Michael Jackson. Trend spotters say his face will be everywhere you look this coming year, and why not? It certainly has a ghostly aspect, although one wonders how all the would-be Michaels will manage the nose. But if your idea of a good time doesn't include wearing the face and makeup of a celebrity who died a sudden, tragic death, or you already did the Heath Ledger thing last year, maybe you should lighten things up with a costume from Star Trek. In any event, a Saturday-night Halloween makes this year's holiday all the more special, and there are plenty of events leading up to the big day.
ACE Community Theatre
2009 Halloween Guide
17011 Bamwood, 281-587-1020
Enjoy a revival of cult classic musical The Rocky Horror Show at ACE Community Theatre. Purchase a favor bag to participate in the show. On Halloween night, come in costume for a kitschy rock and roll "sci-fi gothic" event. The party starts at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and at midnight on October 17 and Halloween night. The price is $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and students. October 9 through 31.
Discover Houston Tours
912 Prairie, 713-222-9255
Listen to true tales and urban legends on this nighttime walking tour in the Downtown Historic District featuring: Ghosts of Spaghetti Warehouse, Ghosts of The Confederacy, Charlie Chaplin at the Isis, The Hanging Oak, and The Barmaid's Best Friend. Tickets are $30. Registration is at 6:30 p.m. at Discover Houston Tours, 912 Prairie. The tour goes from 7 to 10 p.m. There will be free happy hour appetizers, $3 beer and $3 well drinks at the Isis, as well as a 30-minute rest stop at Landry's Downtown Aquarium. Everyone will receive a copy of Sandra Lord's Short Guide to the Paranormal. Parking is free after 6 p.m. and on weekends, except at specially marked meters. The dates of the tours are October 2, 8, 10, 15 through 17, 22 through 23, 29 and 31.
The Health Museum
1515 Hermann Dr., John P. McGovern Building, 713-942-7054
From October 6 through November 1, The Health Museum will be hosting its first annual Siege of the Skeletons, a community art project featuring papier-mâché skeletons submitted by teams from all over Houston. Tuesdays through Saturdays, the hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday hours are noon to 5 p.m. Visit the museum before October 22 to vote for your favorite skeleton, then come back October 29 to see if your pick wins. Skeletons also will be judged by Texas Medical Center partners and museum professionals. Viewing the skeletons is included with the purchase of a general admission ticket.
6200 Golf Course Dr., 713-533-6713
Bring your little ghouls and goblins to the Houston Zoo for Zoo Boo, Houston's largest family-friendly Halloween, which will run five days this year. Enjoy safe Halloween trick-or-treating, music and fun activities with a "naturally wild" twist Saturdays and Sundays, October 17, 18, 24, 25 and 31 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pick a "child-size" pumpkin to paint and decorate from the Fiesta Mart Pumpkin Patch; participate in the costume parade; channel your inner artist and contribute to the Cooper Tools Monster Mural; or visit the Gardere Wynne Sewell Tatzoo Parlor for a spooktacular temporary tattoo. All this, and there'll be Halloween-themed Meet the Keeper Talks and the animal-themed Trunk-or-Treat candy stations. All Zoo Boo activities are included with paid zoo admission. Zoo Boo is free for zoo members. Regular admission is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors, $6 for children ages two to 11 and free for children under two. Visit the courtesy booth at your neighborhood Fiesta Mart and purchase an adult zoo admission for $8 and a child zoo admission for $5.
Lawndale Art Center
4912 Main Street, 713-528-5858
For more than 20 years, Lawndale Art Center has presented an annual open-call, non-juried exhibition that celebrates the Mexican tradition of Día de los Muertos in a contemporary context. This program supports area artists and students by offering them an opportunity to show their works to diverse audiences in a museum-quality setting. This year's celebration goes from October 19 to November 7 and includes such events as the Retablo Exhibition and Gala and Retablo Silent Auction. Volunteers and sponsors are needed.
2225 North Sam Houston Pkwy. West,713-914-1313
Promising to scare the "yell" out of you, ScreamWorld kicks off the Halloween haunt season as the longest-running haunted attraction in Houston. ScreamWorld is a fright factory comprised of three haunted houses, an outdoor maze and cemetery, and eight new terrorizing scenes certain to get your blood flowing. Along with The Haunted Hotel, Edge of Darkness, Movie Monsters, Maze of Maniacs and The Tobias Strange Family Cemetery, newer attractions include The Maniacal Mausoleum, Farm House Bedroom of Death, The Torture Chamber and the Evil Emergency Room, Cave of Skulls and The Catacombs. The park opens at 7:30 p.m. September 18 through 19 and 25 through 26, October 8 through 11, 15 through 18, 22 through 25, and 27 through 31. General admission tickets are $25 per person to visit the five haunted attractions, and $35 for a VIP Fast Pass, with no waiting in line. Sundays are Family Nights, with tickets just $20, and Thursdays are Student Nights, with tickets at $18 if students show a valid ID.
The Texas Repertory Theatre Co.
14243 Stuebner Airline Rd., 281-583-7573
The fifth-anniversary showing of The Little Shop of Horrors at Texas Repertory Theatre plays four performances a week through Halloween night, October 31. One of the longest-running Off-Broadway shows of all time, this affectionate spoof of 1950s sci-fi movies is full of soaring pop-rock music, lovable comic characters and a man-eating plant from outer space, so don't miss this opportunity.
Under the Volcano
2349 Bissonnet, 713-526-5282
Under the Volcano will be celebrating Oktoberfest from 4 to 10 p.m. It includes a polka party with Mark Halata and Texavia. Also being offered for Oktoberfest are specials on beer served in one-liter German steins every day, and bratwurst served with Oma's sauerkraut and potato salad every weekend.
5102 Navigation, 832-426-4624
Halloween Midnight Movie Madness will be held at Frenetic Theater when independent horror films voted in on the Freneticore Web site will be shown. The voting deadline is October 10, so be sure to submit your favorite title before then.
Pete's Dueling Piano Bar
1201 Fannin, 713-337-7383
Pete's hosts an all-request, sing-along, dueling piano show on October 30 and 31, starting at 7 p.m. and ending at 2 a.m. Showtime is at 8 p.m. There's a $7 cover.
707 N. Shepherd, suite 500, 832-863-3275
Wonderwild, Houston's first arts-themed party playground for kids, is opening its doors from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. with live bands, a children's costume parade, art activities and musical performances. The party continues on Saturday, October 31, with a little monsters' disco featuring DJ Spooky Pants. Adults are free to enter. Walking kids are $15 and nonwalkers are $13. Tickets must be purchased before the event by calling 832-863-3275 or e-mailing email@example.com. Wonderwild is an art gallery and education center for kids and parents, a birthday party facility and an indoor playground.
Friday, October 30
Houston Press Halloween Party
The Houston Press Halloween Party will take place at the House of Blues Friday, October 30, in the Bronze Peacock Room. This is a FREE SHOW featuring The Flamin' Hellcats and spooky spins late into the witching hours. Pick up your free tickets starting October 9 at Momentum Audi and Momentum Volkswagen. Ticket will include access to the "Members Only" Foundation Room. There will also be a $1,000 costume contest with $500 in cash and $500 in prizes.
Ragin Cajun Sugar Land
16100 Kensington, 281-277-0704
Ragin Cajun holds its Third Annual Halloween Party, which includes a costume party with a $100 prize. And, for a limited time, red snapper and rock lobster will be going for $5. The party runs from 7 p.m. to midnight, and entrance is free. A DJ will be spinning all night long.
Saturday, October 31
1100 Westheimer, 713-523-7217
Chances' Halloween evening will include the Kari K Band live and a costume contest for cash.
Third Annual Montrose Pub Crawl
Break out your costumes and get ready for a blast, because it's time for the Montrose Pub Crawl. Participants will get dressed up for the occasion and meet at Brasil, 2604 Dunlavy, at 6 p.m. From there, the crawlers will head up Westheimer to bars such as Poison Girl, Boondocks, Anvil, Etro Lounge, Catbirds and finally Slick Willie's around midnight. All crawlers will enjoy drink specials and the opportunity to take part in the costume contest for the Grand Prize, the winner of which will be decided at the last stop. A portion of all drink sales will go to the Houston Area Women's Center.
801 St. Emanuel, 713-522-2010
Lucky's Pub is teaming up with Warehouse Live to bring back a newer, even better version of the annual Pimp and Prostitute Ball. This year's event will feature live music from Minikiss, and starts at 8 p.m. and goes until 2 a.m. There'll be multiple DJs spinning, as well as a $4,000 costume contest, with prizes for Pimp of the Year, Classiest Ho and Best Overall Costume. Although the theme is Pimp and Ho, you can wear any costume you want. You must sign up by 10 p.m. to be in the contest. They'll be serving your favorite malt liquor, and $3 beers all night long. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
1900 Kane St., 713-802-9370
This October 31, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and November 1, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Multicultural Education and Counseling proudly presents "Día de los Muertos: Honoring our Past, Celebrating Our Future." This event features Día de los Muertos celebrations from throughout Latin America, with an altar exhibit competition, foods from the Americas, vendors selling authentic Latin American Día de los Muertos arts and crafts, and a Calavera Fashion Show.
2800 Travis, 713-522-4900
The evening will include a performance by Guns4Roses (The Ultimate Guns N' Roses Tribute Experience) at 9 p.m. and a special guest DJ on the roof under the stars and skyline. $2 drafts, domestics and $5 you-call-it's.
Sherlock's Pub will be hosting costume contests at all its locations.
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5705 Richmond, 832-251-8400
There are more than 1,000 costumes to choose from, hundreds of stockings and other accessories available including handbags, hats and shoes. This is the exclusive provider of Trashy-brand costumes in Houston, and it also offers a large selection of men's costumes and women's plus-size costumes and accessories.