Madison celebrates all things spooky over the next three days with a downtown Family Trick or Treat, a staging of Drakula, Freakin' Halloweekend, Kids in the Rotunda, Freakfest, Night of the Dead, '80s vs. '90s: Halloween Edition, and, more costume parties at the Frequency, the Crystal Corner, the Argus, and Mickey's Tavern. The Halloween weekend fun also includes: the Freedom From Religion Foundation national convention and a panel on animal research ethics; a gallery show featuring art by Brent Budsberg and Shana McCaw; productions of 12 Angry Jurors and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde; University Opera and WCO performances; standup by Kevin and John Farley; and, more live music from The Dandy Warhols, Gogol Bordello, and Those Poor Bastards.
NOTEWORTHY: Black Tuesday price collapse panics New York Stock Exchange, 1929.
BIRTHDAYS: Angelic actress Kate Jackson, 1948; Cowboy Junkie Peter Timmins, 1965.
Concourse Hotel, through Oct. 31
Celebrate not believing in God among likeminded people. Special guests include Somali refugee and memoirist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, comedian Julia Sweeney and erstwhile New York Times legal reporter Linda Greenhouse.
State Street and the Capitol Square, 2-6 pm
Doll the little ones up in their cute costumes and take them door-to-door to downtown businesses for Halloween loot. You can also stop by the Isthmus office at 101 King St. for a photo. The event is presented by Madison's Central BID and Brent Budsberg, Shana McCaw
James Watrous Gallery, Overture Center, through Dec. 5
The artists, both from Milwaukee, craft architectural miniatures -- a tiny house, a tiny stairway -- then insert them in unusual places, like the back of a sofa.
Stoughton Opera House, 7:30 pm
Stoughton's StageWorks Projects uses contemporary music and original choreography to tell the tale of a certain bloodsucking freak.
UW Music Hall, 7:30 pm. Also Sunday (3 pm) & Tuesday (7:30 pm), Oct. 31 & Nov. 2
The campus company presents two one-acts by Puccini: "Suor Angelica," about an unwed mother sent to a convent, and the comic "Gianni Schicchi," in which a wealthy man bequeaths his estate to a monastery.
Madison College-Truax's Studio Theatre, 7:30 pm. Also Thursday (7:30 pm) & Saturday (4 & 8 pm), Oct. 28 & 30
MATC Performing Arts presents Sherman L. Sergel's play, adapted from Reginold Rose's 1954 teleplay, about a court case in which a young man is accused of murdering his father. Things can get awful testy in those jury rooms.
Bartell Theatre, 8 pm. Also Thursday (8 pm) & Saturday (4 & 8 pm), Oct. 28 & 30
Strollers Theatre presents Jeffrey Hatcher's recent stage adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic horror novel about a researcher who sometimes just isn't himself. In Hatcher's version, four different actors play Hyde.
Comedy Club, 8 & 10:30 pm. Also Thursday, Oct. 28, 8:30 pm
The brothers of the late Chris Farley hit the downtown stage. We can only assume they use their nightclub act to polish material for their Farley Bros. Radio podcast, or maybe vice versa. With Fish.
High Noon Saloon, 8 pm. Also Saturday, Oct. 30, 8 pm
Local blog Dane 101's Halloween blowout seems to have more tribute bands than usual this year, but that's half the fun. Make your Friday freaky with 1980s tribute Lisa Frank Unicorn Experience, faux Pearl Jam Uneven Flow, Cure coverers the Love Cats and others, then return for a second round on Saturday: B-52's impostors Deadbeat Club, Huey Lewis spoof Chewie Lewis & the Nudes, ghoulish White Stripes tribute the Fright Stripes, the Fantasy Creeps' spooky take on Guided By Voices songs, and the specter of Loretta Lynn known as Coal Miner's Daughter. For more on this and other Halloween tribute events, see Music.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
Keyboard sparks fly as sister pianists (and Madison natives) Christina and Michelle Naughton collaborate on Mendelssohn's Concerto for Two Pianos in E Major. Also on the program: Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony No. 8 and Wisconsin native Michael Torke's "Adjustable Wrench."
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
Many of the Dandys' greatest hits seem to get even better with age, from their 2000 single "Bohemian Like You" to the Veronica Mars theme song, 2003's "We Used to Be Friends." Come attest to their staying power this Friday night. With Blue Giant.
NOTEWORTHY: Orson Welles incites panic with his radio dramatization of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, 1938
BIRTHDAYS: French filmmaker Louis Malle, 1932; rock vocalist Gavin Rossdale, 1967.
Overture Center's Rotunda Stage, 9:30 & 11 am, 1 pm
At Halloween we celebrate the unexplained, so this magic show for the kids is seasonally appropriate. Wayne the Wizard wows 'em with his tricks.
State Street, 7 pm
Dress to impress, Madison: Revelers who compete in the State Street Halloween bash's 11 pm costume contest at Concrete Park can win a 42-inch plasma TV, a two-person trip to London's infamous "Jack the Ripper" tour or a variety of other prizes from local businesses. Or let your freak flag fly at any of the event's three music stages, which will feature performances by OK Go, My Dear Disco, Little Big Town, Stealing Angels, DJ Will Calder, Mechanical Kids, Aaron Williams & the Hoodoo, Daniel & the Lion and Mike Droho & the Compass Rose.
Barrymore Theatre, 8 pm
The old movie house's tribute-band slate includes the Grasshoppers as Talking Heads, Baghdad Scuba Review as the Beatles and Elf Lettuce as the Rolling Stones. With Dirty Diesel Jack's Epic Bazaar.
Majestic Theatre, 9 pm
Do you make a fabulous Fresh Prince of Bel Air? A magnificent Madonna? A perfect Patrick Swayze? Dress up as a TV character, music icon or movie star from the '80s or '90s and compete for prizes as you dance to hits from each of these decades, expertly spun by DJs Nick Nice and Vilas Park Sniper.
Frequency, 9 pm
Party until the witching hour with more local musicians masquerading as legendary bands: El Valiente will perform as Pavement, All Murder as the Misfits, the Handsome Dickz as the Dictators and Orphan Bloom as Soundgarden. Also playing: Paleface.
Crystal Corner Bar, 9:30 pm
Check out the neighborhood joint's tribute-band offerings, including Droids Attack as Helmet, Helliphant as Cheech y Chong and Brainerd as Turbonegro.
Argus Bar & Grille, 10 pm
Show off your spookiest duds and kookiest concepts at a costume contest and masquerade ball, then drink in the downtown bar's history -- and mystery -- to the tunes of Venice Gas House Trolley, Fambly Fun and Amber Sebastion.
Mickey's Tavern, 10:30 pm
Trick or treat! At least two Willy Street bars are giving the Frequency and the High Noon a run for their money -- or candy -- with their own tribute-band lineups. Mickey's will feature Pixies cover crew Crackity Jones, Buzzcocks tribute B'dum B'dum and the Arge's rendition of Mudhoney.
NOTEWORTHY: Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi assassinated, 1984.
BIRTHDAYS: Middle Earth filmmaker Peter Jackson, 1961; candy-craving Bow Wow Wow vocalist Annabella Lwin, 1965.
First Unitarian Society, 1 pm
Experts debate animal experimentation, especially the work done with primates at the University of Wisconsin. The panelists are the Alliance for Animals' Rick Bogle, biomedical engineering professor John Webster and UW Research Animal Resource Center director Eric Sandgren.
Overture Center's Capitol Theater, 8 pm
Gogol Bordello, New York City's crazy band of gypsy punks, teams with Forró in the Dark, a riveting and rhythmic ensemble with Brazilian roots, for a night of songs you'll want to sing and dance along to, even if you don't know all the words. Learn more about Forró in the Dark in Tour Stop.
High Noon Saloon, 9 pm
Lonesome Wyatt and the Minister -- a.k.a. Those Poor Bastards -- are on a mission to educate the Madison masses with their hellfire-and-brimstone-flavored country music. Creepy Halloween bonus: Wyatt will release a new album, Moldy Basement Tapes, with his other band, the Holy Spooks. Also playing: Judgehydrogen and Ando & the Jolly Barrels.