Friday, October 28
Young Audiences of Houston hosts Starlight Cinema: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a special outdoor screening of a hit that has been making movie magic for generations, the world's most scrum-diddily-umptious tale of a kid, a candy factory and the stuff that dreams are made of. We're pretty sure this show is BYOC (bring your own candy), and hey, Gene Wilder is always a treat. Sing it with us: "Oompa, loompa, doompity-doo, they've got another screening for you"" 8 p.m. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert Drive. For information, call 713-284-8350 or visit www.yahouston.org. Free.
If you're too tough for candy and you "ain't afraid of no ghosts," see what you're made of -- and learn a thing or two about your city -- during the sixth annual Ghost Walks in Downtown. During the leisurely two-mile guided stroll, you'll listen to gory stories while taking a look at haunted, creepy and downright ooky old buildings in the heart of historic Houston. 7 p.m. today, and 8 p.m. Saturday, October 29. Group meets at Franklin Street Coffee House, 913 Franklin. For tickets and information, call 713-222-9255 or visit www.discoverhoustontours.com. Reservations required. $15 to $20.
Saturday, October 29
A chain saw-wielding guy in a hockey mask: not so scary. But a 25-foot-long, 2,500-pound great white shark, capable of swallowing a small truck -- or even Kelly Osbourne? Freaking horrifying. If you really want to get scared this Halloween weekend, we suggest a drive-in viewing of Jaws, right on Stewart Beach in Galveston. The evening starts off innocently enough at 7 p.m. with a screening of Miles to Surf, a new surf documentary by local filmmaker James Fulbright. Then, at 8 p.m. it's Steven Spielberg's classic shark tale, which turns 30 this year. (Hmm, surfers and sharks -- we see where this is going.) After viewing a killer shark on a 30-foot by 50-foot screen, we're sure you'll be dying to hop in the water. Parking lots open at 4 p.m. Sixth Street at Seawall in Galveston. For information, call 409-797-5157 or visit www.galveston.com. $10 per car.
Or, if you plan to stay in town for your tricks and treats, party with the late-night hipsters at club HUE's BEWITCH'D: The Halloween Ball. As you hang with the Samantha look-alikes (you know, from Bewitched), NYC DJ Joe Gauthreaux will spin funky beats. "Bewitching" attire is encouraged for the ladies. (Guys, perhaps you could dress like Darren?) Doors open, technically, during the wee hours of Sunday at 3:30 a.m. 202 Tuam. For tickets and reservations, visit www.spoiledboyz.net. $15.
Sunday, October 30
He's not a chef, but "The Big Boss with the Hot Sauce" jazz trumpet phenom Kermit Ruffins can really cook. See Ruffins and his Barbecue Swingers play live today for the Houston Swing Dance Society's Halloween Dance and Costume Party. Don't worry if you're better at listening to the old standards than you are at jiving to them. HSDS members will give dance lessons for the move-busting-challenged before Ruffins and the Swingers heat up the bandstand. Dance lessons begin at 6:30 p.m.; dance kicks off at 8 p.m. The Melody Club, 3027 Crossview. For information, call 713-899-8442 or visit www.hsds.org. $5.
Monday, October 31
A word of advice: It's best to tire your ghouls and boys out early. That way they'll crash right after trick-or-treating. At the Halloween Mansion Monster Mash Bash at the Children's Museum of Houston, they can experiment with great green gobs of goo, raise a few eyebrows with static electricity and find lots of other sugar-free things to put their hands in before the candy coma takes over later on. Let them mash from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. 1500 Binz. For information, call 713-522-1138 or visit www.cmhouston.org. $5.
Tuesday, November 1
Everyone who's ever owned a pet knows they make the best conversationalists. They never say the wrong thing or tell you that you look fat. And for self-actualization and life affirmation, you need only mind the wagging tail. In a lecture titled "Conversations with Dog," the Reverend William Miller, author of The Gospel According to Sam, about his own beloved pooch, discusses the important ways in which animals act as healers, mentors and friends at every stage of life. Book signing to follow. 7 p.m. St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 3816 Bellaire Boulevard. For information, call 713-664-3466. Free.
Wednesday, November 2
If you're a music fan, it's hard not to love David Gray. The humble British singer-songwriter didn't explode overnight like half the pop acts today. Rather, Gray paid his dues and didn't make it big until 1998, when American audiences fell in love with his single "Babylon" from his album White Ladder. Soon it was sold-out performances and gigs on Saturday Night Live, and Gray was a bona fide star. His two most recent albums, A New Day at Midnight and Life in Slow Motion (which he released last month), showcase his fluid songwriting and his everyman vocal style. (His voice could be compared to khaki pants -- comfortable, crisp and suitable for just about any setting.) Gray will perform on Ellen on Friday, October 28, and you can see him when he visits town today at 8 p.m. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. For tickets, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. $35 to $40.