Halloween lurks just around the corner, followed by the Mexican celebration of DÌas de Los Muertos on November 1st and 2nd. Blood-curdling holiday thrills begin this week in the local area.


FORREST J. ACKERMAN — Legendary film historian Forrest J. Ackerman, widely credited as the man who coined the term “sci-fi,” will host a signing of the new book, Monsters: A Celebration of the Classics from Universal Studios, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 25th, at Every Pic- ture Tells A Story, 1311-C Montana Ave., Santa Monica. Admission is free.

Joining Ackerman will be David Marchant, author of the new book, Monsterrific.

Ackerman achieved icon status in the world of science fiction and horror through the publication of Famous Monsters of Filmland, his ghoulish fan magazine that had a 25-year life span (1958-1983).

Now nearing 90 years old, Ackerman had a hand in nurturing and influencing the careers of early contemporaries such as Ray Bradbury, L. Ron Hubbard and Ed Wood.

Following his signing at Every Picture Tells a Story, Ackerman and fans will parade across the street to the Aero Theatre for a screening of two classic horror films starring Peter Cushing, Horror of Dracula and Bride of Dracula, at 7:30 p.m. at 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. Tickets to the screening are $10.

Every Picture Tells A Story, (310) 451-2700.

Aero Theatre, (323) 466-3456.

HAUNTED SPACE STATION — A spooky, spacy “Haunted Space Station” for kids, to raise funds for St. Mark’s School in Venice, will be set up from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Tuesday, October 28th and 31st, at 843 Commonwealth Ave., Venice. Admission is $1.

Information, (310) 488-9236.

HALLOWEEN THEATER — Absolutely Halloween is a family theater production following the adventures of “Candy,” a sweet young girl about to learn some surprising lessons about life as she embarks on a magical All Hallow Eve escapade to save Halloween. The production is directed by Chris DeCarlo and based on words and lyrics by Evelyn Rudie. Showtimes are 12:30 and 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through October 29th, at the Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica. Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $10.50 for children 21 and under.

Information, (310) 394-9779 ext. 2.

THE VICTORIAN HOTEL — A young couple checks into a haunted hotel and gets their money’s worth of frights from the resident ghosts and ghouls in Angus Oblong’s The Victorian Hotel, which opens with a preview performance at 8 p.m. Thursday, October 19th, at the Powerhouse Theatre, 3116 Second St., Santa Monica. Performances continue at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturdays through December 2nd. Rogue Artists Ensemble brings to life the work of eccentric illustrator Oblong with a production that combines live actors, puppets and digital media. General admission tickets are $25.

Reservations, (866) 633-6246.

HALLOWEEN HA HA’S — Ocean Park Library asks, “What’s so funny about Halloween?” in its Halloween Ha Ha’s program for children ages three through seven. The event will feature stories and a puppet show. The two children’s shows are at 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 24th, at the library, 2601 Main St., Santa Monica. Tickets are free, but must be picked up in advance the day of the performance.

Information, (310) 849-8281.

FALL FESTIVAL — A “home grown” fall festival for Venetians with games, live music, a spooky house, a pie-eating contest and the Orson Bean Magic Show, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 28th, at the First Lutheran Church, 815 Venice Blvd., Venice. Admission is free.

Information, (310) 821-2740.

HAUNTED HOUSE — Hellish Halloween horrors await kids who enter the Halloween Haunted House at the Westchester Recreation Center. Viewing hours are 7:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday, October 28th, 29th and 31st, at the Westchester Recreation Center, 7000 Manchester Ave., Westchester. Admission is $5. The annual haunted house, now in its 16th year, is put together by Westchester Recreation Center staff, with the help of students from Westchester High School and Orville Wright Middle School who volunteer to dress up as monsters and creeps. Organizers do not recommend the haunted house for children under eight years old.

A Lil’ Monster Mash with games, crafts and trick-or-treating for youngsters too young for the haunted house is planned from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 31st, at the Westchester Recreation Center.

Information, (310) 670-7473.

HALLOWEEN GOLF FOR PIRATES — Pacific Park will give a free round of miniature golf to any Halloween revelers dressed in pirate costumes from Saturday through Tuesday, October 28th to 31st, at the Pirates’ Pier Mini Golf Course on the Santa Monica Pier, ocean end of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica. The theme of the Pirates’ Pier Mini Golf Course was developed from tales of pirates off the California coast dating back to 1577.

Information, (310) 260-8744.

ELKS OKTOBERFEST — Fall fever hits the Westchester Elks as members gear up for their Oktoberfest celebration, 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday, October 21st, at the Westchester Elks Lodge, 8025 Manchester Ave., Westchester. Admission is free. Oktoberfest attractions include music, food, face painting for kids, games, a comedian and magician and a beer garden.

Information, (310) 849-8281.

MAR VISTA HORRORS — Jessica Long, who has organized a Mar Vista/Venice Mardi Gras celebration for the past few years, gets festive for Halloween with her first “Haunted Fun House,” which will feature a fortuneteller, magic show, scary clowns, and a sideshow for kids, open to the public from 6 to 10 p.m. Halloween night Tuesday, October 31st, at 3538 Grandview Blvd., Mar Vista. Admission is free.

Information, (310) 397-5166.

TRICK OR TRICK — Highways adults-only Halloween performance/party bash presents GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Award-nominated artist Ian McKinnon and his musical performance troupe The Discount Cruise to Hell in the production Trick or Trick: A Nightmare Halloween Bash, scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, October 27th and 28th, at Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for students.

The Discount Cruise to Hell is described as an ever-morphing musical macabre rock and roll show horror show. The pandemonium includes gay comedy duo Three Dollar Bill, experimental electronic band Hayden and the Headphones, gender-queer burlesque troupe The Miracle Whips, X-rated children’s musician Melissa and Australian sex singer Sam Sparro. Also at the event will be a costume contest, a bloody underwear contest, zombie go-go dancers, drinks, dancing, candy and glitter.

Information, (310) 315-1459.

DÌa de los Muertos….

CALAVEREANDO — Highways Performance Space begins its DÌa de los Muertos celebrations with the unveiling of a ritual altar on Wednesday, November 1st, at Highways Gallery, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica. On Friday and Saturday, November 3rd and 4th, Paulina Sahagun’s DÌa de los Muertos-inspired physical mask theater piece Calavereando will be performed. The piece is directed by Brenda Wooley, with musical direction by Ruben Izquierdo, and is heavily inspired by the prints of artist Jose Guadalupe Posada. Calavereando celebrates the “life that exists after death,” organizers say. The show draws from Mexican popular theater forms, satires the latest global politics and even features a lucha libre fight.

Following the performances, a community gathering will be held at Highways Gallery, where DÌa de los Muertos fare including tamales, champurrado, and pan de muerto will be sold.

Tickets to Calavereando are $20 for general admission and $15 for students.

Information, (310) 315-1459.

EDISON DAY OF THE DEAD — Edison Language Academy, a dual language immersion program, will host a community Day of the Dead celebration from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 28th, at 2425 Kansas Ave., Santa Monica. The event will include live music, authentic Mexican food, children’s entertainment, a Halloween costume parade, rock climbing and arts and crafts. Admission is free and prices for food and games are $1 to $3.

A collection of altars made by Edison students and parents in the Mexican and Central American tradition of remembering deceased loved ones will be combined to make a giant colorful Day of the Dead exhibit.

This year, students also plan to build a gargantuan kite called a barrilete, such as are traditionally flown in villages in Guatemala as a means of celebrating DÌa de los Muertos.

The altar exhibit will feature a community “Cranes for Peace” project to memorialize the thousands of people who have been killed in the war in Iraq. One thousand handmade Japanese origami cranes will be hung above the altar as a symbolic plea for world peace, organizers say.

The idea for the display of cranes stemmed from the crane project of Sadako Sasaki, who was two years old when the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Sasaki later died of leukemia.

Singer/songwriter Jes™s “Chuy” PÈrez and his five-piece salsa band will perform a repertoire of traditional songs from Cuba, that are a favorite among salsa circles across the Los Angeles region. Also, the Santa Monica High School Marching Band master of ceremonies, DJ Luis Lopez, will spin Latin and dance tunes.

Edison Language Academy is part of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

Information, (310) 396-1153.