If paint-covered zombies seem too scary or haunted houses too cheesy, then you need a different plan for Oct. 31 this year.
It’s not just tricks and treats any more – there are as many ways to do Halloween in the South Sound as there are personality types. We’ve narrowed it down to five: the arts snob, the sensitive parent, the goth, the zombie hunter and the pet lover.
Which are you? Read on for recommendations from our features staff and start planning:
THE ARTS SNOB
You enjoy a good thrill, but you also want good taste. You want your haunted house to be Art Deco, your murderer with professional acting skills, and your zombies with their toes pointed. You are a Halloween arts snob – admit it. Luckily for you, there’s plenty of South Sound fun that’s scary AND artsy.
Tacoma City Ballet’s popular “Haunted Theatre: Backstage Tour And Eerie Dances” is where you’ll find those zombies with perfect turnout. Ghostly dancers show adults and kids around the TCB’s historic Merlino Building, transformed into spooky spaces, with Halloween-inspired dances following. One-hour, kid-friendly, costumes encouraged. 7 tonight, 3 and 5 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. $5. 508 Sixth Ave., Tacoma. 253-272-4219, tacomacityballet.com.
Tacoma Little Theatre steps up the suspense with Lucille Fletcher’s “Night Watch.” A woman who believes she sees a dead man in a window; a psychiatrist who wants to commit her; a husband who isn’t sure what’s going on – and a chilling ending. 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 11. $12.50-$24.50 (tonight is pay what you can). 210 N. I St., Tacoma. 253-272-2281, tacomalittletheatre.com.
Centerstage pulls out all the scary stops in “The Turn Of The Screw,” a 100-year-old story where you’re never sure whether ghosts are hallucinations or real. 8 tonight and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Halloween party/costume contest with show. $28/$24/
$10. Centerstage Theatre, 3200 Dash Point Road, Federal Way. 253-661-1444, centerstagetheatre.com.
Lakewood Playhouse’s “Halloween Radio Show” is a fundraising gala that features Frankenstein and music by The Sinister Sisters. 8 p.m. Saturday. $25 or $40 per couple. Lakewood Playhouse, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., Lakewood. 253-588-0042, lakewood
It’s Day Of The Dead (Dia de los Muertos) all this week and next at Tacoma Art Museum, where visitors can admire the skeletons in the enormous floor sand painting, visit community ofrendas (altars commemorating passed loved ones) and explore their own arts and crafts for the Mexican All Souls’ holiday. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays. $10/$8/free for 5 and younger. Free all day Nov. 4 for the Dia de los Muertos Community Festival. 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma. 253-272-4258, tacomaartmuseum.org.
The Washington State History Museum turns into “Creepshow: Terror In Tacoma” this weekend: Each haunted floor will have vampires, monsters and ghouls to show how humans have been spooked through the centuries. 7-11 p.m. tonight and Saturday. $13/$10. 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma. 253-272-3500, washingtonhistory.org.
— Rosemary Ponnekanti
THE SENSITIVE PARENT
Is Halloween too scary for you and your kids? If you’re looking for a bit of fun that doesn’t involve leering skeletons leaping out at you, you’re not the only one: Read on for community fall, harvest and craft events that even the littlest ones will love.
Proctor Treats is a North End standby, where littlies can trick-or-treat their way around the cozy shopping district without too much trekking (or tricking), and parents can relax knowing that the streets are closed off, everyone’s in plain sight and it isn’t even dark. Most of the lines are under shop awnings, too, so the fairy costume will be safely out of the rain. 4-6 p.m. Wednesday. Free. North Proctor and 26th streets, Tacoma. proctordistrict.com.
Other safe trick-or-treats include the Middle Merchants at Sanford and Son, 543 Broadway (noon-5 p.m. Wednesday), and STADIUM DISTRICT, Tacoma Avenue North at Division Avenue (3-5 p.m. Wednesday).
Live Paint, a one-woman art-and-theater event for kids run by Cindy Arnold, is offering an Un-Spooky Autumn Celebration Saturday afternoon. Celebrate fall with interactive family theater and art activities, games, prizes and more. 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday. $9 per child, parents get in free. 1314 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma. 206-732-0224, livepaint.biz.
Metro Parks Tacoma hosts the last of its family October events tonight, with traditional Halloween and harvest games, pumpkin-decorating and a free screening of “The Avengers” (PG-13). Games start at 5 p.m., movie screens at 7 tonight. Free. People’s Community Center, 1602 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma. 253-305-1022, metroparkstacoma.org.
Thomasson Family Farm and Darigold team up to present the 216,000-square-foot “Farmalicious” corn maze (which spells out the title word) along with old-fashioned farm fun like tractors, apple slingshot competitions, pumpkin carving and a corn box full of kernels for kids to play in. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily through Wednesday. Thomasson Family Farm, 38223 236th Ave. SE, Enumclaw. 360-802-0503, thomassonfamilyfarm.com.
— Rosemary Ponnekanti
If your Halloween is not complete without a purple bustier, a lace choker and oodles of black makeup, then this is the event for you: Last year’s Gothic get-together Le Noir Bizarre, in downtown Tacoma’s slightly-spooky Sanford and Sons, was so popular that this year they turned it into a weekly Thursday event through October – but you can still catch the big one on Halloween itself. So go bust out that inner Edgar Allen Poe.
The Monster Mash Bash is a Goth dress-up event with grab bags for the first 20 guests and costume contests at 7 p.m. Event runs from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at Le Noir Bizarre (A Little Touch of Magick), 763 Broadway, Tacoma. 253-272-0744, alittletouchofmagick.com.
A post-Halloween steampunk version of Le Noir Bizarre will happen Nov. 17 at The Tea Shoppe inside Sanford and Son, 543 Broadway, Tacoma.
— Rosemary Ponnekanti
THE ZOMBIE HUNTER
For you, the only good zombie is a dead zombie – and you’re the best person to take it down. But you yearn for more action than offered by the Zombie Apocalypse video game. Fear not brave one, there are ways for you to wreak havoc on the world of the undead.
Maris Farms' Harvest Of Terror features three attractions, including the Monster Safari. Participants will take a ½-mile ride through the woods inside a blacked out school bus. Inside the bus are 40 paintball guns that allow you to shoot your way back to civilization, lest you become one of the walking dead that lurks along the trail. 7-11 tonight and Saturday, 7-9 p.m. Sunday and Wednesday. $15 per attraction. 24713 Sumner Buckley Highway, Buckley. 253-677-7343 or harvestofterror.com.
If you want to test your zombie avoidance and/or hunting skills, take part in Olympia’s Zombie Dash. Runners in this 5K event sign up as humans, zombies or zombies hunters. Humans start first, zombies go two minutes after and the zombie hunters two minutes after that. Each human wears a white tail. If a zombie catches up and grabs your tail, you will be considered bitten. Zombies will be wearing red tails. If a hunter pulls off a Zombie tail, the zombie is considered dead. 4 p.m. Saturday. Day-of-event registation is $50. Marathon Park alongside Capitol Lake in Olympia. zombiedash.org.
The Rutledge Corn Maze and Elma Paintball are teaming together to present Zombie Warz. The paintball scenario game unites the world’s military and police agencies to fend off the Zombie Apocalypse. Games begin at 9:45 a.m. Nov. 10, Dec. 1, Dec. 26 and Jan. 5; $20-$50. Rutledge Corn Maze, 302 93rd Ave. SE, Tumwater. emeraldcityhobbies.com.
— Jeff Mayor
THE PET LOVER
If you’re anything like me, the sight of a pet in a Halloween costume can be enough to make you call PETA.
So, when my wife recently dressed our little dog, Lucky, as a spider and he looked at me with sad eyes that seemed to say “Make her stop or I’ll poop in your shoes,” I reached for the phone.
Here’s what People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said: “Some dogs might enjoy the attention.”
The animal rights organization says costumes are OK for pets as long as the ensemble doesn’t constrict movement, risk cutting off circulation (no rubber bands) or have trailing parts in which a pet might get tangled.
Sorry, Lucky, but it looks like you’re in for a busy Halloween.
The Puyallup Pet Costume Contest is at noon Saturday in Pioneer Park. In its third year, the contest is known for creative participants, so make sure to bring your A game. Past winners include a dog being swallowed by a dragon and a Chihuahua dressed as a camel with a rider. Erin Walker, owner of Dog Daze, says the competition will have three classifications based on handler age: 6 and younger, 7-13 and 14 and older. “Adults are welcome to participate,” she said. Noon, Saturday. Free. Pioneer Park, 330 S. Meridian Ave., Puyallup.
Bret Michaels is one of the most popular costumes at the Tacoma PetSmart this season, manager Oscar Avalos said. For $16.99, your dog can dress up like the lead singer for Poison, or for $14.99 it can dress up like his tour bus. The Bret Michaels costume comes with zebra print pants and a faux-diamond studded belt and includes fake arms holding a guitar and a microphone. Bandana and eyeliner not included. 3326 S. 23rd St., Tacoma. 253-396-0507, petsmart.com.
South Sound Petco stores plan to have Halloween Costume Contests Saturday. Gig Harbor’s store will have a contest at 2 p.m.; Olympia’s store is holding its contest at 1 p.m. Store employees and sometimes customers vote on best costumes. Stacy Rebenstorff, assistant manager of the Gig Harbor store, said she’s seen lizards dressed as sharks, hamsters dressed as cowboys, guinea pigs in shirts, and dozens of cats and dogs dressed as pirates. She says the key to victory is creativity and cuteness. Check petco.com for dates and times of contests at other stores.
Pets are welcome to do the Boo-Allup on Halloween, where more than 30 downtown Puyallup businesses will pass out candy to trick-or-treating children. At least one, Dog Daze, will provide treats for pets, too. Pet costumes aren’t required. 3-6 p.m. Wednesday. Free. Downtown Puyallup (Dog Daze is at 105 E. Stewart Ave., Puyallup). facebook.com/puyallupmainstreet.
— CRAIG HILL