Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Phoenix This Weekend

Scott Hoatsen (left) and Joseph Maudsley (right) of Potted Potter.
Scott Hoatsen (left) and Joseph Maudsley (right) of Potted Potter. Evolve Marketing

It's going to be a banger of a holiday weekend, folks. You've got a ridiculous number of options when it comes to things to do in Phoenix, including multiple theater productions, ASU football, a toy show and of course, Halloween-themed activities.

And don't forget, we've also got expanded lists of Halloween parties and the best home and professional haunted houses around town.

click to enlarge Kwane Vedrene as Kenyatta in the BTT production of Sunset Baby. - BLACK THEATRE TROUPE
Kwane Vedrene as Kenyatta in the BTT production of Sunset Baby.
Black Theatre Troupe

Sunset Baby

Dominique Morisseau realized during college that there weren’t enough theatrical roles for women of color, so she set about writing her own plays. Now her work titled Sunset Baby, which had its off-Broadway premiere in 2013, is being performed by the Black Theatre Troupe. The play imagines a former revolutionary and political prisoner reuniting with his daughter, hoping to secure a trove of love letters written by his wife while he was in prison. Based in Detroit, Morisseau’s own parents have roots in Haiti and Mississippi. In 2018, she was named a MacArthur Fellow, joining the select list of “genius grant” recipients. Morisseau wrote the book for the musical Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, which opened on Broadway in 2019, and became the first Black woman to receive a Tony Award nomination for the best book of a musical. Show dates include Friday, October 29, when it’s being performed at 7:30 p.m. at The Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center, 1333 East Washington Street. Tickets are $44. Sunset Baby continues through November 7. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Head to Tempe Center for the Arts to see Our Dear Dead Drug Lord. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Head to Tempe Center for the Arts to see Our Dear Dead Drug Lord.
Lynn Trimble

Gang Life

So-called “cocaine hippos” have been in the news lately, as animal rights activists have sought protection for the animals that are proliferating in Colombia, decades after now-deceased drug lord Pablo Escobar illegally imported hippos into the country. Coincidentally, Escobar is also at the center of a play being performed by Stray Cat Theatre, which imagines a gang of girls who seek to conjure the narcotic trafficker’s spirit from a Florida treehouse. Written by Boston-based creative Alexis Scheer, Our Dear Dead Drug Lord has been described as both “terrifying” and “hilarious.” It’s being performed at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe. Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. performance on Friday, October 29, are $20. Take note: Stray Cat Theatre has a content advisory for this show, noting that it contains “adult language, adult content, and simulated acts of extreme violence.” Not to mention all that teen angst, and a twist you won’t see coming. Our Dear Dead Drug Lord continues through November 13. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Worth Takeaway in Mesa is paying tribute to Bob's Burgers again this weekend. - WORTH TAKEAWAY
Worth Takeaway in Mesa is paying tribute to Bob's Burgers again this weekend.
Worth Takeaway

Jim Bob’s Burgers

One of the biggest hallmarks of the Halloween season (next to all the candy) is the chance to adopt the identity of someone – or something – else. And you don’t necessarily need to be a person to do it, as the folks at Worth Takeaway, 18 West Main Street in Mesa, demonstrate when they transform the eatery into a pop-up tribute to Bob’s Burgers every October. It’s called Jim Bob's Burgers (so named for Worth co-owner Jim Bob Strothers) and involves the staff dressing up as characters from the show and serving themed menu items. Such will be the case on Friday, October 29, and Saturday, October 30, during the fourth edition of the pop-up. Amusingly named burgers will be served, including a few taken straight from the show like the “Paranormal Pepper-Jacktivity,” and “Texas Chainsaw Massa-Curd.” Feel free to dress up and bring your erotic friend fiction. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (or while supplies last). Benjamin Leatherman

Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience

Want to get into Harry Potter’s World of Wizarding? Congratulations, muggle, it’s only taken you more than two decades to finally partake in the fandom. In order to catch you up as quickly as possible, we recommend attending Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience, which takes over the Madison Center for the Arts, 5601 North 16th Street, from Thursday, October 28, to Saturday, October 30. The show condenses all seven books of the Harry Potter series into a 72-minute romp starring actors Scott Hoatsen and Joseph Maudsley, who provide an amusing recap of every single plot. Performances are at 7 p.m. each night. Tickets are $29 to $59. Benjamin Leatherman

Epic Toy Show Halloween Bash

There are officially less than two shopping months left until Christmas. Anyone who’d like to get a jump on getting there’s done can hit up this Halloween version of the Epic Toy Show on Saturday, October 30, at the El Zaribah Shrine Auditorium, 552 North 40th Street. Dozens of vendors will participate, selling a wide variety of classic and modern toys, games, and collectibles. Quality and quantity of items will vary, of course, though there are likely to be some rare gems to find. It being Halloween week, vendors will be giving out candy to trick or treaters and organizers will have a kids costume contest at 3 p.m. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Early-bird admission is $8 until 10 a.m., the general public can get in from 10 a.m. onward for $3., and kids in costume are free from 1 to 4 p.m. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge "Spider-Dog / Spider-Dog / Does whatever a Spider-Dog does." - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
"Spider-Dog / Spider-Dog / Does whatever a Spider-Dog does."
Benjamin Leatherman

Doggie Dress-Up

For pet lovers on Instagram or TikTok, every day is doggie dress-up day. There’s no need to wait for Halloween to haul out their pooch’s collection of posh vests, hats, or booties. Even so, it’s the perfect time of year to take it to the next level by dressing your canine companion in a fabulous Halloween costume, then heading over to the Dog Costume Party at Hair of the Dog, 3133 South Lindsay Road, #107, Gilbert. That’s where dog lovers Randy and Marleen Duren started their neighborhood bar where you can get beer, cider, mead, bar snacks, coffee, or tea. The party starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 30. That means you still have a bit of time to decide whether your fur baby should attend dressed as a zombie, a jalapeño, or a terrifying calico cat. Lynn Trimble

Ghoul Gallery

More than 20 local artists will participate in this one-night pop-up gallery inside the old Deer-O building at 2431 East Van Buren Street, on Saturday, October 30. The works on display will be of the odd, spooky, or bizarre variety and the lineup will include names like Derk Harkin, Brad Dwyer, Luster Kaboom, T.C. Fenwick, Angela Nimmo, Stephanie Wilkins, Mckenna Harron, and Cassie Stys. The short film Through The Eyes of a Ghost will also premiere at the event. Hours are from 5 to 10 p.m. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge It's Monsters Ball time at Alwun House. - TOM CARLSON
It's Monsters Ball time at Alwun House.
Tom Carlson

Monsters Ball

Now that you’re too old to canvas the neighborhood with a pillowcase and a Disney villain mask, you might want to try something a little sexier for Halloween. Alwun House, 1204 East Roosevelt Street, is holding its Monsters Ball on Saturday, October 30, when the fun begins at 7 p.m. and goes until 11:30 p.m. The entertainment line-up includes a quartet called the Blood Feud Family Singers, vinyl tunes spun by DJ Rebot, and a kinky burlesque performance called the Ghoulesque Show. While you’re there, check out the Monsters Menagerie exhibit filled with uncensored artworks meant to be provocative and profane. You can reserve a table for four for $250, which will put you close to the stage and set you up with a bottle of champagne. Or you can reserve a cocktail table for two for $120, or get a general admission ticket for $20. Alwun House will have a cash bar, in case you want to add some spirits to the mix. It’s an age 21 and up affair, by the way, so the little monsters need to find another place to play that night. Lynn Trimble

Beyond the Grave at Pioneer & Military Memorial Park

Marshall Shore (a.k.a. Arizona's "Hip Historian") will host this event at the Pioneer & Military Memorial Park, 1317 West Jefferson Street, from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 30, which will explore the lives of the people who are buried there. Participants can conduct their own self-guided tour or hear tales from storytellers standing near the graves of several historical figures. Items like flowers or pictures can also be left on several memorial altars that will be available. Tickets are $50 per person. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Arizona State University is making a run at winning the Pac-12 this season. - WILL EDMONDS/SUN DEVIL ATHLETICS
Arizona State University is making a run at winning the Pac-12 this season.
Will Edmonds/Sun Devil Athletics

ASU Football vs. Washington State

There’s just over a month left to go in college football’s regular season and Arizona State University’s football team is in great shape. The Sun Devils are tied for the Pac-12 South’s best record at 3-1 with a definite shot at winning the conference and a probable bowl appearance in their future. They’ve got five games to go, all of which will be against conference teams, starting with a home game against Washington State on Saturday, October 30, at Sun Devil Stadium, 500 East Veterans Way in Tempe. The Cougars are the underdogs due to a variety of offensive issues, which means ASU has a good chance at adding another win during the season’s final stretch. Kickoff is at noon and tickets start at $19. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Downtown Phoenix's legendary Hotel San Carlos. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Downtown Phoenix's legendary Hotel San Carlos.
Benjamin Leatherman

Phoenix Ghost Tours in Downtown Phoenix

Want to get a good scare while hearing ghost stories about some of downtown Phoenix’s most historic landmarks? This popular tour will start out at the Hotel San Carlos, 202 North Central Avenue, and take participants on 60- to 90-minute-long journey with stops at eight different locations. Tours take place nightly at 8 p.m. through Halloween. (Additional tours will also happen at 10 p.m. on October 30 and 31.) Adult tickets are $24.99 per person before taxes and fees. Full details can be found here. Benjamin Leatherman
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