Whether you're a goblin, Taylor Swift, a zombie or a nurse with dubious morals, Halloween is an appropriate time to showcase costumes, whether trendy, creepy or original. Regardless of the holiday's roots, Oct. 31 lends Western New Yorkers an excuse to be (safely) mischievous.
Instead of scratching your bulbous green head (wait, do people still dress up as Shrek?) and wondering where to go on Friday, our perhaps cornily named "Ghoul Runnings" version of The 10 should help lend some event ideas:
Suitable for: Witches, duh. This year's theme is "Vamp," though, so whether you're going as Edward Cullen or Harmony from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (it's throwback Thursday), you'll probably be welcomed with open...fangs?
Details: Black lights and a low-lying fog machine will set a spooky atmosphere, while belly dancers, art coffins (your guess is as good as mine) and music from Kickstart Rumble, DJ Sunglasses Mike, Tokyo Knuckles and Basha should maintain an energetic vibe. Be careful if you're sporting an extra-pointy witch's nose.
Suitable for: Any costume, really, but if you have any plant-themed suits, you'd probably fit in well. Are Cheech and Chong cliche by now?
Details: Badfish is an acclaimed Sublime tribute band that not only emulates the music, but also the live-concert atmosphere and persona of the band they're covering. If you have a hankering for "Santeria," "What I Got" and "Wrong Way," you'll be satisfied on Friday.
3) Buffalo's Biggest Halloween Bash with Shredd & Ragan: 6 p.m. Friday at the Connecticut Street Armory (184 Connecticut St., Buffalo). Tickets are $20 pre-sale through the Variety Club box office or by calling 854-7577. Prices rise to $25 if purchased at the door.
Suitable for: The winner of "Best Costume" receives $2,000. The competition will be stiffer than a mummy at a desk job.
Details: I doubt there's a better venue for a Halloween party than the cavernous and historic armory in Buffalo's West Side. Park at D'Youville College and take a brisk trot inside, where Kurt & the Loders, That 80's Hair Band and Knight Patrol will perform. The event flyer claims there will be 10-times as many beer stations. I feel like that might be an embellishment, but who knows -- I could be wrong.
4) Halloween films at North Park Theatre and Hamburg Palace: "Within" at 10 p.m. Friday at North Park Theatre (1428 Hertel Ave., Buffalo). Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. "A Grim Becoming" at 11:59 p.m. Friday at Hamburg Palace Theatre (31 Buffalo St., Hamburg). Cost is $6 for adults and $5 for seniors and children.
Suitable for: No costumes necessary, especially if they make you uncomfortable when sitting through a scary movie.
Details: The link to "Within" above takes you to an interview with Niagara Falls-based director Ken Cosentino, who connects several generations of zombies who mutated through the Ebola virus. "A Grim Becoming" is even more local, as director Michael Sciabarrasi and his DefTone Pictures are an established independent film company in Hamburg. Gusto editor Toni Ruberto penned both of these interview features -- it's clear she has quite the soft spot for zombies.
Suitable for: Any costumed or non-costumed individual who's keen on keeping the funk alive.
Details: Dropping band names like Lazlo Hollyfeld and Snarky Puppy is sure to rev the engine of any funk fan, but Jeff Miers says that "Turkuaz plays funk like a house on fire." JimKata, the co-headliner, likens its musical style to MGMT and the Talking Heads -- a blend of electronic music, indie rock, jam-band and other seemingly incongruous terms.
6) Freaky art: Altars 19 -- A Celebration of Mexican Holiday El Dia de los Muertos: Reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at El Museo (91 Allen St., Buffalo).
Suitable for: It's a costume party to recognize both Halloween and the Day of the Dead (which is Nov. 1). Your zombie costume would work, but try to be a little more culturally aware.
Details: Did you know the Day of the Dead originates with the indigenous peoples that occupied the area of present-day Mexico long before it became a country? Neither did I. The Aztec holiday -- which celebrates rather than mourns death due to the presence of an afterlife -- even managed to stiff-arm the approaches of Spanish Catholic influence. Anyhow, back to Allentown -- the Day of the Dead art will remain through Nov. 21, but stop in to the reception to show off your colorful, flowery dresses and haunting skull masks.
7) Spooky bars:
Frizzy's annual Halloween Party: 8 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Saturday at Frizzy's (140 Allen St., Buffalo) -- There's always a cast of characters in Frizzy's, and Halloween should be no different. Stop in the backroom for the photobooth, a nice way to capture your costumes. (Also, if you're wearing a mask, maybe darts aren't a good idea.)
The Stripteasers present Midnight Mass: 9 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Saturday at Nietzsche's (248 Allen St., Buffalo) -- If you're into "blasphemous burlesque," this is your jam.
Monster Ball at Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar: 9 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Saturday at DBGB (253 Allen St., Buffalo) -- $500 for the best costume, specials on fall and pumpkin beers, and a lineup of seven local DJs. What's not to like?
Colter Bay Halloween Party: 4 p.m. Friday until 4 a.m. Saturday at Colter Bay (561 Delaware Ave., Buffalo): A host of drink specials -- include a shot called "Poisoned Apple" -- and prizes for best costume. If you're priced out of Encore, Fireball shots are just $3 here, too.
Cafe 59 Halloween Party: 6:30 p.m. Friday until close at 62 Allen St. Specials on fall and pumpkin beers, as well as a small costume contest.
8) Monstrous movies:
10th anniversary of "Saw," which will return to theaters for one week only. We hear it's even more gory on the big screen.
"Nightcrawler": Not exactly a Halloween movie, but it's got Jake Gyllenhaal in it, and News Arts Editor Jeff Simon raves about Dan Gilroy's directing. Keep your expectations high.
"Horns": If you want to see Daniel Radcliffe grow horns from his head on Halloween, be our guest. (Not literally, as we won't be there.)
9) Day of the Dead party at Cantina Loco: 5 p.m. until close on Sunday at 191 Allen St., Buffalo.
10) Trick-or-Treating: Hey, you can never be too old for free candy, and no one knows how old you are under that "V for Vendetta" mask.