Creepy things come out at night around Halloween time. So do revelers seeking drink specials, live music or perhaps a movie to go with their zombie or sexy-cop costumes.
Entertainment-oriented events are happening at Sacramento-area venues on Halloween (Thursday) and the weekends book-ending it.
Here are 10 open-to-the-public celebrations that sound especially fun and/or terrifying.
Now in its third year haunting Placerville, the multi-day Hangtown Halloween Ball offers three music stages and wee-hours shows.
New Jersey progressive bluegrass group Railroad Earth, once again the event’s host band, will play two sets Saturday (starting at 9:15 p.m.) and a 6:30 p.m. set Sunday.
Other national acts include New Orleans funk jam band Galactic (2:15 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday) and inspirational reggae and alternative-rock artist Matisyahu (4:30 p.m. Sunday). Sacramento will be represented by retro-funksters The Nibblers (12:30 p.m. Saturday) and reggae rockers Arden Park Roots (3:45 p.m. Sunday).
The festival’s costume theme this year is “Roaring ’20s,” with Saturday designated “ghoulish Gatsby getdown” day, during which flapper vampires might be a common sight. “You can choose to participate, but you don’t have to,” Hangtown Halloween Ball founder and co-director Ryan Kronenberg said of the costume theme.
Tonight’s and Saturday’s late-night shows will go until 4 a.m. in the festival’s indoor venue. There also are activities for festival-goers who spend more time in the daylight. Hangtown’s kids’ zone is a key part of the event, Kronenberg said. Activities include bubble-blowing and pumpkin-carving sessions.
Cover band Wonderbread 5 dresses up for every show but tonight will trade bright and shiny for dull and ghastly, grabbing hold of the slow-moving but seemingly unstoppable zombie craze. Zombie costumes are welcome, and frankly not much work, so just put something on. You might win a prize.
There’s nothing like a long bass solo to calm anxiety caused by knowing spirits are on the loose. The always fun Torch Club is offering a jam-bandy, near-Halloween party with the group Mind X on stage and room for free-your-mind grooving on the dance floor. The event includes a costume contest with prizes. The Halloween fun continues Thursday, when six-member Mind X drops to a quartet for a free happy-hour performance.
The long-running Halloween Dead Rock Stars show at Old Ironsides offers local musicians performing the songs of, and sometimes dressing like, late rock greats.
Thursday’s show will include the Carly DuHain Band and 50-Watt Heavy and culminate with a performance by local Black Sabbath tribute band Children of the Grave.
Black Sabbath’s members still are alive. Old Ironsides entertainment booker Mark Gonzales said he altered this year’s show to encompass both “dead rock stars and ‘un-dead’ rock stars,” with the latter designation doubling as a zombie entendre.
Reggae-dubstep artist Stick Figure (Scott Woodruff) headlines this night of red, yellow and green. Thrive and Simple Creation fill out the bill. The all-ages evening will feature a costume contest, winners of which might receive cash or concert tickets. Cash sounds great. Does Party City sell haze-of-smoke costumes?
This free, all-ages party will include a jack o’ lantern contest, music and visuals. The visuals will consist, according to Nerd Night organizer Drew Walker, of “a mashup of classic, funny and weird VHS horror scenes.” Providing the music, Walker said, will be “the devil himself.” Walker did not specify a genre, but according to reports (from Charlie Daniels), the devil plays a mean fiddle.
Nevada City’s Mount Whateverest will put partygoers under a bluesy psychedelia spell with their mix of heavy bass lines, crunchy guitar and girl-group backing vocals. The Soft Bombs and Aaron Ross open.
Midnight-movie purveyors Trash Film Orgy has adjusted its nocturnal clocks for a 9 p.m. showing of the 1982 George Romero-Stephen King filmed horror anthology “Creepshow.”
The celebration starts early, with a 4-7 p.m. “adult trick or treat” happy hour at Mayahuel, Pizza Rock, Dive Bar and other K Street spots. The bars and restaurants will offer treats and drink specials.
TFO promises “live entertainment” (knowing them, this could mean anything) outside the Crest starting at 7, and more adult trick-or-treating, on a “trash street” erected inside the theater, after doors open at 8.
So what if this party is a day late? Rock ’n’ roll doesn’t follow rules. Modesto cover band Hari Kari started out in the 1980s, playing on the same bills as Y&T and Eddie Money, and re-formed a few years ago. And yes, that appears to be their real hair. But you can wear a wig, because it’s still Halloween-adjacent.
Local “Star Trek”-inspired band Warp 11 really made us wait this year by scheduling its Halloween show two days after the fact. But there once was a seven-year gap between “Star Trek” films, so we’re used to prolonged anticipation. Batman-inspired group the Gotham Knights will open.