Halloween, for the most part, is an across-the-board great holiday. It caters to the kids with sugar and the grownups with spice.
One quibble though. As is the case with a handful of holidays, the date is problematic. "October 31" is really catchy and memorable and all, but let's be real: since Halloween falls on a Monday this year, you're going to do most of your costumed gallivanting on the weekend, right? Amen.
Thanksgiving has a handle on this issue. By calling dibs on the fourth Thursday of November, it blesses us every year with a nice, fat four-day weekend. Learn from a pro, Halloween!
Since, in my opinion, celebrating holidays on any day except the actual date cheapens the fun -- I'm a purest, sue me -- here's what we're gonna do: From now on, Halloween falls on the last Saturday in October. All in favor?
Cool. We'll get that goin' next year. For now, here's some highlights of Halloween-themed goings-on on random, mostly-not-the-actual-holiday days:
FRIDAY: The Kinetic Lab of Horrors, running 7 p.m. to midnight Friday to Monday at the corner of Eighth and N streets in Arcata, is Humboldt's No. 1 destination for folks who want to be as scared as those folks in the "Nightmare Fears Factory" photostream (google that). True, it's not for the kiddies -- 13 years and up on this one -- but there are a lot of things for them that we'll get to.
Bad news on the haunted house front: the annual pee-your-pants Coast Guard Haunted House is dead -- this year at least.
SATURDAY: Your kids have got their options.The obvious choice is the midday Eureka Trick-or-Treat in Old Town featuring local businesses ponying up the candy, pumpkin bowling and a petting zoo. There's a similar McKinleyville-sized Halloween Costume Parade event in Macktown's Safeway Shopping Plaza, and also an evening spooky Halloween Skate Party in Fortuna's Fireman's Pavilion.
The obligatory rowdy screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show is being handled this year by the organizers of the Humboldt Film Festival. Do the Time Warp with them (again) at the Van Duzer Theatre at 8 p.m.
And what's scarier than a game of bingo? The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence host Hollywood Heroes and Horrors, starting at 6 p.m., featuring the beloved no-skill-required game and a Hollywood-ish costume contest.
SUNDAY: Animals need holidays too! At least that's the philosophy at the Sequoia Park Zoo, which hosts its Boo at the Zoo starting at noon -- a once-a-year chance to witness beasts devouring goodie-filled jack-o-lanterns.
That night, the Arcata Playhouse hosts two shadow puppet shows by Sean Powers -- you read that right, shadow puppetry, baby! "Skeleton Women" and "The Haunted Temple" start at 7 p.m. and will be accompanied musically by Gamelan Sekar Sequoia.
Likely more mature will be the storytelling-heavy tour through Fortuna's Sunrise Cemetery, Grave Matters and Untimely Departures, with performances running from 2 to 6 p.m. You've been wanting to hang out in a cemetery, right?
MONDAY: OK, there are a few actual Halloween events for the purists. First, Garberville holds it down with a kid-friendly Community Halloween Festival around Town Square. Scream and costume contests, haunted house. Also, Arcata Main Street holds its annual Trick or Treat On and -- to be fair -- Around the Plaza from 4-6 p.m. Also, we got a tip that there will be some top notch facepainting going down at Redwood Yogurt. Take note.
For more music/dance-themed Halloween events, check this week's The Hum. And scour our calendar for even more. See you next year -- on Saturday.