10 things to do, watch and experience this Halloween season

Of all the seasons to be meddled with by ‘rona this year, Halloween and all the festivities leading up to said ‘Ween, seem to be some of the hardest to replace. This is particularly true if your threshold for a successful Halloween season is determined by how often your adrenaline spikes or how many hands the kiddos use to shoulder those candy-packed pillowcases. To be clear: yes, it’s true, Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary is canceled, Pa’s Pumpkin Patch won’t reopen and city officials are discouraging trick-or-treating this year.

That said, there are still plenty of things to watch, craft and even a few places to eat and hang out and enjoy the season, safely.

THE GHOSTS OF CRAVEN MANOR (Oct. 16-31)

Image courtesy Fantasy Escape Games.

Jack McCarthy, the puzzle mastermind behind Belmont Height’s escape room game house, Escape Long Beach, has developed a virtual version of the popular gaming phenomenon with The Ghosts of Craven Manor. You and a party of up to seven play a family of mischievous ghosts who haunt an old mansion. Working together your team will try to thwart an exorcist who’s come to evict you from your haunt—rude!

The experience has elements of a role-playing fantasy game where players will interact with characters and their environment over Zoom while a game facilitator will act as different characters while displaying puzzles on the screen.

Tickets are $15-$16 per person and reservations may be booked online starting Oct. 16. Ghosts of Craven Manor will be available through the rest of the month, seven days a week, until Nov. 1. For more information and to book your reservations, visit the Fantasy Escape Games website, here.

RELEASE THE BATS LIVE STREAM (Oct. 23)

Image courtesy Release the Bats/Facebook.

What was formerly Southern California’s longest-running rock/goth club night is returning virtually to help raise funds for Que Sera, the venue that housed Bats every Friday night for 20 years.

Expect live DJ sets mixed in with unearthed footage from two decades of playlists and video clips of past Release the Bats performances. The event is free, but all donated tips will go towards helping Que Sera pull through until the storied venue can reopen. The event will be streamed online, via Twitch.

HAUNTED BALLOT PARTY (Oct. 17)

Those who have no clue how to vote this election will have the opportunity to learn how to fill out a ballot, where to vote and when to vote at this virtual event, Saturday.

Organized by the nonprofit Khmer Girls in Action and Long Beach Rising, the event, Haunted Ballot Party, will run from 5 to 6:30 p.m. encouraging attendees to wear Halloween costumes, play trivia games about voter education and learn about the propositions organizers support, including Proposition 15 and Measure US.

KGA program coordinator Maggie Quan said the top three winners of the trivia games will receive prizes, and more prizes, in the form of PPE care packages, will be raffled off to those who sign up to their newsletter or to volunteer.

Attendees must RSVP first in order to receive the Zoom link to the event. Click here to register. (Crystal Niebla)

DARK ART EMPORIUM VIRTUAL GALLERY TOURS

When Dark Art Emporium had to close in March, owner Jeremy Schott and assistant director Jeremy Cross had to figure out just how they would make up for the loss of foot traffic through the gallery which had been recently adjoined to the Downtown pizzeria, The 4th Horseman. Their answer was to enlist the help of Sam Simmons, owner, CEO and head draftsman at Brickworks, a Long Beach design firm specializing in site plan layouts for music festivals, to create interactive gallery tours as you’ve never seen.

Currently, DAE has five tours available online where you can click and check out every inch, every nook and cranny of the space. Not to mention, each gallery, including their newest, “Culture Junky and Heavy Aliens,” is suitably creepy, bizarre, grotesque and perfectly in tune with the season. Check out their free virtual galleries, here.

BINGE THE LONG BEACH POST’S HAUNTED LONG BEACH SERIES

Our city hall reporter, Jason Ruiz, narrates the Long Beach Post’s video series diving into our city’s most haunted places and most (in)famous ghosts in “Haunted Long Beach.” With the help of local historian Claudine Burnett, known locally as “The Ghost Lady,” get your cauldron sized fill of all the creepy and strange paranormal peculiarities of this city.

Watch the series on Youtube, here.

HALLOWEEN CINEMA AT GASLAMP (Oct. 16 – 31)

The outdoor parklet and screening area of the Gaslamp. Photo courtesy Gaslamp/Facebook.

Every Friday until Saturday, Oct. 31, there will be a screening of some of Halloween’s most cherished cinema at local restaurant and music venue, The Gaslamp, culminating with the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” on Halloween night.

Movie tickets cost between $10 and $15 and require booking dinner reservations to enjoy the entertainment. Guests will be seated at socially distanced spaced tables on the outdoor patio area. Dinner and other refreshments are not included in the movie ticket price. Movies will be projected onto a large, elevated screen.

Films to be shown this month include:

  • “The Shining” – Oct. 16
  • “The Exorcist” – Oct. 23
  • “Rocky Horror Picture Show” – Oct. 31 (Saturday)

Guests are required to follow all COVID-19 safety precautions, including wearing a mask to and from the event as well as stay seated at their designated tables.

To find showtimes and purchase tickets, check out their Facebook events page, here.

SPOOKY STEAMPUNK HALLOWEEN PICNIC (Oct. 17)

A still of a Long Beach Company of Steam Punks event taken in 2019. Image courtesy Facebook.

Arrive at El Dorado East Regional Park in your finest top hat, goggles and petticoats for an afternoon with the Long Beach Company of Steampunks and Neo Victorians. To this group of cosplayers, peak fashion was when Queen Victoria reigned supreme and steam was the dominant form of energy. Join them for a steamy cup of tea and snacks—bring your own—and make your case (from a distance) for why the top hat is the superior form of head wear.

Find the group from 12 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17. For more information visit their Facebook page, here.

SCARIUM OF THE PACIFIC (Oct. 23 – 25)

Image courtesy Aquarium of the Pacific.

From Friday, Oct. 23 until Sunday, Oct. 25, enjoy all of the Aquarium of the Pacific’s outdoor exhibition areas decked out in Halloween decor. Guests are invited to dress up; the first 200 kids to enter the Aquarium in costume will be awarded a free kid’s meal certificate from Islands.

The event is free with a general admission ticket, however advanced reservations are required. For more information, click here.

IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, BLUFF PARK (Oct. 24)

Image courtesy Bluff Park Neighborhood Association/Facebook.

The kind folk of the Bluff Park Neighborhood Association are offering residents of their historic district a pumpkin delivery service. A purchase of $6 ($5 for association members) will buy you a pumpkin complete with carving tools and a goody bag. All you’ve got to do is register online by Oct. 24 and come Thursday, Oct. 29, a representative in a festive truck will drop off your pumpkin kit.

Think your pumpkin has what it takes to win the neighborhood carving competition? Place your hollow masterpiece outside your home by 2 p.m., Oct. 30 to enter the competition and come Halloween day winners will be awarded prizes, as well as bragging rights, the best part.

For more information, visit the Bluff Park Neighborhood Association website, here.

SPOOKY PAINTING SESSIONS

Image courtesy Brushstrokes and Beverages website.

If arts and crafts is more your thing, both Brushstrokes and Beverages and The Paint Sesh are offering virtual Halloween themed painting demonstrations. Learn from professional instructors how to recreate, stroke-by-stroke, one of their original pieces.

Brushstrokes and Beverages will teach viewers how to recreate their spooky graveyard scene featuring a giant moon. While supplies are not included in the $15 ticket, you can purchase an art kit for $20 to pick up curbside at their studio in Downtown (501 E. Broadway, Unit C). For more information, visit their website, here.

The Paint Sesh will be instructing how to make a rather adorable, spooky-looking “Pumpkinman” Sunday, Oct. 18. Tickets for the hour and a half tutorial cost $15. Supplies are not included, but the studio does list the items you’ll need to recreate the painting on their Facebook page, here. To purchase tickets visit The Paint Sesh website.

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Cheantay Jensen is an editorial intern who covers art and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post.
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