October is the month Halloween fans await all year long. Luckily, for those of us who happen to be horror aficionados and dress-up fiends, Los Angeles provides no shortage of ways to get our spirits and spooks on. In addition to the plethora of haunted attractions that have opened up throughout the greater SoCal area (read about some of those here and here), the entire month in L.A. is filled with wicked and wild events. We’ve got stuff for kids, we’ve got stuff for adults, and we’ve got stuff for everything in between and beyond. So, without further ado, here is L.A, Weekly’s list of the spooky events that reign supreme and are just what the mad doctor ordered, no matter what thrills or chills you!
Nights of the Jack
Before we get to the hard-core stuff, let’s start with some lighthearted fare. Our first item in the “Fun for the Whole Family” category is the first annual Nights of the Jack! What we’ve got here is a display of thousands of hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns, illuminated and populating the King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas. Check out the website to see a sampling of the intricate artistry that will be waiting for you and your family to marvel at. This one is definitely not for people who have a fear of pumpkins. Thru Nov. 4; King Gillette Ranch, 26800 Mulholland Hwy., Calabasas; nightsofthejack.com.
Haunted Little Tokyo
You want a little variety? You got it! Throughout the month of October, Little Tokyo will play host to all sorts of seasonal delights. There's a pumpkin patch, trick-or-treating, a haunted block party, and even the Haunted Little Tokyo Film Festival. If you haven’t been down to Little Tokyo in a while for your udon fix, why not go now and get a twofer of noodles and chills? Thru Oct. 31; various locations in Little Tokyo; golittletokyo.com.
Illusions of Horror
Do you dare cozy up to Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster or the Mummy? What if you were welcome to do so for a selfie? Madame Tussauds Hollywood Wax Museum has prepared for the Halloween season with a variety of interactive creepy installations that guests are invited to jump right into. Care to share a nice chianti with Hannibal Lecter? He’s there too … just waiting to dine on … er … with you! “Illusions of Horror” is included with admission to the museum, and though it's going to be a permanent exhibit, October is really the time to do it, isn’t it? Madame Tussauds, 6933 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; madametussauds.com/hollywood/en/whats-inside/illusions-of-horror/.
The Witching Hour
If magic is what you seek, then look no further than Black Rabbit Rose. For their current show at the historic — and allegedly haunted — building, the resident conjurors expound upon the supernatural secrets of Old Hollywood, while beguiling you with mischief and magic. While these illusionists are dazzling some of your senses, don’t forget to dazzle the rest of them by sampling one or more of the venue’s hand-crafted cocktails. Thru Oct. 27; Black Rabbit Rose, 1719 N. Hudson Ave., Hollywood; blackrabbitrose.com.
Doctor Zomba’s Ghost Show of Terror
It’s spooky, it’s nostalgic, it’s perhaps even a little anachronistic, but where would the world of horror entertainment be without a proper spookshow? What’s a proper spookshow, you ask? Back in the 1950s, spookshows (or ghost shows) were limited performance events featuring spooky magic, comedy, monsters, a séance and the blackout, during which the lights would go out and audience members would hear and feel strange, unearthly things brush past them. These types of shows aren’t around much, but this critically acclaimed performance of Doctor Zomba will be waiting for you during select times and dates this spook season. Sat., Oct. 20-Sat., Nov. 3; Flight Theater at the Complex Hollywood, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; doctorzomba.eventbrite.com.
The Phantom of the Opera with Live Orchestra
Since our previous recommendation took us back to the ’50s, we thought we’d go even older-school with this next one. Behold! The 1925 classic silent horror film The Phantom of the Opera, featuring Lon Chaney as the Phantom. Bear witness as the iconic horror film is projected onto a large screen and accompanied by live orchestration, featuring CSUN alum Richard Kaufman conducting the New West Symphony with theater organ expert Dennis James on the rare Allen theater organ. Sat., Nov. 3, 8 p.m.; the Soraya, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; TheSoraya.org.
Sweet Sorrow: A Zombie Ballet
Let’s keep the creeps classy for a moment more, shall we? If you haven’t had a chance to experience L.A.’s one and only zombie ballet troupe, this is the time — they mostly perform in October. Mostly. See Romeo and Juliet performed like never before — as zombies. Not to worry, there’s also vampires, witches and other nefarious creatures waiting to enthrall you with their beautiful and creepy dances. Sat., Oct. 20, 7 p.m.; Sun. Oct. 21, 4 p.m,; Lanterman Auditorium, 4532 Angeles Crest Hwy., La Canada Flintridge; tickets and info here.
Nicodemus and Ghostbusters VR
Classic arts not your thing? Not a problem, here’s the latest in technological arts that you can find: virtual reality scares! In addition to its non-horror programming, the VOID at Glendale Galleria, is waiting for you to plug into its VR experiences, Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment and Ghostbusters: Dimension. Travel back in time to face the demon Nicodemus at the abandoned Chicago World’s Fair, or battle a cadre of ghosts and ghouls with the Ghostbusters! Thu., Oct. 18-Fri., Nov. 2; Glendale Galleria, 100 W. Broadway, Glendale; thevoid.com.
Nevermore to Do
Talk about classic horror, how about spending an evening with the master horror writer himself? Force of Nature Productions presents Edgar Allan Poe’s return from the grave for three engagements. Join him to share some of his chilling tales of horror and learn of the secrets behind his macabre work. Duffy Hudson stars as Edgar Allan Poe. Fri., Oct. 19-Sun., Oct. 21, 8:30 p.m.; Generation DCD, 1001 W. Olive Ave., Burbank; fonproductions.com.
LEAVE THE KIDS AT HOME!
Belle, Book & Candle Presents “Sangre”
The only burlesque show in town run by real witches, Pleasant Gehman and Shana Leilani's magical night features the city's sexiest dancers casting their spell. For this special Halloween show on a new night (its usually Witchy Wednesday but it's on Saturday the time around), there's extra excitement with a ritual performance by the darkly dramatic Coven of Ashes and live performance by theremin superstar Armen Ra. Sat., Oct. 20, 10 p.m.; El Cid, 4212 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; Info here.
Ghouls’ Night Out
Talk about black comedy. At the Second City, Victress presents this Halloween-themed comedy burlesque show. It’s got creeps! It’s got cheeks! And it's got chuckles. What more do you want from a choreographed and character-fueled strip show? Sat., Oct. 20, 10 p.m.; Studio Theater, 6560 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; https://www.secondcity.com/shows/hollywood/victress-presents-ghouls-night-out/90028
The Damn Devillez Blood Bath
All right, one more for the blood hounds! Touting themselves as the horror babes of Hollywood, the Damn Devillez are ready to get down and dirty for you at not one but two performances of their sanguine specialty. Do you like horror trivia? Horror film-themed striptease? Sexy ladies wrestling covered in blood? Then this one's for you, boo. Wed., Oct. 24, El Cid, 4212 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; and Sat., Oct. 27, Club Burlesque, 13324 Sherman Way, North Hollywood; thedamndevillez.com,
The Flowering of the Strange Orchid
Loosely based on the H.G. Wells story of the same name, this immersive dinner party event turns the Disco Dining Club into an opulent five-course dining experience, featuring music, theatrical moments and lush set design filled with overgrown forestry and carnivorous plants. Will you wind up being their dinner? Book your ticket and find out! Sat., Oct. 27, 7:30-11:30 p.m.; private residenceTBA; 21+; restlessnites.com/strangeorchid
SILENCE! The Musical
Speaking of chianti, perhaps this would be a good time to mention Let Live Theatre’s presentation of SILENCE!, a satirical, musical comedy tribute to The Silence of the Lambs. Be warned, though, in addition to featuring a musical story based on FBI agent Clarice Starling’s interactions with serial killers Buffalo Bill and Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter (with a chorus of singing lambs), this production is said to get a little raunchy. But it will be tasty, we're sure. Thru Sat., Nov. 3; the Actors Company, 916 N. Formosa Ave., Hollywood; bucketlisttheatre.com/tickets.
Night Horrors Costume Party
Club Banshee and Ricardo Garcia present their eighth annual Halloween bash. Bands Prima Donna, Killer Wolves and Killer Lords kill it live and L.A. Weekly's own Lina Lecaro hosts and deejays along with Shanty Tramp, Cezar and Robert Fenix. Expect an eerie and exciting evening of music, specialized drinks, colorful environs and a costume contest. Dress to distress! Fri., Oct. 19, 9 p.m.-2 a.m.; Harbor House DTLA, 1000 Wilshire Blvd., downtown; info here.
A frighteningly full roster of EDM DJs will spin their webs amidst this demonically decorated graveyard atmosphere. Lasers, major lighting, 3-D video mapping and Funktion-One sound and bass are promised. Beer pong tables, vendors, live blacklight painting and face painting will be offered as well. Come as ghosts, goblins, ghouls, witches, zombies, vampires, werewolves, grim reapers, mummies, if you want free candy and like to be eye candy yourself. Fri., Oct. 19, 9 p.m.-3 a.m.; Garage Gallery L.A., 715 Garland Ave., Westlake; info here.
Love and Lust Halloween
Sexy costumes are a must at the annual bacchanal hosted by nightlife personality Perish and featuring a slew of killer EDM DJs including DJ Ruff (Avalon Hollywood/Ibiza), Shanto (Sunday Sanctuary), DJ Munz (Avalon Hollywood), King Felix (Purple 33) and many more. Fetish performances, black-lit backdrops, photo booth and more make this bodacious bash a go-to for the uninhibited crowd. Sat., Oct. 20, 10 p.m.-5 a.m.; location TBA; info here.
After all the guts, gore and frights, we thought we’d let you down gently with a few parties. First, did you know that the only coffin-shaped swimming pool in the U.S.A. is located at the newly restored Hotel Figueroa? Well, it is, and it’s waiting for you. Take a dip, or just gaze into the depths while sipping drinks at Rick's, the two-story cocktail bar beside it. Drop by/dip in anytime. Hotel Figueroa, 939 S. Figueroa St., downtown; hotelfigueroa.com,
Not too far away, the Theatre at Ace Hotel will host two screenings of Carl Dreyer’s classic 1932 film Vampyr, which will be followed on the first night by “Fanged Féte,” presented by Restless Nights, and on the second night by L.A. Opera’s costumed after-party. Sat., Oct. 27, and Wed., Oct. 31, 8 p.m.; Ace Hotel, 933 S. Broadway, downtown; theatre.acehotel.com/events/la-opera-presents-vampyr-oct27/.
SCAREDY CATS NEED NOT APPLY
For our penultimate theatrical entry on this list of ghoulish goings-on, we present another throwback-type show. Ever heard of Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol (aka the Grand Guignol)? If not, then you don’t know where splatter horror came from, do you? This one ain’t for the faint-hearted. This homage to the extreme theater of yesteryear features cutting-edge (no pun intended) entertainment that promises to both entertain and horrify! Thu., Oct. 18-Sun., Nov. 4; location TBA; eventbrite.com/e/theatre-macabre-2018-tickets-48319625300.
Urban Death: Tour of Terror
For anyone who has not experienced the delight and dread of the Urban Death show at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre, this is a good way to wet your beak … with blood! Start off your tour with a mini-haunted maze, and then enjoy an abbreviated version of Urban Death. The combo is to die for! We don’t kid, this is some extreme stuff. The subject matter, the gore, the nudity, it’s … it’s …. maddening. What are you waiting for? Thru Sat., Nov. 3; Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; urbandeath.com.
Check back here for updates, as we'll be adding even more spooky happenings and events through Halloween. Also see our “Friday Frights” features covering Halloween Haunts and attractions.