Halloween is just a day away, but the holiday's spook-tastic events have already begun. And this year, more than ever before, the battle royal to be the holiday's MVP is brewing between zombies and vampires -- whether in pop culture or at celebrations throughout Southern California.
Both creatures have taken turns neck-sucking and brain-munching their way up the social hierarchy among monsters. For the last few years, our fang-toothed friends have been the "It" monster. "Twilight" reigns supreme; "True Blood" is a hit on HBO; and "Vampire Diaries" has sunk its fangs in the TV lineup. Heck, even horror novelist Stephen King has jumped on the bandwagon in helping to pen a vampire comic book for Vertigo.
But flesh-hungry zombies are just as popular. Woody Harrelson is starring in the zom-com "Zombieland." Diablo Cody is producing a film called "Breathers: A Zombie's Lament." Marc Forster is filming Max Brooks' zombie-inspired novel "World War Z."
Likewise, there's no shortage of blood-sucking and flesh rotting-themed events filling the Halloween circuit here.
Stirred by the pale folks on "True Blood," El Bar in Hollywood is hosting "Fangbanger's Ball," with a vampire costume party and $5 martinis. In Long Beach, the Queen Mary is hosting its annual "Halloween Shipwreck," which features a Vampire Village. And F.W. Murnau's classic vampire film "Nosferatu" will screen at two venues: at Disney Hall, with accompaniment by Clark Wilson's pipe organ, and at the Downtown Independent theater, in an event called "Noise-feratu" featuring a live score by acts with such intriguing names as KILLKILLKILL, WMX and Organ Music.
If the living dead are more your style, consider attending the official "Thriller" Halloween party at Dakota Live Music in Santa Monica. Or zombies with an affinity for running can take part in the Zombiethon in Silver Lake.
There are plenty of other events; just check out the list below or go to latimes.com/halloweenlist.
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Halloween Horror Nights Universal Studios keeps the spirit alive with attractions including mazes based on "Saw," "Halloween" and "My Bloody Valentine." 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City. $41-$149. 7 p.m.-1 a.m. today; 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Sat. (818) 622-3711, www.halloween horrornights.com.
Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt Berry turns to Scary as fast as Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. Not recommended for children under 13; no costumes. 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park. 7 p.m.-2 a.m. today-Sat., 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Sun. $39.99-$49.99. (714) 220-5200, haunt.knotts.com.
Shipwreck Halloween The Queen Mary hosts its 15th annual Halloween Shipwreck. 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach. 7 p.m.-midnight today-Sun. $29. (562) 435-3511, www.queenmary shipwreck.com.
Six Flags Fright Fest Roller coasters in the dark aren't the only things that will keep you screaming. Stroll through four haunted mazes. 26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia. 10:30 a.m.-midnight today-Sat. $54.99, adults; $27.50, children under 48 inches; free, children 2 and younger. (661) 255-4100, www.sixflags.com.
Anaheim Spooktacular Halloween Parade and Fall Festival A decades-old tradition continues with a costume contest, games and haunted house. Center Street Promenade and Lemon Street, Anaheim. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat. Free. (714) 956-3586. www.anaheimfallfestival.org.
Boo and Goo Tour the La Brea Tar Pits by flashlight, make gooey crafts and trick-or-treat amid mammoths, mastodons and saber-toothed cats during this family-friendly overnight adventure. 5801 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. 6:30 p.m. today; sleepover ends at 9 a.m. Sat. $50, general; $45, members. Advance registration required. (323) 934-7243, www.tarpits.org.
Enchanted Hallow's Eve The Star Eco Station transforms into a family-friendly fairy tale palace of trickery, treats and spooky storytelling. 10101 W. Jefferson Blvd., Culver City. 3-8 p.m. today, noon-6 p.m. Sat. $8, adults; one child free per paying adult. $6, each additional child. (310) 842-8060, www.ecostation.org.
Halloween Party for Downtown LA Kids This family Halloween carnival thrills youngsters and adults alike with activities, costume contests and more. FIDM Museum and Galleries, 919 S. Grand Ave., L.A. 5 p.m. Sat. Free. (213) 624-1200.
Haute Dog Howl'oween Parade More than 600 costumed dogs will parade along six blocks. Livingston Drive at Park Avenue, Long Beach. 2:30 p.m. Sat. $15-$35. www.hautedogs.org.
LACMA MUSE Costume Ball The fifth annual installment takes its inspiration from the museum's show "Heroes and Villains: The Battle for Good in India's Comics." LACMA West, 6067 Wilshire Blvd. 8 p.m. Sat. $25-$30, MUSE members; $50, nonmembers. (323) 857-6000, www.lacma.org.