Carbondale is legendary for Halloween celebrations, though the present-day revelry doesn’t come even
Carbondale is legendary for Halloween celebrations, though the present-day revelry doesn’t come even close to approximating the wild pagan excesses of yore, which per capita rivaled Mardi Gras in size and excitement.
In 1989, however, worried about the morality of it all and unwilling to take simple steps necessary to tame some of the festival’s more reckless behavior, SIU and the city tried to shut it down.
It didn’t exactly work. Since the Halloween clampdowns began in 1989, the city’s nightclubs and surrounding entertainment venues have held unofficial celebrations and parties the weekends before Halloween, and sometimes the weekends afterward. This year, several bars and other venues will get a jump on things and start holding Unofficial Halloween costume parties and contests October 16. Tons of Halloween activities will continue the following two weeks, though many places will take next weekend off for SIU homecoming festivities.
As for the holiday proper, two years ago, for the first time in years, the Carbondale City Council voted to allow nightclubs on the Strip to open for Halloween weekend. As frequently predicted in these pages, all went well, and the successful experiment continued in 2014. The council this year voted to make the changes permanent.
If everyone continues to have a good but safe time, Carbondale could well start to reestablish a wonderful tradition. Good behavior is absolutely essential to turn this ongoing experiment into an annual institution. Please be responsible, encourage friends and peers to do the same, and validate the political risks our elected officials took and the faith they placed.
Meanwhile, though Carbondale is ground zero for many Halloween activities, the spirit seizes the entire region, as this article proves.
So there’s always a lot going on in Southern Illinois in celebration of Halloween, some of it for children, some for adults, some fun, some spiritual, and plenty of it scary. If you dare, read on here— and online for more, and the coming weeks for continuing coverage— for a taste of the tricks and treats of the season.
The original trappings of the Halloween holiday that remain are largely stripped of their religious meanings.
Most pagans refer to Halloween as Samhain— pronounced Sow-en. It is the third harvest celebration on the pagan calendar, as well as the last day of the pagan year— a time when the veil between the living and dead is at its most thin. All Hallows Eve is a time to settle old debts, remember those who passed on, give thanks for good fortune, and have fun. It’s similar to the Day of the Dead, November 1, in Hispanic cultures.
Locally, the Southern Illinois Pagan Alliance will hold a traditional Samhain ritual Saturday, October 31 at 4 p.m. at Lake Murphysboro State Park. In the past, participants were asked to bring a dish for a potluck dinner, offerings for the dead (photos, urns, favorite items to help honor, represent, and remember ancestors), a carved pumpkin and candle, and tiki torches, plus donations for local animal shelters. For more information, visit <http://www.SIPagan.com>.
SIU students who want to make their own Halloween costumes can set up appointments with a Student Center Craft Shop expert at (618) 453-3636 to learn sewing basics. Individual rates are $12 for thirty minutes, but the price per person drops substantially for group lessons. Those who already sew can rent a machine for a nominal fee. For more information, visit <http://StudentCenter.siu.edu> and click on the link to the Craft Shop.
The Craft Shop can help anyone prepare for Halloween parties in other ways, too. Friday, October 30 from noon to 5:30 p.m., the Craft Shop will apply Henna tattoos and face paint and help with the making of masks and wax hands on a walk-in basis. Costs vary from $2 to $4.
Popup stores like Spirit, on East Main Street, not only carry a large assortment of costumes, but Halloween decorations, party favors, props, and animatronic frights.
Decidedly more graphic apparel is available at the Lion’s Den Adult Superstore, south of Marion.
Those who want to design something with more originality but remain on a budget should consider hitting Carbondale’s myriad used, vintage, and thrift stores: Tropicana Vintage Clothing, Jane’s Consignment, the Church Women United Thrift Shop, and Goodwill Industries.
In addition, most local hair salons will do the doo in appropriately frightening fashion. Hairbrains, for example, will provide professional face-painting and temporary hair-coloring Saturday, October 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For those looking for a more functional outfit— you know, for the real zombie apocalypse that we all know is coming— there’s Top Outfitters in Johnston City. The military-surplus store has a ton of great gear that would make for fine Halloween outfits, not to mention general outdoor equipment.
Mayor Mike Henry has proclaimed the official Trick-or-Treat hours for Carbondale children: Saturday, October 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Residents wishing to welcome trick-or-treaters should light their porch and exterior lights. Trick-or-treaters should wear reflective tape or clothing and parents should check all treats for potentially harmful objects.
Those who want to attract the little candy-starved demons, devils, and monsters for sugar fixes should turn on their porch and exterior lights. Kids, meanwhile, should not dress as the Invisible Pedestrian and should wear reflective clothing or tape so motorists can see them. Parents should inspect all treats for tampering. Those who encounter safety problems while trick-or-treating can look for the volunteer Pumpkin Patrol for help.
Speaking of which, the Carbondale Police Department always needs help keeping trick-or-treating safe in the city. Those who want to volunteer for the long-running Pumpkin Patrol safety program should contact Officer Randy Mathis and fill out the application and waiver by October 28 at <mailto:RMathis@ci.carbondale.il.us>.
Trick-or-treaters are welcome at the Carbondale Public Library, a stop on the Carbondale Main Street Candy Walk, on Halloween from noon to 2 p.m.
The SIU Inter-Greek Council’s annual Safe Halloween will take place Friday, October 30 at 5 p.m. in the SIU Student Center. This event provides a safe environment for children and their parents to trick-or-treat and play games (like Bozo buckets) at tables staffed by some of SIU’s Registered Student Organizations.
For more information, visit <http://fsl.siuc.edu>.
Take a walk along the Carterville Pumpkin Path Friday, October 30 at 4:30 p.m., starting at the First Baptist Church parking lot. Participants must bring a canned good to donate to the Carterville Food Pantry. A costume contest with awards in four age categories starts at 5 p.m., and a huge parade at 5:30 p.m. The Pumpkin Path, where participating businesses will offer trick-or-treat candy, runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and along the way the Carterville High School band, cheerleaders and pom-poms, Memory Lane, and Arabesque and Rhythm Effects will provide entertainment. Citywide trick-or-treating in Carterville runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information, contact the Carterville Chamber of Commerce at (618) 985-6942 or visit <http://www.CartervilleChamber.com>.
Saint Andrew School in Murphysboro will celebrate Halloween Friday, October 30 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the annual trunk-or-treat— sort of a Halloween trick-or-treat tailgate party. All children are welcome to visit the participating trunks for candy and fun at the school’s lower parking lot. For more information, please Amanda Duffy at <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> or call Saint Andrew at (618) 687-2013.
Another trunk-or-treat event will take place Saturday, October 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Grace United Methodist Church parking lot in Carbondale. People will decorate their vehicles, stuff their trunks with candy, park out in the lot, and feed the wee beasties as they come by. In addition to trunk-or-treating, Grace will offer treats and games for people of all ages. Those who want to donate candy or other items or volunteer at the event should call the church office at (618) 457-8785 to sign up. For more information, visit <http://www.gumc.net>.
The Bark and Boo Trunk ‘r Treat will take place Saturday, October 31 from noon to 5 p.m. at Black Diamond Harley-Davidson in Marion. Costumed youth can wander the parking lot from vehicle to vehicle in search of Halloween candy, enjoy some actual food, listen to live music, play games, and jump on inflatables. At 3 p.m. judging begins in the pet costume contest. Get the details at <http://www.BlackDiamondHD.com>.
The Trail of Treats will take place Friday, October 30 at 4 p.m. in downtown Herrin. Kids twelve and younger can pick up treasure maps to participating businesses at the Chamber of Commerce office, as well as bags they can fill for the next two hours. The route leads to the Herrin Civic Center. Food and games will take place there from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., with a contest at 6 p.m., at which the best-costumed participants can win prizes in four age groups. Those who would like to volunteer for the event or donate funds to keep it going may call John Homan at (618) 925-0563.
In Murphysboro, trick-or-treating takes place Saturday, October 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Trick-or-treating will take place Saturday, October 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Cobden for children twelve and younger. The Cobden High School Beta Club will give out treats at the Cobden Volunteer Fire Department. Make donations of candy or money for candy at Village Hall or Fire Department.
Run Like Hell
Camp Ondessonk, a youth camp in Ozark, Illinois, will hold the annual 13.1-mile Moccasin Gap Trail Run, the Shawnee Hills fifty-kilometer run, and Heepwah Five-kilometer Run Saturday, October 17 at 10 a.m. The event raises money for camp scholarships.
The course is rugged but beautiful, especially for the half-marathon, which takes competitors past Cedar Falls, the highest free-falling waterfall in the state and one of eleven known Native American stone fort sites in Southern Illinois.
Because of the race’s proximity to Halloween, runners often dress in costume. And afterward, the free Fall Festival gives everyone, including non-runners, a chance to explore Camp O. in more leisurely fashion and enjoy hayrides, pony rides, face-painting— and if they still have energy left after running Moccasin Gap, a climbing wall. To put on the pounds lost during the race, Camp O. will sell concessions.
Those who want to arrive early or stay late can rent one of Camp O.’s cabins.
Find out more from the News and Events link at <http://ondessonk.com>...
Haunting Music, Movies, Theater, Parties, Festivals, and Games
It’s murder at the Varsity Center for the Arts when the Jackson County Stage Company performs Agatha Christie’s mystery The Unexpected Guest. The show runs October 16 through October 18 and October 23 through October 25 under the direction of local theater legend Christian Moe. Audiences will have a chance to guess the identity of the killer, and those who correctly identify the guilty party will enter a raffle for a special prize.
For tickets and more information, call the box office at (618) 549-5466 on Mondays through Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and one hour before each performance. The Stage Company also accepts twenty-four-hour ticket reservations at (800) 838-3006 and online at <http://www.StageCompany.org>.
Scratch Microbrewery and Farm in Ava is showing classic horror films every Friday night in October. One of the most visually disturbing vampire movies ever made, F.W. Murnau’s silent but still-terrifying Nosferatu, screens Friday, October 16; bring a crucifix and a couple braids of garlic for this 1922 masterpiece. Dario Argento’s Italian horror movie Deep Red plays Friday, October 23. And those who want to see the birth (or unbirth?) of the modern zombie-apocalypse myth can catch George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead Friday, October 30.
Halloween comes early at John A. Logan College with a musical rendition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, adapted by Steve Cuden and Frank Wildhorn. The monster emerges from the man Friday through Sunday, October 16 through October 18 in O’Neill Auditorium. Pam Kimball will direct. Tickets are $15 for the public and $10 for students. For tickets, contact Logan’s Office of Student Activities at (618) 985-2828 ext. 8287 or visit <http://www.jalc.edu/activities>.
The most important meal of the day starts off with costumes at the Enchanted Princess breakfast Saturday, October 17 at Walker’s Bluff. Several fairytale princesses will dine with the patrons starting at 9 a.m. Call (618) 956-9900 to make reservations.
Later that day, the Harvest Moon Ball will raise money for the Williamson-Franklin County Child Advocacy Center and Perry-Jackson Child Advocacy Center. These organizations help make sure that police, lawyers, and judges, among others, treat children survivors of abuse survive with sensitivity and find them safe, permanent homes. The ball kicks off at 6 p.m. Costumes are encouraged; the servers will all dress up as classic Halloween movie characters. Admission is $50 and includes a heavy appetizer buffet, dessert buffet, and live music. A silent auction will help raise additional funds. For reservations, search for the event at <http://www.EventBrite.com> or visit the Walker’s Bluff General Store or Tasting Room or either Child Advocacy Center.
The transsexual Transylvanian parties, gorgeous gals, thrills and chills, and lotsa larfs and sex come to unlife with Skyline Creek Productions’ annual production of Richard O’Brien’s classic musical The Rocky Horror Show. This live-action version takes place Friday and Saturday, October 30 and 31 at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center. Shows run at 7 p.m. and, as Gawd intended, midnight.
For tickets, call the Marion Cultural and Civic Center box office at (618) 997-4030 or visit <http://www.MarionCCC.org>. Search for the event at <http://www.RockyShows.net> for more information.
In addition, a revue of the show will take place Thursday, October 22 at the Hangar 9.
It’s just a jump to the left...
The SIU Theater Department’s Subscription Series begins Thursday through Sunday, October 22 through October 25 in McLeod Theater with a kooky, mysterious and spooky, altogether ooky seasonal treat: Andrew Lippa, Marshall Brickman, and Rick Elice’s adaptation of The Addams Family.
Tickets are $18 for adults and $6 for students. A free preshow lecture takes place at 1:30 p.m. before the Sunday matinee.
For tickets, call (618) 453-6000 or visit ticket outlets at McLeod or the SIU Arena. To buy online, visit <http://www.SIUSalukis.com>, click on the Tickets popup, and then on the Tickets Home link. There are no service charges for in-person purchases, though phone and online purchases will carry charges in the $2 range.
Who ya gonna call? Ivan Reitman’s classic 1984 comedy Ghostbusters, starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Rick Moranis, will get the big-screen treatment Friday, October 23 at 7 p.m. at Walker’s Bluff. Music fans can stick around to hear classic rock by the Dave Caputo Band.
In the week leading up to Halloween, the SIU Student Programming Council will screen a series of new, classic, and schlocky scary movies in the Student Center Auditorium.
The recent release, Ciaran Foy’s Sinister II, runs Friday, October 22 through Saturday, October 24. Ruben Fleischer’s great spoof Zombieland, starring Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Jesse Eisenberg, takes place Monday, October 26, followed Tuesday, October 27 by Bernard Rose’s Candyman, based on Clive Barker’s story. Wednesday, October 28 brings Kenny Ortega’s Hocus Pocus; then the fairly recent The Gallows, by filmmakers Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff, takes place Thursday, October 29.
Lips! Lips! Lips!
SPC’s annual Halloween screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show plays Friday and Saturday, October 30 and 31 in the Student Center Ballrooms— at midnight and on the big screen as Gawd intended. Students pay $2 with valid identification, and the public gets in for $3, and those who wish to see multiple showings can get bulk discounts. SPC also sells prop bags for $3 for the virgins who forget to bring their own. Hot patootie!
Saint Francis Community Animal Rescue and Education will host the Howl-o-ween Pet Costume Contest and Photo Spooktacular Saturday, October 24 at 1 p.m. at the Carbondale PetCo. The event offers prizes for costumed pets in various categories, and people may dress up with their pets for framed digital photos.
For more information, call (618) 529-5249.
SIU English professor Tony Williams is Night of the Living Dead director George Romero’s biographer, making all this region’s zombie-related activities either eerily appropriate or an incredibly creepy coincidence. Either way, a zombie horde will begin to assemble Saturday, October 24 at noon at the Gaia House Interfaith Center, where makeup artists will help living participants transform into living-dead brain-eaters. The Zombie Walk itself begins at 4 p.m. This year’s theme is Circus of the Dead.
Registration is $10, for which participants will get a free zombie makeover, zombie swag, a chance to win prizes, and all the human flesh they can consume along the way.
Look for a zombie pub crawl or some sort of afterparty to follow the walk.
A portion of the entry fee will benefit WDBX.
While the Zombie Walk is open to all ages, some of the zombies may overly frighten young children, and the afterparty may have bar entry-age restrictions.
To register for the Zombie Walk, visit <http://CarbondaleZombieWalk.weebly.com> or stop in at the Carbondale Zombie Walk Facebook page.
SIU alum and Carbondale native Tim Soluna will sell his blown-glass pumpkins Saturday, October 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Dayshift Boutique. Soluna’s work comes in all colors— some of the pumpkins are more traditional in form and design, while others have beautiful, kaleidoscopic red, purple, or white swirls rolling through them. Search for photos of his work on Facebook. Dayshift only sells one-of-a-kind items, so customers should buy up anything they like, because when items sell they cannot be restocked.
Every year art students in the SIU glass program, Southern Glass Works, make gourds for the Great Glass Pumpkin Patch sale, which this year takes place Saturday, October 24 at 9 a.m. in the Carbondale Town Square.
The incredibly beautiful pumpkins range in price from $10 to $100 or more. Students spend months growing them. With a little care, they can easily outlast the farmed variety.
The sale is the glass program’s major fundraiser. Proceeds benefit SIU’s glass program. The sale runs while supplies last.
The So Ill Roller Girls will hold the special coed Brawl-o-ween Scrimmageathon Saturday, October 24 at the Pavilion of the City of Marion. Sixty lucky skaters will get the chance to line up against the Roller Girls, each getting to participate in three of the six forty-five-minute scrimmages that will take place throughout the day. Then the top fourteen skaters get to duke it out in a public mixer against the Southern Illinois Roller Girls’ A-team, the Power, that evening. Afterward, the Roller Girls’ brother team, the Brigade of Handsome Gentlemen, will make their debut against the Kentucky Dark Horses.
Registration is $30 and all registered skaters will receive a black unisex event T-shirt and admission to the bout that evening. Spectators get into all of the days’ events for $15. The main event is $8 in advance and $10 at the door with kids twelve and younger getting in free.
Find out more at <http://www.SoIllRollerGirls.com>.
Every spring, SIU art and design students host anti-Valentine’s Day works in the Love at the Glove exhibit. It might be hard to distinguish that show from the new tradition that the United Art Collective launches this fall, Blood at the Glove, which will feature Halloween art. The show runs October 26 through October 30 in the Glove Factory Surplus Gallery on Washington and College Streets. The closing reception takes place Saturday, October 31 at 7 p.m...
The Buckminster Fuller Geodesic Dome Home on the corner of South Forest Avenue and West Cherry Street will host a unique jack-o-lantern display Wednesday, October 28 at 6:30 p.m. The exhibit will feature more than seventy lighted pumpkins carved by SIU architecture students with the images of famous buildings. Costumes are welcome.
Some churches turn into awful buzzkills around Halloween, opening so-called hell houses depicting what will happen to sinners in the afterlife. Colin Whitworth’s Hell House takes a look at the effects of such facilities, as well as religion in general, on apostles and apostates alike. The show runs Thursday through Saturday, October 29 through October 31 at 8 p.m., right in time for All Hallow’s Eve, in the Marion Kleinau Theater on the second floor of the SIU Communications Building. For tickets and other information, call the Kleinau box office at (618) 453-5618 or visit <http://cola.siu.edu/CommunicationStudies> and follow the link to the Kleinau.
The annual Halloween concert featuring the Rend Lake College Concert Band and Concert Choir takes place Thursday, October 29 in the Rend Lake College Student Center. Musical selections have generally come from Corpse Bride, Phantom of the Opera, and the Harry Potter films, plus tunes like “Thriller.” A costume party and contest will follow the concert.
The SIU Student Center will celebrate Halloween Friday, October 30 with a series of events.
A costume contest for SIU faculty, staff, and students takes place with a chance to win prizes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. by the first floor north escalators.
Those who come to the Student Center in costumes can enjoy spooktacular food specials.
Cosmic bowling will take place from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. in Student Center Bowling and Billiards.
Meanwhile, the person who wins the Great Pumpkin Contest by correctly guessing the weight of the giant squash in the Bowling and Billiards display case will win a $50 University Bookstore gift card.
The Student Center Bowling Alley will then hold the Night of the Zombie Apocalypse Saturday, October 31 at 8 p.m. The $5 admission fee includes a live music by Danger Scene, unlimited (zombie) bowling, shoe rentals, billiards, face-painting, and ghost tours of the Student Center. Pizza will be served at 11 p.m.
For details, visit <http://www.SIUStudentCenter.org> and click on the relevant links.
The Police and Community Together Halloween festival will take place Friday, October 30 at 2 p.m. at Attucks Park. Children can enjoy games, a hayride, and treats. The Carbondale Park District, police and fire departments, and the Spirit Halloween store will cosponsor activities.
The Spooktacular Costume Party elevates costuming to an art Friday, October 30 at 4 p.m. at the University Museum, in the north wing of Faner Hall. The museum invites the public to come dressed as their favorite works of art.
The museum will also open the Scary Gallery exhibit. “It will feature some of our stranger pieces, the kinds of things museums accumulate, especially one which is 140-plus years old,” museum director Dona Bachman tells Nightlife. For example? SIU alumnus Frederick J. Brown’s painting of a clown, C.C. Rider; Thomas Seward’s creepy Winter Evening at Devil’s Kitchen; or Gregory Pelizzari’s Manifestation of a Young Ghost by Count Volnikoff. Strange and sinister tools and items from the science collection will be on display as well.
“There may also be a wall of upper-administration types reimagined into famous works of art,” Bachman says. Look for University-system president Randy Dunn and campus provost Susan Ford as the American Gothic brother and sister.
Those who attend can also look forward to some ghoulish food and Halloween activities. Admission is free but the museum is asking for a $10 donation.
Another place for trick-or-treat fun is the Safe Halloween festival Saturday, October 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Murdale Shopping Center, where participating merchants will offer high-quality candy to costumed children ages twelve and younger when accompanied by adults. Kids can also take hayrides, play on the new inflatable Boot Camp obstacle course, and enjoy carnival games. Parents should bring a camera for special photo opportunities.
The Carbondale Police Department and Crimestoppers will bring McGruff the Crime Dog to the event to discuss safety. Children will also have the chance to meet with police officers and get to know the people who protect them.
The Carbondale Fire Department will bring out firetrucks and the fire safehouse to provide fire-safety education.
Carbondale Crime Stoppers and the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale will sell concessions.
Those who want to enter the Great Carbondale Pumpkin Race later that day at the Mill Street Underpass can purchase supplies from Murdale True Value, pick up plenty of pumpkins at the Neighborhood Coop or the Farmers’ Market next door at Westown Mall, and get design help from 9 a.m. to noon.
During Carbondale Main Street’s Candy Walk, starting Saturday, October 31 at noon, little costumed ghosties get to trawl the Strip for treats.
Then the Rotary Club of Carbondale-Breakfast, working with Main Street, the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, and Carbondale Tourism, will hold the annual Great Carbondale Pumpkin Race Saturday, October 31 at 1 p.m. at the Mill Street underpass. Competitors will run axels through decorated pumpkins, attach at least four wheels, and race them, pinewood-derby-style, down the hill. No caster wheels or prefabricated chassis are allowed— the pumpkins have to support the axels, not the other way around. The event is open to all ages and competitors will vie for prizes. Carbondale Tourism staff will help racers design and construct their pumpkins Tuesday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. during the week of the race.
A costume contest— the perfect way to end the Candy Walk— and pie-eating contest will also take place.
For more information, search for the event on Facebook.
Later that evening, and the next day besides, youth can come to the old Shirley Temple theater in the Varsity Center for the Arts to see a not-too-scary family Halloween film from 1993, Hocus Pocus, starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, Sarah Jessica Parker, and a very young Thora Birch. Showtimes are Saturday, October 31 at 9 p.m. and Sunday, November 1 at 1 p.m.
The Science Center’s Spooky Science Halloween show takes place Saturday, October 31 at 6 p.m., complete with spooky science experiments using with fire, dry ice, and liquid nitrogen. The program is free for guests who wear costumes and their parents or guardians.
For details, see <http://YourScienceCenter.org> or call (618) 529-5431.
The University Mall will hold building-wide Mall-o-ween festivities on Halloween, too, including costume contests at 4 p.m., a performance by Mister Twist the Balloon Man at 4:30 p.m., and trick-or-treating at participating stores from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Note: Those older than age twelve may not wear masks to the mall.
The annual Haunted Hollow festival promises spooky good times Sunday, November 1 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at SIU’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center, seven miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road.
Those who come can thrill to the natural beauty— and creepiness— of the area by taking interpretive nature hikes and games, and this being Halloween weekend, participants may enjoy haunted hayrides, a costume parade, pumpkin decorating, and an environmental-education component about snakes, lizards, and other creepy crawlers. Younger children may enjoy Harry Potter-themed activities and games. And who knows what dwells beneath the waters of Little Grassy Lake— perhaps the Loch Ness Monster or the Creature from the Black Lagoon?
Because activities will take place at different times throughout the afternoon, those who come should plan to attend the entire event.
For more information or to make reservations, call (618) 453-1121 or visit <http://www.ton.siu.edu>.
Haunted Houses, Trails, Mazes, and Tours
You and your friends are trapped in a room with a zombie. And he’s hungry. He’s chained to a wall, but the restraints are slowly failing. You can get out before he breaks free, but first you need to find the key. Discovering where and how it’s hidden will require teamwork, focus, and the ability to move just a little faster than the zombie. A dungeon master of sorts provides vague hints and encouragement but generally allows you to make your own mistakes and earn credit for your successes.
That’s the current situation in which groups can find themselves at Carbondale Escape Rooms, a terrifying, thrilling team-building exercise.
Those who wish to participate in Carbondale Escape Rooms adventures need to make advance reservations at <http://www.CarbondaleEscapes.com>. For those who have already gone through this scenario, the owners can present a completely different set of challenges within the same concept.
Scott Thorne, owner of Castle Perilous Games and Books, has collected local legends and ghost stories for years, many of which he details on his Carbondale Gazette blog. He will conduct walking tours of haunted locations in and near downtown Carbondale October Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through October 30. Past tours have offered information about the Carbondale Anomaly Corridor, the Illinois Central Railroad Death Vortex, and hauntings at Hundley House, the B.P.L. Plasma building, Oakland and Woodlawn Cemeteries, Shryock Auditorium, and the recently demolished Sunset Haven. Tours run about ninety minutes.
Participants should dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Half of each $10 tour fee will benefit the Humane Society of Southern Illinois.
For details and tour reservations, call the Castle at (618) 529-5317 or visit <http://www.CastlePerilous.com>.
Castle Perilous itself is often a center of Halloween activity, and this year is no different. Friday, October 23 at 12:30 p.m., Bellwether Games will demonstrate and playtest their game Antidote. On two consecutive Sundays, October 18 and 25 at 4 p.m., customers may play Twilight Creations’ Zombies! boardgame. On three consecutive Fridays, October 16, 23, and 30 at 4 p.m., Fireside Games’ Dead Panic boardgame is featured.
Finally, the annual Castle Perilous Halloween Comicfest takes place Saturday, October 31. Every customer gets a free comic book, two if they come in costume, one more for each two back issues they buy or for each five cans of food they bring in for donation to the Carbondale Food Pantry. The Humane Society of Southern Illinois will bring adoptable pets, and customers may meet members of the So Ill Roller Girls and Southern Illinois Steampunk Society. Matt Millar from Capybara Ink will draw sketches. A Halloween prize drawing takes place at 8:30 p.m., and contestants must be present to win.
Chittyville, located on the north end of Herrin, has scared the Chitt out of patrons since 2005.
According to legend, the school, north of downtown Herrin, is built on an old graveyard. Ghosts began to appear to the students and faculty, and a custodian once disappeared into the basement... never to return.
“We have a total of three haunts in one location, one of them being geared towards kids, and we have the School, which is the inside haunt, and the Lair, which is mostly outside,” Mike King told Nightlife. “The Lair has actually expanded this year to be bigger than ever before. We’re starting on October 2 and going to be open weekends in October, but if [readers] need any more information, we always want to direct them to our website. We’re looking forward to seeing everybody, and scaring the you-know-what out of everyone. That’s a fun time.”
Usually, there’s enough light to see the intricately costumed actors and carefully constructed sets, but this doesn’t apply to the total-blackout nights, which run October 30 and 31, when patrons receive only glowsticks to light their way.
For directions, a detailed account of the haunting, and ticket information, visit <http://www.chittyville.com> or call (618) 942-6111.
Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours will send treetop hikers sailing on haunted nighttime ziplines through the dark forest. Costumes can interfere with safety equipment, so leave them at home. The company will furnish lights, harnesses, and everything else needed for safe but exhilarating zips. Participants must weigh between seventy and 270 pounds. Admission is $95 per person. Make reservations and get more information at <http://www.ShawneeZip.com> or (855) 386-9477.
The Carterville Lions Club Haunted Hayride, a thirty-year tradition, operates Thursday through Saturday, October 29 through October 31.
“It’s just strictly at night time in the dark,” organizer Ed Smith told Nightlife. “They go from James Street Park in Carterville, which is right where the intermediate school is. They ride in tractor-pulled wagons that have hay in them to Canon Park, where scenes are set up by not just Lions Club members, but a bunch of groups of people. Some have come from SIU in the past or come from Rend Lake College, they are like theatrical groups, and the good part about that is they get extra credit if they come out and do this work.”
After seeing the spooky scenes set up in Canon Park, the Hayride returns to James Street Park.
For more information, visit <http://CartervilleLionsClub.webs.com> or call the Carterville Chamber of Commerce at (618) 985-6942.
October ushers in a month of terror at the Anna Arts Center, concluding with the annual Haunted House of Horrors, which runs every Friday and Saturday this month starting October 16. There demons and ghouls will chase participants through a maze.
Admission is $5, or $20 per group of five, and proceeds will benefit maintenance and renovations of the Anna Arts Center buildings as well as the Anna-Jonesboro Community High School theater boosters.
Find out more at <http://AnnaArtCenter.com>, or contact Norma Lee Hackney at <mailto:email@example.com> or (904) 625-1109.
Find out more at <http://AnnaArtCenter.com>.
Ray Elam’s Slaughterhouse Productions operates the Cellblock Haunted House in Herrin. Unlike so many movie monsters, however, this one won’t rise from the dead next year because Elam will be in Bakersfield, California, building a scream park.
Meanwhile, Elam has designed two terrifying haunts in Herrin for 2015. There’s the Cellblock, which Elam calls “a little more intense than your basic haunted house.” Then, on Halloween weekend, the Cellblock will hold Blood Night. Those who already went through the Cellblock will experience a completely redesigned and far more extreme haunt. Patrons probably shouldn’t wear white clothing.
A more family friendly haunt, Zombie Apocalypse: Warehouse 51, will give younger and more sensitive patrons a chance to go on a zombie paintball safari.
The Big Muddy Monster Hayrides, named after the seven-foot, 350-pound creature that terrified Murphysboro in 1973 before suddenly disappearing, run Thursday through Saturday, October 22 to October 24 at dusk. Organizers have added a ton of new features to the haunt, which consists of a hayride through the woods down by the Big Muddy River as well as walk through a haunted bandshell. Perhaps the Big Muddy Monster will appear as well? And on Friday night, zombies will come out to dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
For more information, call Mary Kay Campbell at (618) 559-6989, or search for the Big Muddy Monster Haunted Hayrides on Facebook.
Every year, Bandy’s Pumpkin Patch, a half mile west of Johnston City on Pumpkin Patch Road just off Herrin/Colp Road, cuts mazes through a cornfield in local thematic shapes— an Egyptian pharaoh, John A. Logan, the Southern Illinois Miners’ baseball-team logo, or the Girl Scouts.
This year’s maze commemorates... Bandy’s Pumpkin Patch itself, with the maze tracing the image of a pumpkin, ghost, and a spider in her web.
The maze’s path winds through about three miles of corn, and takes at least an hour to walk.
In addition, Bandy’s offers a play barn for younger children. Group tours of the pumpkin patch and hayrides through the farm are available by appointment. For rates, hours of operation, and more, call (618) 983-8676 or visit <http://www.BandysPumpkinPatch.com>.
Cape Girardeau is a center of Halloween activity, as always.
Haunted tours will take place in Cape Girardeau this year courtesy of the Southeast Missouri State University department of continuing education. Christy Mershon and Tom Neumeyer will lead haunted downtown walking tours every Thursday in October as well as Friday, October 30, with departures getting underway at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. The same pair will lead a second tour focusing on the city’s Broadway corridor October 21, 23, and 24 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. The fee is $20, or $30 per couple. To register, visit <http://www.semo.edu/ContinuingEd>.
Boo at the Zoo takes place Saturday, October 25 at 10 a.m. at the Lazy L. Safari Park. Children can fill their trick-or-treat bags as they enjoy a chance to see exotic animals (giant tarantulas, anyone?) and enjoy crafts, win prizes, and go through a pumpkin patch, kiddie corral, and parakeet jungle. Get details at <http://www.LazyLSafari.com>.
The Haunted Hall of Horror, sponsored by the Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department, runs Fridays and Saturdays starting October 16 at the A.C. Brase Arena. For more information, visit <http://www.CityOfCapeGirardeau.org> and click on the Parks and Rec page.
The Market House Theatre in Paducah will offer haunted tours of Oak Grove Cemetery on three consecutive Saturdays starting October 10. Four one-hour tours depart each night starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children twelve and younger. The Market House will also perform a thriller, N.J. Crisp’s Dangerous Obsession, Thursday through Sunday, October 15 to October 18 and Thursday through Sunday, October 22 to October 25. For tickets and more, visit <http://www.MarketHouseTheatre.org>.
Talon Falls near Paducah, Kentucky, has a series of big, related haunted houses (Dead End Haunted House, Sinister Circus, The Harvest, and Blood Creek Hayride: Twisted Tales) staffed by more than one-hundred actors operating Friday through Sunday nights through October 31, plus a few extra days.
A ScreamFest Combo ticket allows admission to all events for one price. For admission, directions, and more information, call the Screamfest hotline at (270) 674-5690 or visit <http://www.TalonFalls.com>.
In addition, Talon Falls offers an escape room and, for younger and more sensitive patrons, an adventure park with hayrides and mazes.
Unofficial Halloween takes place two nights in the Pinch Penny Pub Beer Garden (with a rain location inside the Copper Dragon Brewing Company). It’s a 1980s theme with tights and hairspray Friday, October 16, when Hairbangers’ Ball pays tribute to the MTV pop-metal era. Look for Hello Weekend to bring their huge white rabbit, Bob, back for a night of party anthems Saturday, October 17, where the grand prize in the costume competition is a $250 gift card.
It’s cowboy hats and boots when the party picks back up Friday, October 30 in the Pinch Penny Pub Beer Garden (with a rain location inside the Copper Dragon Brewing Company), as the fast-rising country-western six-piece Broseph E. Lee brings their new EP, Fill ‘Em on Up, to their Carbondale debut. Hot Sauce Committee, used to playing big local shows due to their stints at Pinch’s immensely popular Polar Bear Party, will return Saturday, October 31 for a Halloween party and costume contest where the best costumed patron will earn a $500 cash prize.
The Hangar 9 has two Unofficial Halloween parties approaching. Old Shoe and Porch Fire will perform Americana Friday, October 16, followed by the explosive jams of Aaron Kamm and the One Drops Saturday, October 17.
Halloween weekend at the Hangar 9 will feature more Americana during the Hell-o-ween Hoedown with live music by Mountain Sprout and Hobo Knife. The annual Night of the Living Spread Halloween party returns Saturday, October 31, when Carbondale alumni Spread, now based in Chicago, return to jam.
“We’ve had quite a big year,” the band’s Colin Finn tells Nightlife. “Three appearances at the House of Blues Chicago, house band for the Phish VIP Lounge at Alpine Valley in August, played our sixth straight Summer Camp Music Fest, and just headlined the Shiner Fall Fest at Hangar.... We’ll be bringing some special guests down for this show. It should be quite the musical experience.”
A costume contest will also take place on Halloween night.
Costumes are welcome Friday, October 16, but the Wicked Unofficial Halloween costume party takes place Saturday, October 17 at Sidetracks with a contest that will award prizes to the first- and second-place winners.
An official Halloween costume party takes place Saturday, October 31 at Sidetracks with live performances by members of SIU Registered Student Organization Musicians United. Costumes are also welcome Friday, October 30.
A night of terror takes place Thursday, October 29 at Tres Hombres, when the costume contest will reward the best-dressed participants in categories including best-dressed and most original. Contestants will vie for cash and other prizes. The Matchsellers, an incredible rustic bluegrass duo from Kansas City, will provide music.
Where it started, nobody knows, although Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin are probably as good a guess as any, but the devil seems to love his heavy metal.
Actually, it’s the other way around— heavy metal loves Mephistopheles, though the affection may not be reciprocated. The late huckster who founded the Church of Satan, Anton LaVey, once told Rolling Stone that the devil his bad self prefers old-time circus tunes and pop music, preferably on the calliope and organ, both instruments of which LaVey himself was not incidentally once a master. Perhaps the Great Scam Artist’s assessment came from recognizing a good marketing ruse when he saw one— the supposed satanic connections to most metal acts constitute little more than the same free-publicity-generating shock value LaVey often employed all the way to the bank.
Getting back on track, if Halloween is Satan’s holiday— a belief that most pagans would with good reason dispute— then LaVey be damned (as it were). What better way to celebrate than by having a headbanging good time?
One of the last local, truly heavy metal bands playing original music, Annihilate the Hero, will bash it out Friday, October 30 at PK’s.
StarView Vineyards’ annual HalloWine festival Friday, October 30 at 6 p.m. will feature music by Zola Road as well as a nacho and chili bar, plus a costume party and contest in which prizes will go to the best individual, couple, and group costumes.
Cristaudo’s and 6Pence are hosting a Victorian Halloween fete Saturday, October 31 at 5 p.m., after the Great Carbondale Pumpkin Race and before the Glove Factory’s Blood at the Glove art-exhibit reception. Two different musicians and a spooktacular singer will perform: Tom Bones, Black Scorpion, and Queen of the Dead. Theatrical readings and performances will also take place. Patrons may enjoy appetizers, desserts, and nonalcoholic beverages along with palm-reading, bearded ladies, Spidora the Spider Lady and other characters, and free (temporary) tattoos and masks. Patrons, of course, should come in costumes. Proceeds from the suggested $20 donation will go to Carbondale Community Arts. Make reservations at (618) 529-4303.
A Halloween bash and costume contest will take place Saturday, October 31 at the Newell House Grotto Lounge. First place will earn a $150 Newell House/Grotto Lounge gift card, second place earns a $75 Newell House/Grotto Lounge gift card, and third nets a set of Grotto Lounge pint glasses. A purchase is required for entry in the contest. Cashmere Cobra will provide live entertainment with an opening act to be announced.
Blue Sky Vineyard and Winery will hold a Halloween Bash Saturday, October 31 at 2 p.m. Artists will display and sell their work, a tarot reader will channel advice from the spirits, and Americana band the Storm Crows will provide live entertainment. A costume contest takes place as well; first prize is a one-night stay in the Tuscan Suite, while second prize is a $50 Blue Sky gift certificate. All costumed children will win prizes, with one grand prize going to the best costumed kid. In addition, the winery will vint a special Witches’ Brew for the event.
The Cellar’s costume party and contest on Saturday, October 31 will bring $100 cash to the best-dressed patron and $50 gift certificates for the funniest and sexiest costumes.
Owl Creek Vineyard and Apple Knocker Hard Ciders will hold the annual Punkie Night Bash Saturday, October 31 at 1 p.m. Owl Creek will have a special pumpkin cider on sale throughout the event— hence its name— while local Americana/jazz group Gentle Ben and Saint Louis reggae jam band the Driftaways perform. Six local breweries will be on hand. Admission is $15 and includes a keepsake mug and five tasting tickets, with additional tasting tickets selling for $2 each. Advance tickets are on sale at <http://www.BrownPaperTickets.com>. All patrons must be twenty-one or older.
Tease that hair up big and break out the parachute pants. The Totally 1980s Halloween Bash takes place Saturday, October 31 at Von Jakob Orchard. Doors open at 10 a.m. and the event goes until close. Metal Toyz will play Reagan-era MTV hits (yes, Virginia, that station really did once play music videos) from about 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is $8, or $6 for those in costume.
The annual Monster Bash Costume Party roars to unlife Saturday, October 31 at 8 p.m. at Walker’s Bluff. Batcave tours will take place, and those in costume may compete for cash prizes that can reach the $100 range. Admission is free.
Steve Hornbeak and the Mainstreet Players will play Saturday, October 31 at the Blue Boar Restaurant and Bar’s annual Hallow-ween Party. A costume contest will take place with prizes.
Fiddle Rick and the Bourbon Boys will perform Saturday, October 31 at the Brews Brothers Taproom Halloween party. A costume contest will take place at 10 p.m., with prizes for the best men’s and women’s costumes.
The Halloween party at the Saint Nicholas Brewery in Du Quoin takes place Saturday, October 31. Patrons will compete for Saint Nick gift certificates, merchandise, and growlers in the best overall costume, best couples costume, scariest costume, funniest costume, and best group costume categories.
The Rustle Hill costume party and contest comes to unlife Saturday, October 31. The Natives will play classic rock.
Bluesmen are famous for selling their souls to the devil for great musical prowess— Robert Johnson being the best-known but hardly only example— so how apropos that blues is on tap at the Orlandini Vineyard Halloween party? The Ivas John Band, whose leader’s solo album, Good Days a-Comin’, might just prove the best local CD of 2015, will play at 3 p.m. In addition, the event will benefit Pets Are Worth Saving. A contest will take place with prizes for the scariest and funniest costumes. A blind Halloween candy-tasting contest will also take place. The audience will pay a cover charge, to participate in the candy-tasting contest, and to vote in the costume contest, with those proceeds going to PAWS’s no-kill animal shelter. Leashed, well-behaved animals are welcome, especially if they’re in costumes, and their people are encouraged to dress in costumes as well.