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Over pumpkin picking? Here are 12 unusual fall date ideas

You don't need me to tell you where to find apple cider or how to go pumpkin picking or where to do all the typical fall things. I mean, I did. But, we all know about pumpkin patches.

It's easy to feel fatigued of the stereotypical fall activities halfway through the season. Or, maybe you've simply done them all. Or you would rather get a matching cat tattoo or drink and shop at a boozy artisan market than meander around an apple orchard. No one's judging.

The following activities are the "chai-der" (chai-cider) to a pumpkin spice latte. They're unusual, surprisingly good and not entirely mainstream (yet).

I use the term "date" loosely here. It can mean a date by yourself. Or a date with a significant other, friend, child, parent... cat. There are a couple cat-themed activities in here.

So if getting cat tattoos to benefit animal shelters intrigues you, read on. Or a happy hour at a known haunted house.

Haunted Happy Hour

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 19 and Oct. 26.

Where: Iron Island Museum, 998 E. Lovejoy St.

Cost: A $30 ticket includes beer and wine, haunted tours and food. With pre-sale tickets, you receive a commemorative wine glass. For a small fee, get a psychic reading.

Have you ever gone to a happy hour -- probably at some hyped-up bar with overpriced cocktails -- and thought, "this happy hour would be so much better if it was haunted?"

Mixing beer, wine, ghosts and psychic readings isn't for the faint of heart, but if your nerves can handle alcoholic stimulation and a prescient fear of a ghost snatching you up, or doing whatever it is exactly that ghosts do, then best of luck.

Fitness Scavenger Hunt

When: 11 a.m. to noon Oct. 20

Where: Hotel Henry

Cost: Free, but registration is required. Donation of new hats and gloves is suggested.

What is a fitness scavenger hunt? Apparently, it's an exploration of workouts, with mini-workouts, challenges and surprises. The workout, by Revolution Buffalo and IMPACT yoga + spin, will be outside, so afterward you could go inside Hotel Henry for a warm drink or lunch, or a cold one, if those surprises were too much for you.


When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 20

Where: Lockport Community Farmers Market, 57 Canal St., Lockport

Cost: East tasting ticket costs $1 or a donation of a food pantry item.

In pop culture, soup dates haven't always gone well. But ambling around a farmers market along the Erie Canal, tasting 10 different soups while helping the community? Sounds kinda romantic.

Ten Lockport restaurants will be competing for your affection with their soups, in hopes of being named the community's favorite, as well as the love from a master panel to deem them the grand champion restaurant. The competition is for a good cause, too. All proceeds and donations will benefit Lockport's food pantries. Hopefully, your soup date will go better than Seinfeld's.

Yoga with cats

When: It's a recurring class and the next few weeks are all booked up. But for now, Oct. 24, Nov. 6, 14, 18 and 28 are open.

Where: Purrfect Cafe and Gallery, 1507 Hertel Ave.

Cost: $20 a class.

For those with cats who enjoy yoga at home, you probably know all about cat yoga. But, if your apartment is a feline-less zone, and all you want is a furry companion snuggling up next to you while you're in downward dog, then book a spot in Purrfect's yoga class. Plus, animal yoga is having its moment.

Wondering what it's like at Purrfect Cafe? We checked it out when it first opened.

Smiles at the 2016 Witches Ball in Statler City. (Don Nieman/Special to The News)

Witches Ball 

When: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Oct. 27.

Where: Statler City, 107 Delaware Ave.

Cost: $40 general admission tickets; $120 for VIP tickets, which include VIP access to stages and an open bar from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Buffalo Rising's annual Halloween party graces Statler City yet again, featuring five stages of acts including Nerds Gone Wild, playing 1980s pop and new wave, XOXO Pop Band covering current top hits, and a Rick James tribute band. The 21-and-over event will have artists, drag queens and performers.

It's a masquerade ball, so come dressed up. You don't want to be the only one without a costume, standing next to any of the decked-out people pictured above.

The Rave The Must Not Be Named 3: Escape from Azkaban

When: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Oct. 27

Where: Dnipro Ukrainian Cultural Center, 562 Genesee St.

Cost: $28 per ticket

Put your books away and your dress robes on. The Harry Potter-themed rave features all sorts of music and performances, from typical rave stuff to fire performances to spoken word. It's broken down into different areas and is for people ages 18 and older.

The "Leaky Cauldron," has dubstep, jungle and bass house music. At the "Shrieking Shack," listen to psytrance and techno beats. The "Forbidden Forest," will be playing glitch hop, electronic rock and trip-hop.

"Diagon Alley" will have comedy, spoken word, acoustic, vendors, performance art and workshops. Lastly, the "Quidditch Pitch," will feature live fire performances, food trucks and a smoking area.

"Halloween" night at The Screening Room

When: 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 31

Where: The Screening Room Cinema Cafe, Boulevard Mall

Cost: $10 for two movies

It's the 40th anniversary of the original slasher film about a mask-wearing murderer Michael Myers. Before (or after) you head to a major movie theater to see the new film in the "Halloween," consider a ticket to The Screening Room for an intimate night of beer, wine and a dual horror film. The boxy theater is bound to be unlike theaters you normally frequent, in the best way.

Also playing is the original "Suspiria" (9 p.m.) a thriller about of a young ballet student who goes away to a training school where she narrowly escapes death. Stay for one film or both.

Dia De Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) Celebration in Medina

When: 3 to 8 p.m. Nov. 1

Where: Main Street and West Center Street in Medina

Cost: Free

Paint sugar skulls and devour authentic Mexican fare in the streets of the Hallmark-movie-like, quaint Village of Medina, surrounded by mariachi music. Restaurant owner Leonel Rosario, of Mariachi De Oro, shares his culture from his hometown of Oaxaca, Mexico, through hosting this event and bringing the community together.

Local small businesses highlight their unique talents by hosting activities, such as paper mask making and sugar skill painting, or a storybook hour by local bookstore The Book Shoppe. The Bread Basket will bake "pan de muerto" bread. Shirt Factory Cafe will create Mexican food and drink. Mariachi De Oro will cook traditional holiday food.

From 6 to 8 p.m., under the festival tent, see Rosario's handmade, vibrant ofrenda, an altar dedicated to deceased loved ones. Artist Antonio Cruz Zavaleta will use sand and colored pigments to create an intricate sand painting, a popular form of art in Oaxaca.

A vendor shows off her items at Christmas in the Country in 2017. (Dan Cappellazzo/Special to The News)

Christmas in the Country

When: Nov. 1 through Nov. 4.

Where: Hamburg Fairgrounds Casino

Cost: $10 at the door; free for ages 12 and younger; $8 pre-sale through Oct. 31 at select locations.

Conveniently timed in early November, this annual event features vendors selling all sorts of one-of-a-kind, handmade trinkets. Stroll the fairgrounds and window shop with a cup of hot chocolate or stride on a mission, grabbing your dad's, grandma's, best friend's and girlfriend's gifts all in one, fell swoop.

[Related: Smiles at Christmas in the Country at Hamburg Fairgrounds in 2017]

Orchid Show at Botanical Gardens

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 10 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 11

Where: Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave.

Cost: $11 adults, $10 seniors, $9 students, $6 for children ages 3 to 12, children 3 and younger plus garden members are free.

The Niagara Frontier Orchid Society is teaming up with the Botanical Gardens to have a show of all kinds of orchids, scattered throughout the gardens. Aside from the fetching flowers, sit in on educational programs on indoor gardening and taking care of orchids. Foster the romance further and buy your date and orchid, from vendors all over the gardens.

Tatts for Cats

When: noon to 8 p.m. Nov. 10

Where: Holy Ground Tattoo, 2897 Seneca St., West Seneca

Cost: Free admission. Tattoos are $50.

Tell your date you want to get matching cat tattoos. That will go over well.

Tattoo artists are volunteering time and feline-drawing skills to offer $50 pet and cat-themed tattoos on a first-come, first-served basis, benefiting Ten Lives Club. There's also a basket raffle, music and 50/50 ticket raffle.

Fall Makers + Shakers: Boozy Artisan Market

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 24

Where: Hotel @ The Lafayette, 391 Washington St. and the Admiral Room, 237 Main St.

Cost: $5 admission includes free alcohol tastings, raffle and shuttle service.

If your date rolls his or her eyes at the idea of spending all afternoon at an artisan market, clearly he or she has never been to one of Step Out Buffalo's Makers + Shakers markets. These aren't your grandma's crafts. More than 130 local vendors are selling "stuff that you actually want to buy."

Ranging from modern art to inexpensive prints for your apartment to clothing, you're probably going to end up spending more money than you anticipated. But, at least your gifts will be made local and unique, compared to a department store item made in a factory, purchased for thousands all over the country.

Not many artisan markets have a bloody Mary bar, cash bar, DJ, vendor giveaways and DIY crafts. A shuttle (included in admission) will take you to and from both venues.

[Photos: Smiles at the spring Makers + Shakers Artisan Market.)

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