar skulls and to decorate an altar. Los Boleros provide festive entertainment.
Día De Los Muertos Fruitvale Festival International Blvd., between Fruitvale Ave and 41st Ave, Oakl; (510) 535-6940. 10am-5pm. Free. With the theme “love, family, memories,” the Unity Council in Oakland has put together a full day of family celebration. Five stages showcase music and dance performances by local and world-renowned artists. More than 150 exhibitors and nonprofits highlight wares and services. Art and altars are on view, and the Children’s Pavilion promises to be a rewarding educational experience for kids of all ages.
THURSDAY NOV. 9
Mole to Die For Mission Cultural Center For Latino Arts, 2868 Mission, SF; 643-5001. 7-10pm. $5. Try it all at this mole feeding-frenzy and vote for your favorite.