THE ZOO'S SO ZCARY: If there hasn't been a Halloween horror film made about a particular animal yet -- spiders, frogs, and so forth -- trust that someone is dreaming of it. And yet? Our beasties aren't bad and they don't grow to 30 feet tall come the scary season. They do gnaw on pumpkins, though, at least many do, and the LA Zoo will be rolling out the gourds on Oct. 25 and 26. And on Friday the 24th? Night of the Living Zoo takes a grown-up turn, with dramatic vignettes presented around the grounds, little plays hailing Poe and Gorey. Chills? For sure, but then we think of a hippo eating a pumpkin and our frown's turned right around.
MORE MACABRE DOINGS: If you're anywhere near Rainbow Lagoon in Long Beach from Oct. 24 through 26 -- but especially on the evening of the 25th -- something undead may shamble in your direction, courtesy of the Long Beach Zombie Walk. Desire a Halloween-y experience with a dash of history and lace? Heritage Square is presenting mourning rituals of the Victorians. It's a topic that's especially atmospheric when considered among all of those real and quite old buildings. And in Riverside, the ballet again takes on local spirits of the night, via a bevy of walks.
OC TREATS: Anaheim's Fall Festival and Halloween Parade will mark their centennial in just a decade. So how does one reach 90 years of festive-making? By being charming, creative, and full of fall flavor. That's going down on Oct. 25. And nearby at Muzeo? It's "the official haunted house of the Anaheim Fall Festival." Ready for Motel 6 Feet Under? It'll run well past Oct. 25, and it opens on Oct. 24, so hold a friend close and brave it, if you feel you can.
IN THE ARTS: Deeper, darker themes in opera? Well, doesn't every opera have a touch of the OMG to it? It absolutely does, and the opening of "Dido & Aeneas/Bluebeard's Castle" at the LA Opera makes for a stylishly sinister start to Halloween week. And Rob Floyd's Cocktail Theatre -- imagine libations and zombies in one flavorful spectacle -- lands at 41 Ocean Club on Oct. 24 (and later, Oct. 29). And dozens of artists lend support to Vista Del Mar Child and Family services at a party-big TCL Chinese Theatre pop-up art show from Branded Arts.
HAUTE DOG HOWL'OWEEN PARADE: You have to face facts well before you even head to this Long Beach pre-Halloween tradition: You're going to coo, you're going to aww, you're going to want to pet at least a hundred dogs, all of them in costume. But there are many more dogs than that in this huge Belmont Shore strut -- over 500 dogs, most in full regalia of some sort, show up to show off. The owners very often dress in tandem, too, take note. Sunday, Oct. 26