Local Rhythms – Spooky Night

hallown.GIFHalloween brings out the child in adults who never got over playing dress-up in grade school. Their affinity is likely due in no small part to the fact that, as holidays go, Halloween is just about the best there is.

Don a costume, grab a bag and go door-to-door, demanding candy. How can you beat that? Why would you want to stop? Trick or treating will likely get you big kids arrested, but there’s still fun to he had. Saturday is the unofficial pumpkin day for the over-21 set. Most of the area’s pubs have masquerade balls planned, with prizes and, probably, candy.

Salt hill Pub welcomes About Gladys, with costumes “all but mandatory” for the bash. Owner Josh Tuohy promises a “trick or treat bag full of funk” for all attendees. Across the river at Shenanigans, the Conniption Fits play, along with a “pagan ritual that involves a chicken.”

Seven Barrels has the Gully Boys and a costume contest, complete with door prizes. Their very different neighbor across Interstate 89, Electra, has two DJs hosting a party that goes until 4 AM, with prizes for scariest and sexiest get-ups, if you have the stamina.

In Springfield, Royal Flush has Intercept and cash prizes for their winners.

Halloween offers plenty of fun for youngsters, beginning on the weekend with 13th Annual Family Halloween Celebration at Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock. There are children’s games, pumpkin-carving, horse-drawn wagon rides and a costume parade.

Tuesday, of course, is all about the kids – and any parents who’ve re-channeled their inner child by devising ways to scare the neighborhood moppets witless.

Claremont’s Hallowesta has settled in as a local tradition. The gathering begins at 4 PM in front of Twisted Fitness on Pleasant Street. There’s a costume parade to Monadnock Park, a hot dog roast and hayrides. The fun lasts until 5:30.

Up in Lebanon, the Fire Department throws open their doors for an Open House. They can’t toss candy from the engines any more, but you can walk up and ask for it.

Adults looking to kick the fear factor from threat level orange to red might consider heading to “Drinking Liberally” at Murphy’s in Hanover from 7-9 on Halloween night. It’s a social gathering for those of a left-leaning political bent. From what I see on TV, liberals are probably the scariest creatures in the world.

Seriously, here’s what the rest of the weekend looks like:

Thursday: Devil Music Ensemble, Latchis Theatre – An appropriate start to the Halloween weekend, with this inventive group providing the musical score for a re-screening of the 1920 silent film “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.” John Barrymore plays the London physician with a split personality. Devil’s Music Ensemble has done rock, folk, orchestral and even country music. Last year, they did the score for “Nosferatu” and Brattleboro asked them back.

Friday: Hexerei & Stonewall, Electra – A “Metal Bash” costume party with two purveyors of great hard rock together on the same stage. Stonewall just completed work on a demo with Shamus Martin at the controls. Their MySpace site has one of the songs, “Blessings for Pearls,” up as a free download. It’s got all the punch and crunch I’ve come to expect from them, and then some.

Saturday: Phil Celia, Middle Earth Music Hall – Under assault by an organization with a reputation for frivolous lawsuits, many of the recent shows at this well-regarded Bradford, VT venue have turned into benefits for their legal defense fund. They’re being sued for “noise pollution” – how ridiculous is that? Last week, Dr. Burma donated their take to the cause; Saturday the leader of Acoustic Philosophy presents a band reunion of sorts.

Sunday: George Carlin, Lowell Auditorium – No comedian has the ability to illuminate life’s absurdities quite like Carlin. From proposing golf courses as a solution for the homeless (“plenty of good land, in nice neighborhoods”) to his take on tattoos (“nothing like waking up drunk with the Last Supper on your chest”), he always brings the laughs. That’s why he’s been filling halls for 40 years.

Tuesday: The Decemberists, Calvin Theatre – Newly signed to a major label, their latest, “The Crane Wife,” continues the storytelling chamber rock that made indie fans mad for “Picaresque” and “Her Majesty.” Hopefully, their new imprint won’t cost them in street cred. Decemberists live shows are, according to most reports, pretty faithful re-creations of their records.

Wednesday: La Bohème, Claremont Opera House – OK, if you’re looking for the truly majestic, this is for you. The opera used as a basis for “Rent” comes to town, with a 30-member chorus, 40-instrument orchestra and 7 soloists. Where will everybody else sit? Even though it’s all sung in Italian, this story of love and poverty should resonate. Finally, there’s an opera at the Opera House.

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