Trails to Terror

You feel the chill in the air, that spooky 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:

8800 East Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale
Haunted Laser Tag in a terrifying two-story maze with surprises around every corner. $6. Open daily through Monday, October 31. Call 480-951-6060 for park hours.

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 Muertos," 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.

Rawhide Wild West Town
23023 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
Ghastly ghouls and grisly goblins roam the streets during Doomtown, the Western town's annual ooky event. Guests can also visit the Train of Terror, the Mine of Misfortune, the Haunted Hotel, and the Forsaken Souls of Vengeance, and participate in various midway games. 6 to 10 p.m. Runs nightly through Monday, October 31. $5 to $8, $20 for admission to all four attractions. Call 480-502-5600.

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
7380 East Second Street, Scottsdale
The Virginia G. Piper Theater presents a reinterpretation of Mary Shelley's classic, transforming the story into The Flying Machine's Frankenstein, a "dark, midwinter's fairy tale" with live music, found objects, and physical performance. 7:30 p.m. Performances also run at 8 p.m. Friday, October 28; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, October 29; and 2 p.m. Sunday, October 30. $42. Call 480-994-2787.

Bars and Clubs -- Thursday, October 27:

Anderson's Fifth Estate
6820 East Fifth Avenue, Scottsdale
Death Cab for 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:

The Brickhouse Theatre
1 East Jackson Street
Leche Boo Fool Art Lounge with music by NYC DJ Sucio Smash, and new work from such artists as Isaac Fortoul and Bobby Castaneda. 9 p.m. $12 with costume, $14 without. Call 602-252-0792.

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
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, ghoulish drink specials all night, and live music by Punk Rock Nation, Metalhead, Money $hot, The Chadwicks, Jason and the Daggers, and more. Includes admission to Maloney's, Drinx, Martini Ranch, SIX Lounge, and DJs. 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 online, $20 at the door.

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