Since Halloween is creeping up, it's time to start embracing the weird and spooky attributes of this peculiar fall celebration.
This week's 10 events in focus are united by a healthy dose of the bizarre, but differ enough to include big orange fruits, zombie-inspired costumes, pop-star relatives and guitarists in Mexican wrestling masks.
Also, we made it this far without even mentioning David Spade's hair, which is a step in the right direction.
Here are 10 events to be aware of in Western New York this weekend:
1) Torn Space Theater's Prom of the Dead: Lift-Off: 9 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday in the Dnipro Ukrainian Center, 562 Genesee St., Buffalo. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door or $50 for VIP access.
Comments: Not too many events suggest dressing up like an alien or an undead space villain, but Torn Space Theater encourages these costumes -- or anything space-related that's a little odd. (Appearing as a zombie Neil Armstrong wouldn't be a horrible idea, honestly.) Did we mention that there are free drinks between 9 and 10 p.m.? FREE DRINKS. Browse pictures from last year's event here.
2) Haunted Food Truck Rodeo: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday in Iron Island Museum, 998 E. Lovejoy St., Buffalo. Free to attend, and there's a $5 tour of the Iron Island Museum available as well.
Comments: Why not congregate 13 mobile food vendors -- yep, that's the number 13, popping up already -- at one of Buffalo's plentiful allegedly haunted locations? Don't let the ghosts eat your pierogi from Betty Crockski. Ghosts love pierogi. Trucks expected to be in attendance: R&R Barbecue, Amy's Truck, Rolling Joe Cafe, House of Munch, Roaming Buffalo, Trini Treats & Sweets, Pizza Amore, Betty Crockski, The Whole Hog, Sweet Hearth, The Knight Slider and newcomers Mineo & Sapio Food Truck and the Louisiana Cookery.
3) Buffalo Ninja Warrior II: 11 a.m. on Sunday in Hybrid Fitness, 475 Ellicott St., Buffalo (next to Seabar). Viewing space is extremely limited -- inside the gym is already sold out -- but contact 544-3300 to inquire about viewing.
Comments: You may be familiar with the rigors of the NBC show "American Ninja Warrior," where feats of strength, flexibility and endurance challenge even the most fit competitors. What obstacles will these Buffalo entrants face? The Salmon Ladder, Warped Wall, Flying Nunchucks, Quintuple Steps, the Cat Burglar, Jungle Escape, Ninja Nightmare and Dancing Stones, according to the event page. I hope there are not live salmon flopping on the ladder. [Edit: No live salmon are involved.]
4) Aaron Carter: 6 p.m. Saturday with five opening acts in The Forvm, 4224 Maple Road, Buffalo. Advance purchase is $20, day-of-show tickets jump to $25, while the VIP experience costs $70. (Not sure if the $70 includes a time machine.)
Comments: Gymnasts aside, very few professionals peak between the ages of 7 and 12. Those were the years when Aaron Carter, younger brother of former Backstreet Boy Nick, broke out with four Top 40 singles and captured the hearts of young women all over the world. Well, he's 26 now and still a pro at getting "I Want Candy" stuck in your head.
Comments: News contributor Michael Farrell alluded to this show in his weekly Farrell Four, but first thing's first: these guitar experts wear Lucha Libre masks. Yep, straight from Mexican wrestling. Deke Dickerson is joining the fray, too, which means there's a small chance he'll whip some armless musicians from his dusty collection. This will make more sense Sunday night in Black Rock.
Comments: Tim O'Shei, Buffalo.com's king of comedy coverage, has already previewed this show (remember his advice about casino selfies, people), and as angry as Spade's hair makes me (don't ask), heading to Niagara Falls to see the "Tommy Boy" co-star live probably beats watching grainy '90s SNL clips on YouTube, right?
7) Great Pumpkin Farm: 10 a.m. to dusk Saturday and Sunday at 11199 Main St., Clarence. $5 admission for the general public, while children under 3 get in for free. Discounted tickets are available at Wegmans.
Comments: It's the seventh and final weekend for the Great Pumpkin Farm's fall antics for 2014, and the highlights will be a costume contest and a blood drive. For some reason blood drives, while obviously a noble cause, add a level of creepiness to the weekend. (No offense, blood drivers.) Finally, where else, other than Clarence, can you experience a Magic Show and Pie-Eating Contest within a few hundred feet?
8) Mural creation for Hamburg Public Library: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in William E. Swan Auditorium inside Hilbert College. It's free to watch this extraordinary public art project.
Comments: Led by Buffalo artist Charlie Clough, 200 artists will gather for a day to paint a giant mural using Clough's "Big Fingers," which look like, well, big fingers. With public art in the local spotlight -- think Shark Girl and maybe even that Labatt Blue six-pack -- Saturday's event is yet another collaboration between the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Erie County. We promise this will be much cooler than watching paint dry usually is. Here's a video shot and produced by Colin Dabkowski on Clough's work:
Comments: A collaborative effort between haunted party-throwers Old Friends, New Faces and local indie music bloggers BuffaBLOG, this Halloween party welcomes Soul Patch, a '90s cover band, and DJ Spooky Stephen, exactly 1/2 of popular DJ crew Spooky Business. There will be prizes for the best costumes, and as you read above, free beer.
10) Local Restaurant Week: Through Sunday night all over Western New York. Lunch and dinner specials, either for one or two people, cost $20.14 at participating restaurants.
Comments: The biannual celebration of eating local winds down this weekend, so before you start putting your horse head on for your Halloween costume, stop out at a restaurant, try something new and support the local economy. These are the participating restaurants. Here's a steak.
Story topics: Aaron Carter/ buffaBLOG/ Buffalo Ninja Warrior/ Charlie Clough/ David Spade/ Dnipro Ukrainian Center/ food trucks/ Great Pumpkin Farm/ Hamlin House/ Local Restaurant Week/ Los Straitjackets/ Prom of the Dead/ Torn Space Theater