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 weekencods 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 as early as October 14. 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, three 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 last 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 29 at 4 p.m. at Crab Orchard Campground off of Route 13. The ritual is open to the public. Participants should bring a dish for a potluck dinner, offerings for deceased loved ones (photos, urns, favorite items to help honor, represent, and remember ancestors), a carved pumpkin and candle, and tiki torches. For more information, visit <http://www.SIPagan.com>.
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.
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. There are also Introduction to Sewing classes scheduled for October. 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. Monday, October 31 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.
In addition, most local hair salons will do the doo in appropriately frightening fashion.
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: Monday, October 31, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Residents wishing to welcome trick-or-treaters should light their porch and exterior lights.
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 at <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> or (618) 457-3200 ext. 402 and fill out the application and waiver.
Trick-or-treaters are welcome at the Carbondale Public Library on Halloween during trick-or-treat hours.
In addition, the library will hold a Pop-in Pumpkin Party Saturday, October 22 at 1 p.m. Kids can decorate pumpkins and enjoy cider and treats. If they dare, they may follow the library’s pumpkin path and listen to SIU’s Sigma Tau Delta members read Halloween tales. Costumed attire is encouraged.
For more information, call (618) 457-0354 or visit <http://CarbondalePublicLibrary.org>.
The annual trunk-or-treat event moves inside Monday, October 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church. 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://CarbondaleGrace.org>.
The SIU Inter-Greek Council’s annual Safe Halloween will take place Monday, October 31 at 6 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 Monday, October 31 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 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, and Memory Lane 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>.
In Murphysboro, trick-or-treating takes place Monday, October 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Saint Andrew School in Murphysboro will celebrate Halloween Monday, October 31 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. The school will also give out hotdogs, chips, water, and hot chocolate. For more information, contact Amanda Duffy at <mailto:email@example.com> or call Saint Andrew at (618) 687-2013.
Trick-or-treating will take place Monday, October 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Cobden. 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 Catholic youth camp in Ozark, Illinois, will hold the annual half-marathon Moccasin Gap Trail Run, the Shawnee Hills fifty-kilometer run, and Heepwah Five-kilometer Run Saturday, October 15 at 8 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, a bonfire— 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 at <http://www.OndessonkTrailRaces.com> from the News and Events link at <http://ondessonk.com>.
Haunting Music, Movies, Theater, Parties, Festivals, and Games
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 15 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 Red Carpet Zombies, so start thinking about celebrities to portray.
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 route.
A zombie pub crawl or some sort of afterparty may 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 afterparties could 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.
For those who want to give children ages five to twelve a chance to decorate pumpkins without the danger of knives or the mess of pumpkin guts, Nest Arts will hold a no-carve pumpkin-decorating event Saturday, October 15 at 2 p.m. Admission is $20 and includes paint, glue, paper, stickers, and other craft materials. Kids can design their own Halloween masks Saturday, October 22 at 11 a.m. and make their own Halloween candy bags Saturday, October 29 at 11 a.m. To register, call the store at (618) 529-3297 during regular business hours or search for the event at <http://www.EventBrite.com>.
Nest will also collaborate with Bella Sofia Threads on the Little Punkin Day event Saturday, October 22. SIU alum and Carbondale native Tim Soluna will sell his blown-glass pumpkins from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Nest Arts. 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. In addition to the sale, patrons may enter a drawing for one of Soluna’s pumpkins. Nest Arts, however, sells one-of-a-kind items, so customers should buy up anything they like, because when items sell they cannot be restocked.
Bella Sofia, meanwhile will offer a storewide sale and hold a drawing for a pair of Plae All Weather Boots for Kids.
Both stores will provide fall treats and refreshments all day.
Not exactly horror but certainly exploring the supposedly supernatural, Eva Baker Watson’s play Golconda’s Mad Stone will look at the legendary local rock that saved people from the hyrda-phoby and snake venom. The Shawnee Hills Arts Council will stage the show Friday through Sunday, October 14 through October 16 at the Anna Arts Center and Saturday and Sunday, October 22 and 23 at the Golden Circle in Golconda. Tickets are $15.
For tickets and more information, contact Lee Hackney at (904) 625-1109 or email <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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 22 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 until noon or the pumpkins sell out.
The So Ill Roller Girls will hold the special coed Brawl-o-ween Scrimmageathon Saturday, October 22 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. Afterward, the top skaters will face off against the So Ill A-team, the Power. Then the Roller Girls’ brother team, the Brigade of Handsome Gentlemen, will duke it out against Detroit Men’s Roller Derby.
Registration is $35 for participants and all registered skaters will receive a black unisex event T-shirt and admission to the bout that evening. Adult spectators get into all of the days’ events for $20 while kids twelve and younger get in free.
Find out more at <http://www.SoIllRollerGirls.com>.
The Howl-o-ween Pet Costume Contest and Photo Spooktacular takes place Saturday, October 22 and Saturday, October 29 at 2 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.
The Trail of Treats in downtown Herrin has morphed into Pumpkins in the Park. The Halloween costume party, contest, and festival takes place Friday, October 28 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Herrin City Park with games and other activities for youth. A movie will screen at 7 p.m.
Another place for trick-or-treat fun is the Safe Halloween festival Saturday, October 29 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 free hayrides, play on inflatables, and enjoy carnival games. Parents should bring cameras 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.
For the adults, Murdale True Value will hold a no-tax Saturday on hardware and most major appliances.
Those who want to enter the Great Carbondale Pumpkin Race later that day at the Mill Street Underpass can purchase some supplies from Murdale True Value, and pick up plenty of pumpkins at the Neighborhood Coop or the Farmers’ Market next door at Westown Mall.
During Carbondale Main Street’s Downtown Candy Walk, starting Saturday, October 29 at noon, little costumed ghosties get to trawl the Strip for treats at participating businesses.
Then the Rotary Club of Carbondale-Breakfast, working with Main Street, the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, City of Carbondale, and other sponsors, will hold the annual Great Carbondale Pumpkin Race Saturday, October 29 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 the $500 grand prize. Don’t cheat— DeAnna Price, SIU’s star hammer-thrower who earlier this semester represented the United States in the Olympic Games in Brazil, will serve as the race’s honorary pumpkin smasher and wield the Mallet-o-Justice.
Carbondale Community Arts will hold a free costume contest at the race.
The Science Center of Southern Illinois will help racers design and construct their pumpkins Sunday, October 23 at noon.
Race proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale.
For more information, visit <http://www.CarbondalePumpkinRace.com>.
The Science Center of Southern Illinois’s Spooky Science Halloween shows take place Saturday, October 29 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., complete with experiments straight out of Frankenstein’s lab, using fire, dry ice, and liquid nitrogen. The programs are free for guests who wear costumes and their parents or guardians.
For details, see <http://YourScienceCenter.org> or call (618) 529-5431.
Local business GeekBetty Vintage is organizing the Halloween Soiree Sunday, October 23 at 2 p.m. at the Liberty Theater in Murphysboro. Admission is $14 in advance and $18 at the door, which includes a costume party and contest with prizes and spooky treats, plus a screening of the children’s Halloween comedy Hocus Pocus. A portion of the proceeds and a special collection will benefit the Good Samaritan House homeless shelter.
The annual Halloween concert featuring the Rend Lake College Concert Band and Concert Choir takes place Thursday, October 27 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. For more information, visit <http://www.rlc.edu>.
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 28 and 29 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, look for the fully costumed cast to head out to perform revues at area nightclubs. Right now they’re scheduled to take place Friday, October 14 at the Pin Oak in Carterville and Tuesday, October 22 at the Hangar 9.
It’s just a jump to the left...
Lips! Lips! Lips!
The SIU Student Programming Council’s annual Halloween screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show plays Friday, October 28 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. SPC usually sells prop bags for the virgins who forget to bring their own. Hot patootie!
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 Monday, October 31 at 5:30 p.m. The exhibit will feature more than seventy lighted pumpkins carved by SIU architecture students with the images of famous buildings. Costumes and trick-or-treaters are welcome.
The SIU Student Center will celebrate Halloween Monday, October 31 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.
Those who come to the Student Center in costumes can enjoy spooktacular food specials.
Student Center Bowling and Billiards will grant discounts to those in costumes.
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 prize.
For details, visit <http://www.SIUStudentCenter.org> and click on the relevant links.
The annual Haunted Hollow festival promises spooky good times Sunday, November 6 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 in the aftermath of Halloween weekend, participants may enjoy costume contests, nature hikes, games, and an environmental-education component about the creepy crawlers that inhabit the wilderness, including snakes, lizards, spiders, and insects. 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 to get their fill.
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 basic scenario 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 one scenario, the owners can present a completely different set of challenges within the same concept.
According to legend, serial killer Otis Hodge lived off of Reed Station Road in DeSoto. A deranged practitioner of the dark arts, Hodge attracted murderers, necromancers, circus clowns and freaks, and even a Nazi surgeon to his abode. Hodge was known to wear the amputated body parts of his victims and his power grew to where he could animate homicidal scarecrows
He was able to bribe local officials into looking the other way, but eventually the Feds followed a suspected killer to the property, where a massive shootout took Hodge’s life— and unveiled the hideous activities that had taken place there.
Abandoned for about fifty years, a group of paranormal investigators recently disappeared while exploring Hodge’s home, which has become known as Sinister House. Now the public can tour the home. It’s open Fridays and Saturdays
from 7 p.m. to midnight through October. And those who crave deeper scares can attend the blackout nights Friday and Saturday, November 4 and 5.
Get details, directions, and more information at <http://www.SinisterHouseHaunt.com>.
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.
The grounds host three haunts— Chittyville School, the Lair, and, for younger children, Spookytown.
Chittyville is open Fridays and Saturdays in October, plus Sunday and Monday, October 30 and 31. The Lair, an outdoor haunt, only runs when weather permits.
Those frightened by clowns might wish to face their fears during Clown Invasion Friday and Saturday, October 14 and 15.
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 28 through October 31, when especially brave patrons receive only glowsticks to light their way.
Chittyville also runs an escape-room program by appointment.
For directions, a detailed account of the haunting, and ticket information, visit <http://www.chittyville.com> or call (618) 942-6111.
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 14, with an extra night on Halloween. There demons and ghouls will chase participants through a maze.
Admission is $5, or $20 per group of five, and proceeds will benefit Anna Jonesboro Community High School’s theater boosters and the Anna Arts Center.
Find out more at <http://AnnaArtCenter.com>, or contact Norma Lee Hackney at <mailto:email@example.com> or (904) 625-1109.
Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours will send treetop hikers sailing on haunted nighttime ziplines through the dark forest Saturdays at 7 p.m. during October. 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.
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 to haunted locations in and near downtown Carbondale Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. in October, with a special tour on Halloween night. 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 and are wheelchair accessible, except for the old Train Depot. Participants should dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for those ages six to twelve if accompanied by paying adults, and free to those five and younger if accompanied by paying adult. Half the proceeds 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. Join the Pokemon Go craze every Thursday at 5 p.m. in October, starting at Castle Perilous.
The Halloween Comic Fest takes place all day Saturday, October 29— everyone who comes in gets a free comic, while those who come in costume get a second comic. Those who bring in five canned goods for donation to the Good Samaritan House will get an additional comic, and there’s an additional comic for each stamp earned on the store’s Castle Card. Matt Miller from Capybara Ink will do sketches during the afternoon, and the Southern Illinois Roller Girls and local cosplayer Elisabeth Dennis will stop by as well. The store will hold its annual Halloween drawing at 7 p.m.
Local company Bellwether Games will stop by Sunday, October 30 to hold a game-design workshop, and the Malifaux Miniatures Halloween Tournament will take place that day as well.
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 20 to October 22 at dusk in Riverside Park. Organizers keep adding new features to the haunt, which consists of a hayride through the creepy woods down by the Big Muddy River as well as walk through a claustrophobia-inducing darkened maze under the historic, haunted Works Progress Administration bandshell. This year, they’re adding $1,800 in animatronics and special effects, including projections. Perhaps the Big Muddy Monster will appear as well? And on Thursday and Friday nights, the Rhythm Effects dance crew will come out as zombies to dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Advance tickets will sell through October 19 at Kroger in Murphysboro, after which tickets are available at the gate (with $1 off for a donated canned good). Proceeds will buy gas cards to help cancer patients get to their treatments.
For more information or to volunteer, call Mary Kay Campbell at (618) 559-6989, or search for the Big Muddy Monster Haunted Hayrides on Facebook.
The Carterville Lions Club Haunted Hayride, a thirty-year tradition, operates Thursday through Saturday, October 20 through October 22, starting at James Street Park.
Unlike many hayrides, which are pulled by trucks, antique farm tractors pull the Lions Club’s haywagons. The frights themselves are provided by high school and college art and theater organizations in addition to Lions Club members.
After seeing the spooky scenes set up in Canon Park, the Hayride returns to James Street Park where the Boy and Girl Scouts sell food and beverages on alternating years.
For more information, visit <http://CartervilleLionsClub.webs.com> or call the Carterville Chamber of Commerce at (618) 985-6942.
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 a maze celebrating its thirty-year anniversary.
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>.
Unofficial Halloween takes place two nights in the Pinch Penny Pub Beer Garden (with a rain location inside the Copper Dragon Brewing Company). The Boy Band Review will pay tribute to 1990s heartthrobs N’sync, New Kids on the Block, and the Backstreet Boys Friday, October 14. It’s cowboy hats and boots when the party picks back up Saturday, October 15, when local country greats Murphy500 fire it up and a costume contest with cash prizes takes place.
For official Halloween, get out the hairspray and spandex when Hairbangers’ Ball pays tribute to the MTV pop-metal era Friday, October 28 at the Pinch Penny Pub Beer Garden (with a rain location inside the Copper Dragon Brewing Company). The official Red Bull Halloween party comes Saturday, October 29 with a DJ dance party and prizes for the best-costumed male and female.
The Hangar 9 has two Unofficial Halloween parties approaching. Americana band Old Shoe will play Friday, October 14. Immensely popular jam band Aaron Kamm and the One Drops bring it Saturday, October 15.
Friday, October 28, the Hangar 9 will feature the local debut of Saint Louis hip-hop emcee Nite Owl. The prolific Owl has released a ton of albums— at least ten— but for the Halloween show, he’ll play a tribute to 1980s and 1990s hip-hop (LL Cool J, Method Man, Digital Underground) and perform an entire set of music by Jay-Z with his seven-piece band, T.E.A.M. NiTRO, complete with a DJ, violin player, and two-piece horn section. He’s never been to Carbondale for Halloween, so he’s super-excited to see what it’s all about and ready to party. “Gonna be hella dope!” he tells Nightlife. Find out more at <http://NiteOwlHipHop.com>.
The official costume contest takes place Saturday, October 29 at the Hangar 9 with cash prizes for scariest, sexiest, most original, and best group costumes. Clusterpluck and local band Porch Fire will play Americana.
The Harvest Moon Ball will raise money for the Williamson-Franklin County Child Advocacy Center and Perry-Jackson Child Advocacy Center Friday, October 21 at Walker’s Bluff. These organizations help make sure that police, lawyers, and judges, among others, treat children survivors of abuse with sensitivity and find them safe, permanent homes. The ball kicks off at 6 p.m. Costumes are encouraged. Admission is $50 and includes a heavy appetizer and dessert buffet and live music. A silent auction will help raise additional funds. Reservations are required. For tickets, call the Franklin-Williamson Child Advocacy Center at (618) 942-3800 or the Perry-Jackson County Advocacy Center at (618) 357-2990.
Halloween 2016 at CornerStone Cabins, a weekend-long camping and music festival, takes place Thursday through Monday, October 27 through October 31 at CornerStone Cabins near Pomona. The four-day event will feature live music by the Jenny Johnson Band, Hans Predator (peforming a tribute to the terrific Halloween-themed psychobilly band the Cramps), Devin Miller and the Dead or Alives, Buzzzard, Pigeon, Tim Crosby and the Lightning Strikes, and Mystic Shrines. Costume and campsite-decoration contests will take place. The event is open to all ages. One-day passes are $10 and four-day passes are $30. For more information, visit <http://CornerstoneCabins.com> or look for the event on Facebook.
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 deep blues is on tap Friday, October 28 at PK’s? The Mudsills play that night— and if the spirit moves you, they want you to jump straight up and down.
Hugh DeNeal’s songs are often populated by Satan, demons, and other macabre characters. The Woodbox Gang frontman will perform with his fairly new Americana band, the People versus Hugh DeNeal, Saturday, October 29 at PK’s.
The annual Monster Bash Costume Party roars to unlife Friday, October 28 at 6 p.m. at Walker’s Bluff. Those in costume may compete for cash prizes while enjoying great music. Batcave tours usually will take place. Admission is free.
The Cellar’s costume party and contest on Saturday, October 29 will bring $100 cash to the best-dressed patron and a $50 gift certificate for second place.
The Newell House will hold a Halloween bash and costume contest Saturday, October 29 in the Grotto Lounge. The prize for best costume is a $100 Newell House/Grotto Lounge gift card, while the runnerup will receive a $50 Gift Card. Classic rockers the Venturis will perform music from the 1960s. Will they break out “Monster Mash” that evening? It was a graveyard smash...
A night of terror takes place Thursday, October 27 at Tres Hombres, when the costume contest will reward the best-dressed participants in categories including scariest, sexiest, most creative, and best group costume. The Ethan Stephenson Band will rock the place.
Then Montego and DJ Nasty Nate’s duo, the Thrill Sneakers, will spin future house bass music at Tres’s Halloween dance party Saturday, October 29.
For those possessed by Carbondale’s Halloween spirit but who can’t stay up till the witching hour to indulge it, Ivas John will headline an evening of blues and Americana Saturday, October 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Varsity Center. Gary and Roberta Gordon, who were big influences on Ivas’s outstanding 2015 album, Good Days a-Comin’, will join him, along with the Dust Covers, Marie Meunier, Robert Bowlin and Wil Maring, and the Free Range Chicks. Ivas is famous for his annual Christmas shows at the Varsity (which last year outgrew the venue for Shryock Auditorium) and he’s hoping to establish a new tradition at the intimate landmark downtown theater.
Tickets are $15 and on sale in advance at the Carbondale Park District’s LIFE Community Center at (618) 549-4222.
The coalition between DiamondBack and the Jungle Dogs, Diamond Dog, will play Saturday, October 29 at 9:30 p.m. at the Blue Boar Restaurant and Bar’s annual Hallow-ween Party. The first, second, and third place winners in the costume contest will earn cash prizes of $150, $75, and $50; look for Halloween-themed giveaways throughout the event.
Two days of Halloween fun come Saturday and Sunday, October 29 and 30 to Von Jakob Orchard. A costume party and contest with prizes for best single and couples costume takes place both days, while the winery’s restaurant will serve Halloween-themed cuisine. Angel Rhodes comes from Evansville, Indiana to perform Saturday, while local classic rocker Dave Caputo knocks out the hits on Sunday.
Blue Sky Vineyard and Winery will hold a Halloween Bash Sunday, October 30 at noon. Artists will display and sell their work, a tarot reader will channel advice from the spirits, and classic rock band the Natives will provide live entertainment. Forget riding on brooms— helicopter rides will take people soaring over the grounds. A costume contest takes place as well; for adults, first prize is a one-night stay in the Tuscan Suite, while second prize is a $50 Blue Sky gift certificate and third and fourth prize winners receive $15 Blue Sky Vineyard gift cards. All costumed children will win prizes. In addition, the winery will vint a special Witches’ Brew for the event.