This Halloween, the Arizona Science Center puts the "ick" in trick-or-treat, inviting little demons to indulge in groovy gross-out activities -- designing spider webs, making slime and dissecting a pig's heart. Halloweenies need not apply.From 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, October 31, Hallopalooza Family Night transforms the center, 600 East Washington, into a gallery of the grotesque. Mad scientists of all ages can explore the 300-some hands-on exhibits; those who come in costume get more treats than tricks and, at 7 p.m., can compete for best-dressed honors. Hourly planetarium presentations take viewers on 3-D haunted-house adventures, and kid-friendly Halloween movies roll in the giant-screen theater.
Fright night: The Arizona Science Center orchestrates some scare tactics.
Night-fair: Children get crafty on the night before Halloween.
Beat the sugar rush this year: Celebrate on the eve of Allhallows Eve. The United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association and Pointe Hilton at Squaw Peak present "Pumpkins at the Peak" this Thursday, October 30, at the resort's four-acre Hole-in-the-Wall River Ranch, 7677 North 16th Street. From 5 to 7 p.m., parents and kids can get crafty at arts and crafts booths, gulp "goblin grub and witch's brew," and trick-or-treat their way through dozens of candy stations. Admission is $5 per person, or two canned food items for St. Mary's Food Bank. See www.pointehilton.com for more information. - Jill Koch
The custom of carving jack-o'-lanterns originated on a much smaller scale: Back in the old days, fearful folks hollowed out turnips and placed candles inside to scare off evil, but easily manipulated, spirits. Turn up at the City of Glendale's Halloween Festival this Friday, October 31, for festivities free and frightening. From 6 to 9 p.m., carnival games -- a pumpkin dart throw, pumpkin bowling and pumpkin obstacle course -- pack Sahuaro Ranch Park's soccer field, 59th Avenue and Mountain View in Glendale. The costumed and creative can vamp it up on the catwalk and bring jack-o'-lanterns (no turnips tolerated!) for the carved-pumpkin contest. Call 623-930-2832.- Jill Koch