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Bat's Entertainment: Staying home on Halloween in Surf City just isn't an option.

Santa Cruz's Halloween Fun Guide

Our guide to where the high spirits are this All Hallow's Eve.

By Craig Gawlick

The most memorable Halloween costume I ever crafted was a baseball cap, along with a sign duct-taped to my sweatshirt reading: "Craig with a hat on." I wasn't prone to wearing hats, hence the effectiveness of the costume. Hopefully, costumes with the same simple brilliance will be on display around the area tonight. Whether you're rousing the rabble downtown or trick-or-treating in the neighborhoods, there is plenty to do for Halloween.

Trick-or-Treating Downtown
It's the same adorable thing every year: hordes of kiddies stampeding from shop to shop all over downtown Santa Cruz on the afternoon of Halloween, demanding treats on pain of tricks. Seems to work out pretty well for them—must be the overwhelming cuteness factor. 2:30-5pm. Downtown Santa Cruz.

Halloween on the Wharf
The Wharf in Santa Cruz hosts this free event for kids this afternoon. A children's costume contest will result in prizes for scariest and cutest costumes, followed by a parade. Merchants along the wharf will be providing treats for the kids in costumes, and possibly the accompanying adults. Event is from 4-6pm. Santa Cruz Wharf, Beach Street, Santa Cruz.

Trick-or-Treating in Capitola
Billing itself as a safe way to trick-or-treat, Brown Ranch Marketplace hosts kids in costumes for treats in most of their stores. Children must be accompanied by an adult to participate. 11am-6pm. Brown Ranch Marketplace, 3555 Clares St., Capitola.

Halloween IV & V
The original Halloween launched the careers of John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis, both of whom wisely left the franchise after the first sequel. The lack of originality of these two entries is right there in the subtitles; one is "The Return of Michael Myers." The other? "The Revenge of Michael Myers"! Regardless, this will be a fun double feature event downtown on Halloween, early enough for a warm-up to drinking and/or trick or treating. 7:30pm.Santa Cruz Cinema 9.

Rocky Horror Picture Show
This show is the perfect excuse to dress up in drag, Halloween or otherwise. A local production will put on this stage show tonight, with all the familiar songs from the hit movie and more. Tickets are $15-$20, and the show starts at 8pm. Rio Theater, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. 831.429.1812.

Odd Ball Costume/Fetish Ball
Dig out the collar and latex. The Odd Ball returns with four bands, five DJs and two stages. Teseract 7, Beat Noir, the Bleeder Project and Drop Black Sky provide all the sunny industrial and goth music anyone could want at this all-ages show. $20 adv./ $25 door. Vets Hall, 846 Front St., Santa Cruz. For info, see

Chop Tops at Blue Lagoon
The Blue's Halloween Costume Party this year includes the Chop Tops and the Astro Zombies, along with DJ Tripp spinning dance music. The music starts at 9pm. It's a great place to take in the festivities downtown and enjoy the $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon. $5. 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. 831.423.7117.

Tiger Army at Catalyst
Tiger Army plays this evening with Street Dogs and Love Equals Death. Doors open at 7pm, show starts at 8pm for the Halloween Costume Ball. Another good locale to enjoy Halloween, Santa Cruz style. 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. 831.423.1338.

SambaDá at Moe's Alley
Repeating last year's success, Moe's will have the Second Annual Halloween Nite party with SambaDá and North African hipsters AZA performing. Show starts at 9pm. 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. 831.479.1854.

Mucky Duck
For anyone trying to avoid Santa Cruz on Halloween, try out the Mucky Duck in Monterey, which has live music from Band of Ninjas at 9pm. 479 Alvarado St., Monterey. 831.229.2793.

The quintessential neighborhood bar, the Windjammer is having its "Heaven and Hell" Halloween party with music from Vinny Johnson and guests starting at 9pm. 1 Rancho Del Mar, Aptos. 831.685.1587.

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