Five Events to Scare Up a Great Halloween and Día de los Muertos

Some blood-tinged things to keep you occupied


Here's a couple of fall holidays during which, however briefly, the whole damn world goes goth. Haunts and haints will flaunt their faintly diabolical diversions throughout the coming weekend as we honor saints and others dead, as we spook the kooky carnival of life with tableaux that mix our modern joys with ancient dread. Cthulhu may yet be fhtagn, sure, but oh my darlings there's a plethora of other gods and devils with which to bide our trick-or-treaty time, to celebrate the coming dark with obviously macabre machinations and monster-forward mafficking. Here are five recommendations for fun when you're feeling boo-tiful again.

The Austin Séance

Your guides Albert Lucio and Jake Cordero, those theatrewise historians of all things mystical, are in residence at the Vortex to present their modern recreations of old-time séances. Savvy, canny, informative, and entertaining, the two scholars don't suggest that they'll actually contact the departed for you – but they will, with studied showmanship, show you how spiritual spelunkers of yore supposedly explored the worlds beyond death's darkling veil. Oct. 28-31. Thu. & Sun., 6:45pm; Fri.-Sat., 6:45 & 9pm. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Rd., 512/478-5282. $30. austinseance.com.

Mexic-Arte Museum: Viva la Vida Fest

Mexic-Arte's Viva la Vida celebration is presented in two parts this year – one in person, one virtually – with the online part (already up and running) featuring parade videos, a virtual tour of the current "Los Pueblos Originarios" exhibition, Día de los Muertos activities and education guides, music and storytelling and other performances, recipes for Day of the Dead treats, and a store that's brightly stocked with papel picado, skulls, and ofrenda kits. The in-person part Downtown boasts a big outdoor display of parade props and more, an augmented reality version of The Ofrenda Mural on the museum's north wall, free pan de muerto (for the first 200 people), and free papel picado art kits for the kids. Sat., Oct. 30, 10am-5pm. Mexic-Arte Museum, 419 Congress, 512/480-9373. $7. mexic-artemuseum.org.

The Black Cat With Live Score

Good things come in threes, even when a hellmouth opens and all that's unholy haunts the land. One, here's Edward G. Ulmer's 1934 film of psychological horror and revenge, starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi; two, here's Alex Keller and Colin Andrew Sheffield, providing a live soundtrack to the screening – "The film's only failing is a liberal use of bad stock music, which we intend to correct," notes Keller; and three, this free cinematic event takes place among the towering wonderments of the Eastside gem of local art called Dimension Sculpture Park. Bonus: Ambient music duo Unlucky Beekeeper performs before the movie begins. Sat., Oct. 30, 6:45pm. Dimension Gallery Sculpture Park, 950 Springdale. Free. alexkeller.net.

Ventana Ballet's Undead

Welcome to the haunted house of dances, wherein 13 professional theatre and dance artists will engage the audience in an evening of classic Halloween creatures, suspense, comedy, and (of course) ballet. Ventana's own AJ Garcia-Rameau choreographed and directed this kinetic spectacle in which "horrifying hipsters, exiled ex-wives, and slapstick sidekicks are just a few of the spooky characters rounding out the company's immersive reimagining of the classic ballet Dracula." And this year you can help decide the fate of those poor, unfortunate souls. Sat.-Sun., Oct. 30-31, 7 & 9pm. Spider House Ballroom, 2906 Fruth, 737/990-9562. $25-35. ventanaballet.com.


MACC: Día de los Muertos

This year's two-night party at the Mexican American Cultural Center will be held in person and features community altars, sugar skull decorating, calavera masks, food trucks, live music, dance performances, screenprinting by Coronado Studios, an artisan mercado from Frida Friday ATX, and more. That's on both nights, yes – but: on Monday only, there'll be a live butterfly release; on Tuesday only, MAS Cultura and J. Colunga's Bodyshop will unleash a lowrider car show of the most dazzling custom rides in town. Mon.-Tue., Nov. 1-2, 5-9pm. MACC, 600 River. Free. dayofthedeadatx.net.

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