Trails to Terror

You feel the chill in the air, that ooky tingle at the base of your spine, the growing sense of dread in the pit of your stomach. You know it's coming, and your ass had better be prepared. We're not talking about yet another numbskull Adam Sandler flick, pal. Nope, it's Halloween, and it's the one time of year when it's okay to down drinks and debauch in decadence while in disguise. Sure, there are plenty of other "drinking holidays" scattered throughout the year for you to tie one on, but you usually can't drop into Dos Gringos on Cinco de Mayo dressed as Darth Vader. Speaking of which, consider exchanging said dorky duds for something more impressive and stylish, because it won't cut the mustard at any of countless costume contests or other Halloween events and celebrations to be had across the Valley from Thursday, October 27, through Monday, October 31. Since you'll probably be out this weekend in search of the happening hootenannies (unless sitting at home doling out Snickers is your idea of fun), we've assembled a superstar selection of the more bangin' bashes for your perusal. Whether you're a punky pagan out to celebrate Samhain or some slinky Scottsdale siren, we've got all the new Halloween hotness.

Events and Happenings -- Thursday, October 27:

Glendale Public Library -- Foothills Branch
19055 North 57th Avenue, Glendale
Paranormal investigators from the Arizona Desert Ghost Hunters will discuss various sightings, and will also present photographic and audio evidence of spooks and spirits. 7 p.m. Free. Call 623-930-3846.

The Paper Heart
750 Grand Avenue
Celebrate both Halloween and Día de los Muertos with "Jornada del Muerto," a themed exhibition commemorating both holidays with photography, paintings, mixed media, and unique altars by Cathryn Turk, Jeff Falk, Annie Lopez, Greg Pentkowski, and Michele and Richard Bledsoe. Runs through October 31. 3 p.m. -1 a.m. Free. Call 602-262-2020.

Bars and Clubs -- Thursday, October 27:

Anderson's Fifth Estate
6820 East Fifth Avenue, Scottsdale
Death Cab for a Cutie and Goth Halloween Bash with DJ Manchester and four other mixmasters spinning, as well as a CD release party for Depeche Mode's latest disc. 8 p.m. $5. Call 480-994-4168.

The Real Bar
5014 South Price Road, Tempe
Combination Halloween and CD release party for Mourning Maxwell, with additional live music by Fourbanger, Before Braille, Haffo, Facing New York, and Exit Broadway, as well as prizes for best costume, and a free CD with admission. 7 p.m. $7 under 21, $5 over 21. Call 480-897-1466.

Events and Happenings -- Friday, October 28:

Counter Culture Café
2330 East McDowell Road
Performances by alt-rockers Kayo Dot and fire dancing troupe SoulTribe. 10 p.m. $5. Call 602-231-0762.

Four White Walls
1023 Grand Avenue
Skaloween with music from Big Spender, Troy's Bucket, Class Act, and Haffo, as well as a costume contest and free trick-or-treat bags. 7 p.m. $8. Call 602-705-4936.

Fright Night 2005
Stetson Drive between Drinkwater Boulevard and Wells Fargo Avenue, Scottsdale
Gigantic Halloween Block Party encompassing several Scottsdale nightspots offering a costume contest with $5,000 in cash and prizes, an on-site broadcast by KZON-FM 101.5, ghastly drink specials all night, and live music by Punk Rock Nation, Metalhead, Money $hot, The Chadwicks, and more. Includes admission to Maloney's, Drinx, Martini Ranch, SIX Lounge, and DJ's. 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 online, $20 at the door.

Mystery Mansion Dinner Theatre
2200 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
An interactive "comedy mystery dinner theater" with thrills, chills, and kills. Also runs Saturday, October 29. 7:30 p.m. each day. Tickets are $37. Call 480-994-1520.

Phoenix Little Theatre
100 East McDowell Road
Scorpius Dance Theatre presents A Vampire Tale, a captivatingly lurid production concerning the dark seduction of an innocent young woman into the shadowy underworld of the undead. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. (Attendees dressed as vampires get $5 off.) Also runs Saturday, October 29, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. $20. Call 602-254-2151.

Wet Paint
203 East Seventh Street, Tempe
Halloween-themed gallery show in conjunction with Final Friday in downtown Tempe, featuring the artwork of such Alpha Monster artists as Baron Gordon and Adam Dumper, music from local DJs, live graffiti art demonstrations, and b-boy dancing from Mellowdrama and the Phunky Phoenicians. 7 p.m. Free. Call 480-967-2002.

The Wrigley Mansion
2501 East Telawa Trail
A Wicked Night at the Wrigley with music by The Scones and local DJs, a live remote by MIX 96.9, a costume contest for prizes, food and drink specials, psychics, fortune tellers, and tarot-card readers. 21 and over. 8 p.m. $45. Call 602-553-7382.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.