Every area has its holiday traditions, and Southern California is no exception. What with stops at Knott's Scary Farm or Oingo Boingo's Halloween concert or trick-or-treating at the local mall, you may have found yourself sinking into a rut.
Here are some suggestions for a slightly different Halloween:
Day of the Dead Festivals
Mainstream Halloween is a pretty European affair, with most of the traditions carried over from England and Ireland. Los Angeles is lucky to have another take on the holiday thanks to the large Mexican population, which brought the traditions of the Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. A combination of the Roman Catholic holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, Day of the Dead is meant to honor those who have gone before. A small sampling:
Self-Help Graphics' annual event offers something for everyone with its live music (featuring mariachi bands alongside rock, rap and soul), comedians and art exhibitions. This year, two Day of the Dead altars, one traditional and one contemporary, will be on display. Calavera (skeleton) attire is encouraged. One of the most popular festivals in Los Angeles. 3802 Brooklyn Ave., East L.A. (213) 264-1259, Saturday 2-11 p.m.
The annual Day of the Dead celebration at the Los Angeles Photography Center will feature live music, vendor booths, art sales and face painting and a pinata for children. Much of the art displayed will honor the late Cesar Chavez. 412 S. Parkview St., (213) 383-7342, Saturday 3-9 p.m.
"Out in Front: Otra Vez" at the Mark Taper Forum is a two-day Day of the Dead festival featuring a free art workshop and a traditional Day of the Dead procession at the Music Center Annex beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Families will make masks and banners at the art workshop to wear and carry in the procession. Reservations are recommended for the workshop. Two nights of performances by Latino artists will also be featured. 601 W. Temple St., (213) 972-7622.
Other museums with Day of the Dead displays include Natural History Museum of L.A. County, Exposition Park, (213) 744-3466; Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, Griffith Park, (213) 667-2000, and Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600.
"Cool Ghouls of Comedy," hosted by the Improv, is a fund-raiser for St. Jude Children's Hospital. Featured performers include Jeff Altman, Steve Marmel, Chuck Booms, Claudia Lonow and Ritch Shyndner. Sunday, (213) 651-2583.
"Interactive Halloween Costume Festival" is a fund-raiser by the Future of Hollywood to benefit Variety--the Children's Charity at Prince's Glam Slam nightclub. The many events include a "techno playground"; dance, music, comedy and art performances; and a food court. Sunday, (310) 281-4789.
The American Cinematheque is hosting a marathon Saturday at the Orpheum Theatre downtown. Eight classic and not-so-classic films will be screened, mixing science fiction (the original "Invaders From Mars" and "Forbidden Planet"), classic Universal horror ("The Bride of Frankenstein," "The Old Dark House") and the just plain odd, like legendary bad moviemaker Ed Wood Jr.'s "Glen or Glenda?" Other highlights include organist Gaylord Carter playing his new score for the John Barrymore "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and the original Australian version of "Mad Max," with Mel Gibson. 842 S. Broadway, (213) 466-FILM.
Other classic films will be shown around Los Angeles, including "Nosferatu" and "The Golem" today and Saturday at the Silent Movie and "I Walked With a Zombie" and "The Wolf Man" Sunday at 7 p.m. at UCLA's Melnitz Theater, (310) 825-2345.
And, just as you'd expect, the Nuart is throwing a special "Rocky Horror Picture Show" party Saturday night. Rose tint my world, indeed. (310) 478-6379.
Finally . . .
The All Star Theatre Cafe hosts a Halloween seance Saturday 9 p.m.-3 a.m. at the Hollywood Knickerbocker. If there are such things as ghosts, they're probably at this hotel--from the list provided, just about everyone in Hollywood slept, danced or died there. 1714 N. Ivar, (213) 962-8898.
InnerQuest presents a Halloween Moonlight Shadow-Hike Sunday at Malibu Creek State Park. Participants are asked to bring a scary story, poem, song, etc. and enough dessert to feed 4-6 people. 7:45 p.m. (213) 874-1005 (reservations required).