Hey Phoenix, it’s time to make some plans. This week, you can check out what’s happening in the rodeo circuit at the World Gay Rodeo Finals, mix and mingle with like-minded people at EDGE Happy Hour, or support your favorite drag star at A Nightmare on Melrose Street. For more things to do, visit
The focus will be on more than pumpkins and spooky tales during the Spooktacular event happening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 24, in Guadalupe. The family-friendly festivities include a costume contest and other Halloween traditions, plus a Peace Walk through the canal and into the Mercado, where you can enjoy food, live music, and other entertainment.
Community groups will be there, highlighting domestic violence and substance abuse prevention. Kids can enter a coloring contest, then put their work on display. The gathering also includes a memorial altar for images of lost loved ones. The free event takes place at 9241 South Avenida del Yaqui in Guadalupe. Lynn Trimble
Sunset Yoga in the Park at San Tan Mountain Regional Park
It’s no coincidence that some yoga poses take inspiration from nature. Practicing yoga outdoors is infinitely more satisfying than on a mat in the middle of your living room, and you don’t need any experience to enjoy it. Sunset Yoga in the Park at San Tan Mountain Regional Park, 6533 West Phillips Road in Queen Creek, includes basic breathing techniques and poses.
It’s a great option for beginners, and a fun way to get your nature fix without spending hours in hiking mode. The 5 to 6 p.m. class on Thursday, October 24, is free with your $7 vehicle entry fee to the park. Wear comfortable clothing and bring a water bottle. You’ll also need a yoga mat, plus a towel or blanket for some extra padding. Lynn Trimble
‘Counter-Landscapes: Performative Actions from the 1970s – Now’
The visual landscapes at local museums change several times a year, bringing fresh exhibits and ideas. Over at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street in Scottsdale, you can see a new exhibition called “Counter-Landscapes: Performative Actions from the 1970s – Now” during the free Fall Opening. It takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, October 25. Expect plenty of intriguing conversation in the galleries and the line for the cash bar.
This opening will be your first chance to see the exhibit, which includes artists working in urban and natural settings to explore “the power of place to address issues of social, environmental, and personal transformation.” The exhibit includes works by several artists based in Arizona, including Saskia Jordá and Beth Ames Swartz, who plan to be there Friday night. Artists Ana Teresa Fernández, Maria Hupfield, and Antonia Wright are also scheduled to attend. Lynn Trimble
Punk Rock Halloween Bash and Monster Midway
Horror and punk rock go together like PB&J, or whatever the weirdest condiments happen to be. Celebrate this most ghastly union with the eighth annual Punk Rock Halloween Bash and Monster Midway. A slew of local/regional bands celebrate Halloween with covers of iconic punk bands (spooky or otherwise). Across the two-night event, witness Ham transform into The Ramones, Sanitation Squad channel Bad Religion, Fascist Pigs become Suicidal Tendencies, and other once-in-a-lifetime musical marriages. It’s an event so promising it’s practically terrifying.
The free bash runs from roughly 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday, October 25, and Saturday, October 26, at Yucca Tap Room, 29 West Southern Avenue in Tempe. There’s also a costume contest, Triple Dot food truck, and heaps of vendors with merch and other goodies. Chris Coplan
Grab your Sword of Sinew and Steel and prepare for battle. MagicFest Phoenix is a rare chance to engage in limited grand prix play for Magic: The Gathering players of all skill levels. If you can’t handle high-level players bashing you with a Simic Flash deck, try some side events or spend some time in the “Combat Zone” (even the “safe” options sound mostly mortifying).
The battle begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, October 25, and rages on through Sunday, October 27, at the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street. Chris Coplan
World Gay Rodeo Finals
Maybe the Suns and Diamondbacks can’t quite do it, but there’s still some championships to be won in the Valley. This year, the 33rd annual World Gay Rodeo Finals, part of the International Gay Rodeo Association, takes place live from Scottsdale. Here, 20 of the best male and female riders will compete in a series of events, from standard team roping and bull riding to “camp events” like goat dressing, in which two competitors attempt to slap britches on a goat. God bless the rodeo circuit.
The championships begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, October 26, and continue through Sunday, October 27, at WestWorld, 16601 North Pima Road in Scottsdale. Tickets run $10-$15. Chris Coplan
Oasis Classic Car Show
Not everyone has the means to drive a cherry 1967 Lincoln Continental or obliterate stop signs with a 1971 Pontiac T-37. But why spend an absurd amount of money when you can live through those who do at the Oasis Classic Car Show. Here, motor-heads of all ages can check out a slew of souped-up cars, trucks, and motorbikes, from rat rods and GTOs to lowriders and Camaros (plus a Nova or two). If you’re less inclined to stare longingly at cars you can’t have, indulge in the raffle, Halloween costume contest, culinary offerings, and live music. Beep beep, y’all.
This totally free event begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, October 26, at Westgate, 6751 North Sunset Boulevard in Glendale. Chris Coplan
Anarchy Bike Bar Crawl
If you’re an anarchist punk looking to celebrate Halloween outside the usual offerings, keep your edge while having a good time with the Halloween Anarchy Bike Bar Crawl. Grab your coolest bike (fixie or otherwise) and head to Rage Cycles for a raucous show by Tempe’s Upsuck. From there, put the pedal to the metal for a bar crawl featuring a costume contest, giveaways, and food and booze specials. And don’t forget to wear your “radical-punk inspired costume,” or you’ll likely get egged.
The journey begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 26, at Rage Cycles, 6411 East Thomas Road in Scottsdale. Chris Coplan
EDGE Happy Hour
Sound art isn’t just the adorable way your favorite toddler bangs on the kitchen pots and pans like she’s a rock star. It’s also a creative take on sound and improvisation, best exemplified by those who use more sophisticated tools like experimental sound performance software, modular synthesizers, sample recordings, and their own instrumental creations.
Sound artists Chris Piraino, Tony Obr, and Mark Venti are performing at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 26. It’s part of the venue’s EDGE Happy Hour series, which includes free performances in the lobby overlooking Tempe Town Lake. Drink specials and small bites round out the casual performance. Lynn Trimble
Onstage at CB Live
Brian Posehn is a stand-up comedian, and an excellent one. (Fire up his hilarious 2017 album 25x2 and you’re certain to agree.) He’s also a diehard nerd and metal geek who has written Deadpool comics and episodes of Metalocalypse, appeared in a Red Fang music video and episodes of Big Bang Theory, and jokes about Star Wars and cock-rock tropes in his routines.
Posehn cracks about his interests in his new memoir Forever Nerdy: Living My Dorky Dreams and Staying Metal, where he recounts a childhood spent rocking out to KISS and obsessing over Dungeons & Dragons. Expect him to do the same onstage at CB Live, 21001 North Tatum Boulevard, during two sets on Saturday, October 26. Performances are at 7 and 9:30 p.m. and tickets are $25. Benjamin Leatherman
Community members celebrating Dia de los Muertos will gather at Steele Indian School Park, 300 East Indian School Road, from 1 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, October 27. That’s when Cultural Coalition, created by Mesa artists Carmen and Zarco Guerrero, is presenting a robust lineup of arts and culture offerings designed to connect families to their cultural traditions and heritage.
The Mikiztli festival includes live music, dance, and storytelling, including masked performances. Expect plenty of hands-on activities for children, plus an artist Mercado featuring works by local creatives, and a candlelight closing complete with a procession to honor the lives of loved ones who’ve died. Lynn Trimble
Lots of movies are scarier than 2012’s The Cabin in the Woods. Drew Goddard’s directorial debut is as much about jump-scares as it is an exploration of genre tropes (and inventive pot jokes). But few horror films pair so well with food — unless you wanna eat barbecue and watch A Nightmare on Elm Street. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is seizing on Cabin’s magic with a beer dinner. Viewers can enjoy the film with Dogfish Head brews alongside “tasty eats inspired by the film.” Will there be some werewolf pie or various finger (from a giant omnipotent monster) foods?
The special screening happens at 6 p.m. on Sunday, October 27, at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 1140 East Baseline Road in Tempe. Chris Coplan
Who says Halloween is fun for just homo sapiens? Even if your Fido can’t eat a Hershey bar, there are still chances to dress your pup and parade them around for other dog owners. But the annual Howl-o-Ween is about more than showing off our canine companions. There are also food trucks, a mobile adoption (‘cause one dog is great, but four are better), and the debut of “The Big Dog Show,” an installation of 20 eight-foot dog statues set to stick around through November. You’d be a doggone fool to miss out.
Howl-o-Ween is set for noon on Sunday, October 27, at Margaret T. Hance Park, 67 West Culver Street. Attendance is free, or you can pay $25 per pup to march in the parade. Chris Coplan
‘David Hockney’s Yosemite and Masters of California Basketry’
The Heard Museum is exploring the intersection of art and nature with a new exhibition called “David Hockney’s Yosemite and Masters of California Basketry.” The exhibit pairs works by the renowned British artist with exquisite baskets created by several Miwok and Mono Lake Paiute women, revealing just two of many ways the park has influenced creatives through the years. California State Parks has more than 3,000 Indian baskets in its collection.
Hockney is best known to many for his portraiture and paintings of swimming pools, which form just a small part of his extensive body of work. Nearly a decade ago, Hockney took his iPad to Yosemite National Park, where he made digital drawings of its landscapes. See how the Heard Museum, located at 2301 North Central Avenue, is showcasing these works on Monday, October 28. Museum hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $20 for adults. Lynn Trimble
All Arizona Halloween Storytelling
Relive those childhood moments spent listening to ghost stories in the great outdoors when Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway, presents All Arizona Halloween Storytelling. It’s a night filled with tales of ghosts, monsters, and other frightening creatures culled from a vast range of history and cultures. Naturally, both villains and heroes, plus lovers and enemies, will make it into the mix.
The event happens from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 28. Tickets are $34, which includes garden admission. The garden will have paths filled with creative pumpkin vignettes that night, plus giant glowing plastic animals that are part of the “Wild Rising” exhibit. Lynn Trimble
Youth, Know Your Rights Zine and Video Party
The Puente Human Rights Movement, a grassroots migrant justice group based in Phoenix, is partnering with Puente Youth Movement to screen a new video designed to help young migrants know their rights. The latter helps youth ages 12 to 18 to develop leadership skills in the context of cultural and political issues at play in contemporary society.
The screening is part of a free event called Youth, Know Your Rights Zine and Video Party. It takes place at Puente Arizona, 1937 West Adams Street, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 29. It’s a workshop designed for youth, although other community members are welcome to attend. RSVP online. Lynn Trimble
It’s been just over a century since Bolsheviks assassinated members of the ruling Romanov family during the Russian Revolution. At the time, it was rumored that two children might have survived. Those rumors inspired a 1997 film called Anastasia, and a subsequent musical by the same name.
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The musical features work by renowned writing team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, whose other credits include Once on This Island, Ragtime, Rocky, and Seussical. That’s reason enough to see the show, which will stop at ASU Gammage, 1200 South Forest Avenue in Tempe, as part of its national tour. It opens on Tuesday, October 29, at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary. Lynn Trimble
A Nightmare on Melrose Street
Any group planning an event around A Nightmare on Elm Street should seek to use an actual Elm Street (which Phoenix certainly has). That said, we can’t hold it against organizers of A Nightmare on Melrose Street. It’s still the perfect title for a Halloween-themed drag show extravaganza. This wicked evening features appearances by Hollo Eve (from season three of OutTV’s The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula), Ev3 All, and “Mister Trans Arizona USA” Eddie Broadway. It’s fabulous and scary enough to breeze over any name-related discrepancies.
The 21-and-over event is set for 9 p.m. on Wednesday, October 30, at The Rock, 4129 North Seventh Avenue. It’s $10 for standing room tickets, $20 for reserved seating, and $30 for VIP seating, which includes early entrance and a meet-and-greet. Chris Coplan