Johnny’s List of Quirky Boston Events: 10/27/08

Here’s your week in weird! This week’s also all about Halloween, so I’m not creating a separate section. Have fun!


The Week in Weird
Day of the Dead Festival @ Forest Hills Cemetery Nov 2 Jamaican Plain, MA
My #1 favorite event of the entire year is the Day of the Dead Festival at Forest Hills Cemetery. That says quite a lot given that I’m tracking 1600 annual events now. Just go. They leave out the candy skeletons and taco vendors. Instead, it’s an ancient Mexican night of dance and music that the audience can join. Come with items to place on a shrine. 4-6pm.Rain or shine. Always on Nov 2.
95 Forest Hills Avenue, Jamaican Plain, MA.617.524.0128. more
El Dia de Los Muertos Nov 2 Cambridge, MA
Beforehand, why not check out the dance and food at this alternative Day of the Dead festival. This one involves skull decorating for kids and seems like serious and spiritual. 1-4pm.
Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, Cambridge, MA.800.511.9725. more
Day of the Dead @ Peabody Museum Nov 2 Cambridge, MA
There’s also an event at Harvard’s Peabody museum. The family event is 1-4:30pm, with a skull decorating workshop and “dancing chickens”. Then a fiesta 6-9pm.
Peabody Museum, Cambridge, MA. more
Harvard Scare! Oct 31 Cambridge, MA
Also in Harvard Square is a completely undocumented event called “Harvard Scare”, plus the usual restaurant and bar events.
Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. more
The Dark Night Halloween party at the New England Aquarium Oct 30 Boston, MA
I spoke with someone on the phone about this one. It’s not just the film “The Dark Knight”. It’s a party at 7pm sponsored by WBOS music, prizes, and a costume contest, Then the movie at 8:45pm in the IMAX theatre. It’s half-off tickets for those in costume.
New England Aquarium, Central Wharf, Boston, MA.617-973-5200. more
Halloween Fireworks Oct 31 Salem, MA
It’s really worth the visit to Salem if you can make it, and they’ll have extra commuter rail trains on Halloween. To encourage revelers to return home, they will end the night with a musical fireworks finale around 10:30pm.
Near Salem Depot, Salem, MA. more
Wiccan Samhain Magick Circle Ceremony Oct 31 Salem, MA
Also in Salem, this is a pagan celebration if you’re curious what that might be like. Procession starts at 4:30pm at Nu Aeon. Then Gallows Hill Park at 5:30pm. Then candlelight walk at 7:30pm into Salem Downtown. Pronounced “sah-wen”. I called and this is definitely happening. Open to the public. They suggest you bring a lantern or candle in glass.
978-745-8668. more
Hawthorne Hotel’s Costume Ball Oct 31 Salem, MA
If you can afford it, no doubt this costume ball is the place to be Halloween evening. It may sell out, so buy tix in advance. $85.
Hawthorne Hotel, Salem, MA. more
Official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball Nov 1 Salem, MA
This is essentially the same ball but on a different day, so I guess they decided to name it differently.
Hawthorne Hotel, Salem, MA. more
ICA Masked Costume Party Oct 31 Boston, MA
If you have $100 to spare, here’s another expensive masquerade ball, and it’s right in Boston, and not a bar. The ICA is amazing and well worth a visit.
Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston, MA. more
Annual Mayness & Madness Halloween Bash Oct 31 Boston, MA
Here’s another party, run by a young professionals (i.e. singles) group.
McGann’s, 197 Portland St, Boston, MA. more
Tomes of Terror – Halloween Live Audio Trilogy Oct 29 – Nov 1 Somerville, MA
This is a spooky theatre event where they act out an old radio broadcast. I’ve been twice and it’s really unique and worth seeing! 7:30pm.
Unity Church of God, 6 Williams Street, Somerville, MA.617.669.4391. more
Rocky Horror Halloween Special – Boston Oct 31 – Nov 1 Cambridge, MA
Also theatrical, the Rocky Horror Picture Show is a bad old movie that fans like to dress up and mock and re-enact live on stage while the film plays. This Halloween, the local groups will also do a special pre-show. I went last year and it was fantastic! Times are not given but I assume the show is at midnight.
Loews Theatre, 11 Church St, Cambridge, MA. more
Rocky Horror Halloween Special – RI Oct 31 Foxboro, MA
And another group is doing it at the Zeiterion Theater, New Bedford MA.
Orphieum Theater, Foxboro, MA. more
Ghosts on the Banke Oct 30 – Oct 31 Portsmouth, NH
The weird just keeps going! Strawbery Banke is one of four re-enactment museums with live actors in New England. They’ll have an outdoor movie, horse-drawn wagon rides, a bonfire, and lots of actors both piratical and ghostatical. A quick drive up from Boston.
Marcy Street, Portsmouth, NH.603-422-7514. more
New England Institute Pi Sigma Eta Haunted House Oct 29 Newton, MA
I managed to find another haunted house in the metro area! This one’s at Mount Ida College in Newton. 8-11pm.
Mount Ida College in the NEI building, 777 Dedham St., Newton, MA. more
Spooky Skate @ MIT Oct 31 Cambridge, MA
At MIT, they’ll set up a skating rink and a lot of people will come in costume. Last year they had arts & crafts and lots of free food. It doesn’t appear to be MIT community only. 8pm-12:30am.
MIT, Cambridge, MA. more
AntiMorris at Sunset Oct 31 Somerville, MA
Even weirder, join up for “Pumpkin Carols” and see morris folk dancing in Somerville. 5pm.
Somerville Community Growing Center, on Vinal Ave, Somerville, MA.617-718-9623. more
Beacon Hill With a BOO! Oct 31 Boston, MA
Get ghost stories on this spooky walking tour of Boston. No reservations required. Meet at 5:30pm. 90 minutes. This one’s not just for kids.
State House, front steps, Boston, MA. more
Tales of the Night @ Drumlin Farm Oct 29 – Oct 30 Lincoln, MA
Also not just for kids, a local state park is having a hayride, haunted house, and walks in the forest. Bring a flashlight. Wed/Thu 6:30-8:30pm.
208 South Great Road, Lincoln, MA.781-259-2200. more
Breakfast with George Washington Nov 1 Exeter, NH
Let’s take a break and do some non-Halloween events. In this one, a re-enactor plays George Washington at 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30am. Also they serve breakfast.
Folsom Tavern, One Governors Lane, Exeter, NH.(603) 772-2622. more
Brockton Train Show Nov 2 Brockton, MA
There aren’t very many events for model train enthusiasts near Boston. But here is one. Come see the trains and, um, more trains. 10am-4pm.
Temple at Pearl & Torrey Sts, Brockton, MA.508-583-5810. more
Boston Comic Con Nov 2 Boston, MA
Sure to be fun — but only for the right personalities — is Boston Comic Con. It seems to be quite a real event, with workshops, artists, lectures, as well as numerous vendors. 10am-5pm.
Back Bay Events Center, 180 Berkeley St, Boston, MA.508-320-1440. more
Gorefest at Improv Boston Oct 23 – Oct 31 Cambridge, MA
My favorite improv comedy club is doing a spoof on slasher films that have a lot of blood. It sounds pretty gross, but it might be funny if you’re totally inured to horror flicks. 8pm but some days also 10pm.
Improv Boston, 40 Prospect St, Cambridge, MA.617-576-1253. more
Election Night” @ Improv Boston Nov 4 Cambridge, MA
Much more my style, and also at Improv Boston, if you are a news junkie and want to hang out with like minds and hear improvised political commentary on the election, try this event. From 8pm to last call. Food, drink, prizes, live music, comedy.
Improv Boston, 40 Prospect St, Cambridge, MA.617-576-1253. more
Election Day Nov 4 Everywhere
Don’t forget to vote! Your Halloween hangover should be over by now.
Various Balloting Stations, Everywhere. more

Also Fun
Connors Farm Haunted Corn Maze Oct 31 Danvers, MA
This is the final “night maze” night at Connors Farm. 10pm.
30 Valley Road (Rt. 35), Danvers, MA.978-777-1245. more
Waltham Mills Open Studios Nov 1 – Nov 2 Waltham, MA
This Open Studios is at a single location, so I’m sure it’s fun with plenty of actual artists (not merchants)… but you don’t get to stroll around the entire town.
144 Moody Street, Waltham, MA. more
Boston Vegetarian Food Festival Nov 1 Boston, MA
Although this is a commercial event, with lots of vendors, there will also be lectures and a lot of education if you’re curious (or already into) the vegetarian lifestyle. 10am-6pm.
Reggie Lewis Athletic Center, 1350 Tremont St, Boston, MA.617-541-3535. more
Celebrating John Belushi” Fundraiser Nov 1 Arlington, MA
John Belushi was a comedian on Saturday Night Live who died in 1982 from addiction. So a local comedian is portraying Belushi in a comedy night to benefit entertainers with addictions. It looks pretty good, and Belushi’s widow will be in attendance.
Regent Theatre, Arlington, MA. more
Interrogate This: Psychologists Take On Terror Oct 30 Boston, MA
How appropriate to Halloween is a film and talk on the use of psychologists to direct the interrogation of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The filmmaker and some psychology experts will attend and speak. There will also be screenings November 11 and December 9 at different locations. See the website.
Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, 221 Rivermoor Street, Boston, MA.617-426-6668. more
Book Talk on Salem Witch Trials Oct 31 Boston, MA
Another good one — I lean more into book talks when it’s cold outside — is a book on how the tragedy of the Salem Witch Trials has been used in political fighting for centuries. Free but call to reserve a ticket.
Boston Athenæum, 10 1/2 Beacon Street, Boston, MA.617-720-7600. more
Constantine’s Sword” film & talk Oct 30 Boston, MA
One more. Do you think religion can lead to war? Can scramble politics? Millions of fundamentalists think so too. A local professor speaks on this topic and then a film.
C. Walsh Theater, Suffolk University, Boston, MA.617-557-2007. more
Fright Night @ Joppa Flats Oct 29 Newburyport, MA
OK, now let’s downshift into Halloween events that (as far as I can tell) are targeted to small kids. I don’t have any kids (and neither do many of my 20-something readers) but it can be fun and relaxing to just show up — with NO kids in tow! — and watch everyone having a good time in their cute costumes. 6-8pm. I have no idea what this event is. A kids haunted house, I think. Pre-register.
1 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport, MA.978-462-9998. more
Central Scare in Lynn Oct 30 Lynn, MA
Also for kids, they’ll have a haunted house and costume contest, ghost stories and mask-making. This one seems to be theater-based and not a raw commercial event.
Plymouth Pumpkin Festival Oct 31 Plymouth, MA
Unlike this one, which pretty much *is* a commercial event. Many merchants will be open for trick or treating. Cute kids will come. 4-7pm.
Downtown, Plymouth, MA. more
Howl-O-Ween Nov 1 Hillsborough, NH
It really can’t compete with this event though, which is a costume parade for both pets and family. And when they say family, as usual, they mean kids.
Butler Park, Main Street, Hillsborough, NH.(603) 464-2112. more
Ghost Hunting at the Charles River Museum of Industry Oct 30 – Nov 1 Waltham, MA
Local robot enthusiasts have turned this museum into a haunted house that is “family friendly”, i.e. not to scary, for kids to go on a ghost hunt. 5:30-9:30pm.
154 Moody Street, Waltham, MA.(781) 893 5410. more
Haunted Attic Tour @ The Old Manse Oct 29 – Oct 31 Concord, MA
This one’s also a kids event with genuine adult appeal. They set up a murder mystery with live actors and you get to explore this historic mansion looking for ghosts and clues.
The Old Manse, 269 Monument Street, Concord, MA.978-369-3909. more
Family Wagon Rides @ Gore Place Oct 31 Waltham, MA
Gore Place, another historic mansion, is offering wagon rides on Halloween. It’s on one calendar but not the other, on their website, so call ahead. 6pm.
52 Gore Street, Waltham, MA.781-894-2798. more
Franklin County CiderDay Nov 1 – Nov 2 Greenfield, MA
I’m usually skeptical of single food events. This one is occurring simultaneously at several farms in Western Massachusetts. You can get orchard tours and see apple butter being made, but the secret seems to be “tastings”, i.e. free booze samples.
Ellis Antiques Show Oct 31 – Nov 2 Boston, MA
If anyone cares, everyone’s favorite antiques show that doesn’t involve driving out West to Brimfield.
Park Plaza Hotel & Towers, Boston, MA.617-248-8571. more

Recurring Events
Coppal House Farm Corn Maze ( & Night Maze ) Aug 1 – Oct 31 Lee, NH
They have a night maze Columbus Day Weekend and soon, a haunted house attraction, too. The best is still Davis Farmland.
118 North River Road, Lee, NH.603-659-3572. more
Kimball Farm Corn Maze Aug 23 – Oct 31 Haverhill, MA
It’s a corn maze. I’ve been. It’s fun.
Kimball Farm Corn Maze, 780 East Broadway, Haverhill, MA.978 521-3990. more
The Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo Oct 1 – Oct 31 Salem, MA
Weird but only for those without much sense in their heads. 10am-10pm daily at the Museum Place Mall in Salem.
Museum Place Mall, 176 Essex Street, Salem, MA. more
Salem Halloween Happenings Oct 10 – Oct 30 Salem, MA
Salem is on the commuter rail and there’s no excuse to miss it this time of year. JUST GO. All the attractions are located near the visitors’ center. Avoid anything that looks touristy. I recommend: the Pirate Museum, the Salem Witch Museum, The Peabody Essex Museum, and catch the theatre shows at the House of Seven Gables. Rt 128N to exit 25A, Rt 114E, follow signs to visitor’s center.
Park at Visitors Center and walk around, Salem, MA.978-740-1650. more
Salem Pumpkin Festival on the Commons Oct 18 – Nov 2 Salem, MA
Beyond just “lots of pumpkins”, they’ll have a 1,000 lb monster pumpkin and a hay bale maze! I just saw it! And they have a moonbounces, too. 10am-5pm, Nov 1-2. JUST GO TO SALEM, ok?
Salem Common, Salem, MA. more
Salem: Fiesta Shows Carnival Oct 20 – Oct 30 Salem, MA
Salem is also having a carnival. I saw it, it looked fairly generic, one of those traveling shows where all the rides pack onto a truck. Oct 20-30, M-F 12-9pm, 12-10pm SS.
289 Derby Street, Salem, MA. more
Concord Festival of Authors Oct 15 – Nov 2 Concord, MA
This “festival” is really a series of author events and book readings, but many of them look quite interesting, especially dry southern humorist Roy Blount, Jr. on Oct 15 (the kind of guy who likes the cartoon Marmaduke), and a spooky night of thrillers and Dracula Oct 31.
Various Places, Concord, MA. more
Pumpkin Carving @ Boston Nature Center Oct 28 Mattapan, MA
As I mentioned last week, there’s a pumpkin carving happening in Mattapan. 6-8pm. Register in advance.
500 Walk Hill Street, Mattapan, MA.617-983-8500. more

NBC’s Last Comic Standing Tour Oct 30 Lowell, MA
If anyone cares, an NBC show is doing a tour through Boston.
Lowell Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, MA. more
Day of the Dead Celebration @ Berklee School of Music Nov 1 Boston, MA
Although this seems to be a music performance rather than a festival, you can see them play the “donkey jawbone” musical instrument. Free.
Café 939, Boston, MA. more

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