Things to Do

Free Things to Do This Week

Lalo Cota mural on Fifth Street in Roosevelt Row.
Lalo Cota mural on Fifth Street in Roosevelt Row. Lynn Trimble
Looking for something fun to do, but short on cash? Look no further. This week you can watch poets battle it out at Halloween Haiku Deathmatch, rock out at Punk Rock Halloween Bash, or sing your heart out at Scaryoke Halloween Party. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.

Long and Short of it Book Club
The unique concept of the Long and Short of It Book Club separates it from other literary groups. The group will meet bi-monthly to discuss a novel and a story collection that are united by a common theme. Moderators Adam Vitcavage and Shelley Baugh will kick things off with “Rural Life in the American South.” Jesmyn Ward’s book Salvage the Bones explores an impoverished family’s life in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Sweet and Low, the debut collection from Nick White, uncovers the secrets of a group of characters living in Mississippi.

Turn the page at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 22, at Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 West Camelback Road. This is a free event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

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Feeling the poetry slam love.
Lynn Trimble
Halloween Haiku Deathmatch
Time to gather those Halloween essentials: fake blood, scary masks, and ... poetry? Turns out Halloween and haiku make a fabulous pairing. See for yourself as Lawn Gnome Publishing presents a free Halloween Haiku Deathmatch, which features pairs of costumed poets trying to outdo each other with just 17 syllables each. It’s happening from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, October 25, at The Lost Leaf, 914 North Fifth Street. You needn’t be a professional poet to participate, and you can bring mature content if you’re willing to deal with parents who don’t want their little ghouls tainted by naughty words. Visit Lynn Trimble

Ghost hunting.
Arizona Ghostbusters
It’s the time of year when something strange goes down in the neighborhood. Prove you’re not afraid of ghosts and head downtown for a screening of the 1984 hit comedy Ghostbusters. Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd star as members of the largest paranormal removal company in America trying to stop the end of the world. Before this PG-rated movie begins, there will be games, fun activities, and a costume contest. If you’re still scared of getting slimed, the Arizona Ghostbusters will be on hand to trap any spirits that may fly about.

Don’t cross the streams at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 26, at Collier Center, 201 East Washington Street. This is a free event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

Punk Rock Halloween Bash
Punk rock might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Halloween, but bands like the Misfits may sway you to see the connection. For two nights in a row on Friday, October 26 and Saturday, October 27, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., you can rock out at the Punk Rock Halloween Bash at Yucca Tap Room at 29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe with local bands and artists. Accompanying the music are carnival games, complete with a prize booth and costume contest. The event is free, but games are $1 each, with the proceeds going to Scares That Care, a charity that raises money for families with sick and badly burned children, and women fighting breast cancer. Whether you want to unleash your inner rock star or get in touch with your inner child, this event is loaded with entertainment. Visit or call (480) 967-4777. Angelica Cabral

Scaryoke Halloween Party
Karaoke is what Kobalt Bar does best, but this weekend the club is doing it with a spooky twist. If you step up to the microphone at the Scaryoke Halloween Party, you don’t have to sing a scary song, but you should still sing your heart out, along with any other body parts that you deem necessary on this ghoulish evening. There will be drink specials all night as well as a costume contest.

Belt out a tune beginning at 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 27, at 3110 North Central Avenue. There is no cover for this 21-year-old plus event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

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Stilt walkers celebrating Dia de los Muertos at Mesa Arts Center.
Slaven Gujic
Dia de los Muertos
If you want to celebrate life, celebrate Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. It’s a tradition that honors the lives of those who’ve gone before, and their connections to present and future generations. Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street, kicks off its two-day Dia de los Muertos Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 27. The free event includes live music and dance, artist demonstrations, a custom car show, family activities, and an artisan market. While you’re there, check out altars created by local artists, and add your own touch to a giant community altar. Or look for stilt walkers and graffiti artists Such and Champ Styles, along with a fun assortment of food vendors. Visit Lynn Trimble
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble