By Elliot Stiller
Halloween and Day of the Dead are coming up scary fast. No plans yet? From kid-friendly activities to a horror movie marathon, a pub crawl for zombies and traditional Dia de los Muertos celebrations, here are 13 ways to get into the spirit of the season:
Saturday, Oct. 25
Parade with tiny terrors
Costume-clad children swarm the grounds of Coeur D’Alene Elementary School from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the school’s annual “Spooky Saturday” fundraiser, which features “Tiny Terror” and “Monster Mash” costume parades, a creepy petting zoo, a haunted maze, a spooky bazaar, a phantom photo booth, a pumpkin carving patch, food and prizes.
Couer D’Alene Elementary, 810 Couer D’Alene Ave., Venice. Activity tickets are $1 each. (310) 821-7813; cdaelementary.org
Brave the Haunted Hallway
Grant Elementary School PTA’s fall festival fundraiser is two events in one: Eat, play games and enjoy live entertainment during an outdoor carnival from noon to 5 p.m., then from 5 to 8 p.m. bust a move at the Monster Mash Dance and brave a spooky Haunted Hallway … if you dare.
Grant Elementary School, 2368 Pearl Ave., Santa Monica. grantpta.org
Explore Davy Jones’ locker
Kids can tour a marine animal graveyard, enter a glow-in-the-dark laboratory, hear spooky stories and have their faces painted with a Day of the Dead mask at Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, 1600 Ocean Front Walk. $5, or free for kids 12 and under with an adult admission. (310) 393-6149; healthebay.org
Hang with the popular ghouls in school
Dive into scenes from horror novels as ghostly guides escort you through paranormal literary activity in “The Haunting of Hannon Library II: The Last Voyage of the Flying Dutchman,” held from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Loyola Marymount University’s aforementioned library. Tours of the theatre arts student-run haunted house experience run every 10 minutes and are appropriate for kids 10 and up. Costumes encouraged; treats guaranteed.
William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University. Free. (310) 338-2700
‘Dusk to Dawn Horrorthon’
Why take a girl to one movie when you can take her to seven? Spend all night shivering in your seat at the Aero Theatre’s 9th annual “Dusk to Dawn Horrorthon,” a Halloween film festival featuring screenings of “Creepshow,” “Gargoyles,” “The Thing,” “The Night of a Thousand Cats,” “The Deadly Spawn,” “Basket Case,” “Zombie Holocaust” and a series of shorts, all starting at 7:30 p.m.
Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. $20
(310) 260-1528; aerotheatre.com
Sunday, Oct. 26
Have a happy ‘Howl-O-Ween’
Adopt & Shop hosts a “Howl-O-Ween Party” with a pet-and-people costume contest from 2 to 4 p.m. following a noon “Pack Walk” in costume along the Culver Trail.
Adopt & Shop, 4235 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City. (310) 933-6863; adoptandshop.org.
Wednesday, Oct. 29
‘Festival de Otono’
Tour a massive display of traditional Day of the Dead altars during Edison Language Academy’s “Festival de Otono,” which also features music, dancing, arts-and-crafts, entertainment and food from 1 to 5 p.m. at the campus.
Edison Language Academy, 2402 Virginia Ave., Santa Monica. Games and food are $1 to $5. (310) 828-0335; edison.smmusd.org.
Friday, Oct. 31
Themed activities and trick-or-treating await kids at Montana Avenue’s annual “Halloween Hop,” from 3 to 6 p.m. at participating merchants along the avenue from 6th Street to 17th Street.
Drink a zombie with a zombie
Join the undead for a bar crawl that starts at Rusty’s Surf Ranch at 7 p.m. and ends at Wokcano’s “Wok-ing dead” after-party, which runs from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. The $15 admission price includes a wristband for specials at participating bars and complimentary zombie makeup.
Rusty’s Surf Ranch, Santa Monica Pier. Wokcano, 1413 5th St., Santa Monica. (310) 458-3080; wokcanorestaurant.com
Don a mask, drink an elixir
Gibber like a ghoul or howl like a werewolf at the “Enchanted Halloween Ball,” an 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. masquerade party at Full Circle Venice replete with a costume contest, deejays, live performers, body paint, visual projection art, a photo booth and tarot readings. Saddle up to the bar for ormus and various elixirs. Proceeds benefit the Venice Art Crawl and Full Circle’s nonprofit arts activities. As Oscar Wilde said, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
Full Circle Venice, 305 Rose Ave. Tickets are $30 to $35, or $40 for VIP access (includes ticket, drink and a gift. (206) 910-0384; venicebeachmasquerade.com
Costume Dance Party
Brennan’s Pub is hosting a no-cover all-night costume dance party starring the Jeremiah Roko Band from 9:30 to 11 p.m. and local favorite Miss Jessica picking up the torch with The Sugar Shack Attack until 1:30 a.m.
Brennan’s Pub, 4089 Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey. (310) 821-6622; brennanspub-la.com
Saturday, Nov. 1
Dia de los Muertos at Woodlawn
Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica hosts a traditional Day of the Dead celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. complete with an opening procession of Ketzaliztli dancers, a Nahuatl ceremonial blessing, a workshop for creating offerings of marigold crowns and perforated paper for deceased loves ones, a documentary depicting how a town in Mexico prepares for the holiday and a tour of the cemetery that explores the histories of the famous people buried there. Musicians perform throughout the event.
Woodlawn Cemetery, 1847 14th St., Santa Monica. Free. (310) 458-8688; smgov.net
‘The Calling of the Spirits’
SPARC hosts the annual Day of the Dead ritual that honors the dead and delights the living with free sweet bread and hot chocolate. The 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. ceremony includes alters adorned with traditional sugar skulls and offerings of flowers, candles, colorful tissue paper and the deceased’s favorite food and beverages.
SPARC, 685 Venice Blvd., Venice. Free. (310) 822-9560; SPARCinLA.org