If you’re the sort that wished Halloween would last longer than just one night, we’ve got some good news: While a host of parties in and around the Valley will happen on All Hallow's Eve, there also will be a multitude of macabre events taking place during the days leading up to Halloween itself on Saturday, October 31.
That includes more than just wild parties (although there are plenty of those happening, too). In the coming days and nights, you could attend an enlivened reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s spine-tingling stories, watch sideshow freaks and geeks pulling off astounding feats, get your funny bone tickled by local improv comedians, score several C-notes at costume contests, make the scene at a high-style hotel ball, and even get chased by brain-craving zombies.
A slew of sweet and scary Halloween-inspired happenings will be afoot around the Valley over the next week or so, including the following “can’t miss” events.
Cirque du Freak at Club Palazzo
Ever wanted to see a human blockhead, dangling mummies, or even breakdancing Siamese twins in action? All of these sideshow characters will be part of the Cirque du Freak and its awe-inspiring extravaganza at Palazzo on Thursday, October 29. Oddities and entertainers like The Bearded Beauty, Voodoo Betty, Burlesque Babes of the Undead, and Madam C (a.k.a. “The Queen of Pain”) are scheduled to perform. You might also see someone climb a ladder made of machetes or swallow a few dozen razors. The stunts start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.
The Spooky Elephant Show at National Comedy Theatre
A quartet of the comedians-in-residence at the NCT in Mesa will unleash a night of outrageous, off-the-cuff yuks during this oddly named annual laugh-fest on Thursday, October 29. Very much in the same inanely improvisational spirit as Whose Line is it Anyway, the Spooky Elephant Show consists of four improv performers battling against each other in buffoonish fashion in a series of challenges and games decided upon by both the host and the audience. Start time is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $8.
Haunted: Underground Stories at Valley Bar
Word nerds with a yen for scary yarns will want to check out the latest edition of The Storyline, the ongoing event series featuring local wordsmiths and storytellers. The event, which takes place on Thursday, October 29, will focus of frightening tales and true-life experiences shared by Dwayne Watson, Rachel Sherman, Dan Hoen Hull, Nate Romero, co-organizer Rachel Eseoghene Egboro, and others. Start time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.
7 Minutes in Hell at Space 55 Theatre
The M.O. of Space 55’s ongoing “7 Minutes” variety show series is fairly straightforward: as its name portends, 13 local performers (including spoken word artist, musicians, comedians, or freaks) each have exactly 420 seconds to do whatever they’d like onstage. There are no limits, no boundaries, and no censorship. Anything goes. And at 7 Minutes in Hell on Friday, October 30, their performances will include anything and everything associated with the Halloween season. The madness starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10.
PoeFest at Hotel San Carlos and The Rosson House
The wicked words of the legendary Edgar Allen Poe will be celebrated in theatrically macabre fashion happening across two nights at spooky locales in downtown Phoenix. Classically-trained performers will portray inmates of a Victorian-era insane asylum while acting out scenes from such infamous Poe tales as The Cask of Amontillado, The Premature Burial, The Tell-Tale Heart, and Alone. Performances of the aforementioned stories will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 30; and at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Saturday, October 31, inside the Ghost Lounge (natch) at the Hotel San Carlos. Tickets are $22 to $26. Meanwhile, The Raven will be recited every 20 minutes from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Halloween night at The Rosson House. Admission is $10 to $15. Passes covering every performance are also available for $50.
Zombie Apocalypse at San Tan Mountain Regional Park
This nighttime scavenger hunt on Friday, October 30, feels like something straight out of some terror-inducing zombie flick or even an episode of The Walking Dead. Here’s the setup: participants will attempt to navigate a trail at the San Tan Mountain Regional Park in Queen Creek sundown while seeking out various pieces of survival gear hidden along the way while trying to avoid encountering the living dead. Top finishers will win “ultimate survivor gear” while the stragglers might just wind up as zombies themselves. The apocalypse dawns at 7 p.m. Participation is free but there’s a $6 vehicle fee for the park.
Bump in the Night Cabaret at Valley Bar
Transformation is truly the lifeblood of Halloween, what with everyone changing into someone or something else, if only for a night. Such will be the case with Valley Bar, which will take on the feel of a New York cabaret on Friday, October 30. Entertainer Ian Christensen of the Lil' Jonny Revue will host the event, which will mix elements of musical theater, jazz revues, and Halloween-style thrills into a potent variety show of sing-a-longs, parodies, and other fun. Pianist Dan Kurek will be featured and local actress and entertainer Alanna Kalbfleisch will judge the costume contest with prizes in multiple categories. Start time is 6:30 p.m. Admission is $20 in advance, $30 at the door (students can score a $10 discount off each price with their IDs).
Spellbound on the Bayou at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
The Plaza Bar at this North Scottsdale resort will become a swamp awash in fog and spooky spirits (not to mention a few curious creatures) on Halloween night for the Spellbound on the Bayou party. A mix of N’awlins-style delight and Swamp People kookiness will transpire at the event, which will feature fortunetellers, bone-casters, voodoo queens, specialty cocktails, and DJ Pulse in the mix. A costume contest at midnight will include prizes for the scariest, most creative, and best bayou-themed getups. The party runs from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. Admission is free.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Arizona Event Center
It wouldn’t be Halloween without a showing of the infamous 1975 cult film starry Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon, complete with lines being quoted, rice getting thrown, transsexual Transylvanians doing the time warp, and shadowcasters acting along to what’s happening onscreen. You can find all of these zany activities taking place on Saturday, October 31, at the Arizona Event Center in Mesa at a special screening of the film by Arizona shadowcast ensemble Frankie's Fishnets. The fun begins at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15. Virgins welcome.
Black Pearl Party at W Scottsdale Hotel
Landlubbers be warned: after stepping through the doors of the W’s WET Deck on Saturday, October 31, ye will be boarding the haunted pirate ship, Black Pearl, which will populated by all manner of scallywags, seadogs, and buccaneers. Seductive sea sires will also occupy the Living Room bar while patrons enjoy themed cocktails or step lively to sounds being laid down by local DJs. The event sets sail at 9 p.m. Tickets are $40.
Cave Creek Wicked in Cave Creek
The particular vibe of this 13-hour Halloween extravaganza on Saturday, October 31, that will encompass a huge portion of Cave Creek depends entirely on what time you attend. From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., it will focus on more family-friendly activities like a pet costume contest, arts and craft demos, costumed bike ride, and the members of Adaptive Force Dance Studio performing recreating Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. At sundown, things become more adult-oriented with a bar crawl starting at 6 p.m. that will include stops and costume contests at a successive series of Cave Creek haunts along the way, including Big Earl’s Greasy Eats, Buffalo Chip Saloon, Harold’s Corral, and the RoadHouse. The entire event is free and full details are available online.
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Night of the Living Red at Royal Palms Resort
Crimson will drench The Mix Up Bar at the Royal Palms on Halloween night when patrons adorned in stylishly scarlet-colored costumes attend its Night of the Living Red affair. Local singer-songwriter Brigham Wilkes will perform throughout the evening, the repast of specialty cocktails will include Pumpkin Punch and the Corpse Reviver, and anyone wearing red will get a free mixed drink. The party begins at 8 p.m. and admission is free.
Wicked Ball at Talking Stick Resort
The Wicked Ball will arguably one of the biggest shindigs in the Valley on Halloween night, and not just because it boasts a total of $10,000 in cash for the winners of its costume contest (one of the largest hauls around). Everything about the affair will be big, as it will encompass three different rooms at Talking Stick (including the 25,000 square-foot Grand Ballroom), offer an enormous selection of libations, and feature sets by two of the bigger names in the dance music world, Arty and Bad Boy Bill. Live large starting at 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 31. General admission is $50 and the VIP treatment, which includes six drinks, is $90.
Monsters Ball at Alwun House
There are plenty of signs that the scary season is in full swing at the Alwun House each October, whether it’s pair of gigantic spiders perched outside or the array macabre artwork from the yearly “Monsters Menagerie” exhibition arranged inside. And every Halloween, there’s the annual Monsters Ball taking place out back offering cabaret-style entertainment, bizarre costumes, a wild atmosphere and a unique flair. This year’s edition on Saturday, October 31, will be no exception and will feature performances by Opendance, SPELL, Vraja Productions Witches Coven. The vaudevillian vixens of Romantasy Cabaret headline the party, which will also include complimentary finger foods and a cash bar. Things get going at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.
Haunted Hotel Ball at The Saguaro
There will be plenty of spirits lurking about The Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale during this annual fete, including those of both the alcoholic and supernatural variety. A surfeit of stylish cocktails and groovy ghoulies alike will be present at any of the three parties happening over the course of two days and nights. Things get going on Friday, October 30, at the opening night party that will offer a runway fashion show and interactive entertainment. Doors open at 9 p.m. and tickets are $30-$575. On Halloween itself, the "MasqueRAGE" pool party will take place from noon until 6 p.m. with tickets available for $15 to $425. It's followed by an evening affair starting at 9 p.m. and featuring theme rooms occupied by costumed characters and go-go dancers. Admission is $40 to $675. DJs will spin throughout the weekend, and a two-night costume contest with $2,500 in prizes is also planned.