Scary devils and drunken revels

Halloween fun awaits you in many locales.

Gabriel Shapiro

There’s plenty to be afraid of today. War, STDs, the rising cost of education – all of these things and more are daily concerns and real fears. Most of the time, those of us lucky enough to live in the wealthy parts of the world are content to keep our heads down and hope nothing catches us unawares. Halloween is the one time of year we actually go out looking for terror, and this year there are plenty of places ready to help us find it.

The annual transition to autumn brings memories of donning costumes, trolling the streets near home and pestering neighbors for candy. We remember parties at school where everyone got dressed up, including teachers, then all the kids got sick on sugary snacks until they were turned loose, vibrating wildly on sugar highs, to prepare for an evening of trick-or-treating.

As adults, our options for enjoying Halloween are significantly broader, though they might still include a costume. From book readings to plays, haunted houses to club parties, there are activities for just about anyone to enjoy.

This year’s late homecoming means there will be a lot of Gopher-oriented activity on campus this weekend, so after you get your fill of maroon and gold, or if you’re just more into spooky treats than Gopher tricks, check out some of the variety of Halloween activities available.

Concerts and club parties

Since Halloween falls on Friday night this year, there are tons of musical events to help you get your freaky party on. Some come complete with costume contests for cash prizes, others just feature the typical lure of booze dressed up for the evening’s festivities. Some of the highlights include the Triple Rock’s first Halloween party. Local musicians will pay tribute to the Cramps and the Damned, along with a costume contest and what the club promises will be “general mayhem,” which leads one to wonder just what the drink specials will be.

If you’re bound to St. Paul, your pals at Big V’s and the Turf Club both have the answer to your Halloween entertainment questions. The Kooks, Amish Armada and the Coffin Cheaters will rock V’s while the Turf has Impaler and Bloodshot on Friday and the SPMC Halloween party on Saturday, which claims to feature Frank Zappa, Heart and the Sex Pistols. Go figure.

Band of Northern Aggression, Anchorhead and Heads and Bodies will creep you out at the Terminal Bar. Alternately, the Dave Matthews cover band Trippin’ Billies at the Cabooze could be the costume party you had in mind. Either way, your live music possibilities are many.

If live music isn’t your thing then First Avenue might be a better bet. Featuring DJs and dancing, this party will certainly roll on into the wee hours, and if you’re the best-dressed one in the bunch, you could be going home with a cash prize. The theme for this year’s costumes: classic Hollywood horror stars.

A Variety of Haunted Things

There are the usual Halloween suspects as well. All sorts of creepy places filled with scary decor and people dressed as the living dead to scare you half to death. If this floats your boat, then you’re in luck. Some of the terrors awaiting you this Friday include package tours like the Ghosts and Graves Motorcoach, a tour of more spooky stuff than you can shake a stick at. Or, for the posh set, Fright Tours is a similar idea only executed in a limousine, for those who need to freak out in style.

If you’re up for a drive, there are a bunch of haunted farms and houses complete with hay rides, corn mazes, activities and everything Halloween-related to make your night a scary success. Some are still in the city. Leben’s Flowers and Greenhouses in St. Paul is transformed into a haunted house featuring a magician and escape artist. Most are out in the boonies, however, where no one can hear you scream. The Trail of Terror extravaganza is located at the Renaissance Festival site south of Shakopee, Minn., while the haunted Pinehaven Farm is in Forest Lake, Minn. Both feature an extensive list of attractions appropriate for a wide range of ages and fright tolerances.