A Madison Halloween is best-known for its connotations of merriment and mayhem, something of a junior varsity Devil's Night Out characterized most infamously by its twin agents of ethanol and capsaicin. That's State Street, of course, something that city elders are hoping desperately to change. In a broader sense, though, the reputation Halloween is building throughout the country is that of a big deal, a holiday second only to Christmas as a time of spirit(s) and spending. That's the case in Madison, too. While State Street may grab all of the attention, there are many more Halloween events up through the end of October that don't involve shivering outside among tens of thousands of strangers.
There are twelve days of Halloween action, adventure, events and activities in and around Madison, details of which follow below.
The First Day of Halloween (Oct. 20): and a crowd packed in along State Street
- The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra performs a Halloween concert with singer and dancer Arthur Marks.
- The YMCA host a family Halloween party at all three Dane County locations.
- SpotLight on Kids holds the second day of its Halloween walk at the Rotary Gardens in Janesville.
- There are "historically-themed scares" at Sun Prairie's Most Haunted, a "performance of local Wisconsin legends" at the Main Street Shopping Center.
- The West Madison Jaycees kick off Horror in the Dark at Olin Park. More details are available at their MySpace page.
- The Janesville Jaycees Spooktacular haunted house starts its second weekend.
The Second Day of Halloween (Oct. 21): Two rubber masks...
- The Coliseum will play host to the Sweet Street Halloween Expo, "a safe alternative to traditional trick-or-treating for children of all ages and their parents."
- Hosted by the Henry Vilas Zoological society, Halloween at the Zoo provides another family location for trick-or-treating. A free event, all donations will be go to benefit plans to renovate the Arctic Passage and a brand-new Children's Zoo.
- Eplegaarden Orchard in Fitchburg is the home of Harold Potterson's Horrific Halloween Haunts, open to witches, wizards and muggles alike.
- Saturday mark's the fourth day of "historically-themed scares" at Sun Prairie's Most Haunted, a "performance of local Wisconsin legends" at the Main Street Shopping Center.
- The Horror in the Dark at Olin Park -- a benefit for Big Brothers and Big Sisters -- scares for its second day.
- SpotLight on Kids holds the third day of its Halloween walk at the Rotary Gardens in Janesville, featuring storytellers and a costume sale.
- The Janesville Jaycees Spooktacular haunted house holds its fifth day of scares at the Back Bar, along with a haunted train ride in Edgerton.
The Third Day of Halloween (Oct. 22): Three group get-ups...
- There's more quidditch and craziness at Harold Potterson's Horrific Halloween Haunts, located at Eplegaarden Orchard in Fitchburg.
- The Janesville Jaycees Spooktacular haunted house holds its sixth day of scares at the Back Bar, part of their 30th anniversary celebration of scares.
- SpotLight on Kids marks the fourth day of its Halloween walk at the Rotary Gardens in Janesville, complete with a toddler costume parade.
The Fourth Day of Halloween (Oct. 23): Four calling phones...
- One Monday means no-fun day in Madison's twelve days of Halloween, though this does make plenty of time for costume conspiring, creating, shopping, and fitting.
The Fifth Day of Halloween (Oct. 24): Five candy bins...
- The Wisconsin Historical Museum will screen its first Classic Horror Movie, namely Night of the Living Dead.
The Sixth Day of Halloween (Oct. 25): Six naughty costumes...
- The Madison Children's Museum will host Halloween stories for toddlers and preschoolers.
- There's more preschool storytime with Halloween tales and trick-or-treating at Borders Books West.
- The Wisconsin Historical Museum will screen its second Classic Horror Movie, namely Gammera, The Invincible.
- The sixth day of Halloween marks the seventh day of scares at the haunted house part of the Janesville Jaycees Spooktacular.
- Parents Place North hosts a Halloween party for the whole family at Lakeview Lutheran Church.
- The weekend fun for adults beings with the Dane101.com Halloween party, featuring " an interesting roster mixing up dark hip-hop beats along with some of the area's best synth" at the High Noon Saloon. This roster consists of: The Gothsicles, Black Clouds, Null Device, Cervello Electronico and DJ Siberia.
The Seventh Day of Halloween (Oct. 26): Seven swigs of something...
- Rather than feeding vampires, why not donate your blood for a good cause? Share some vitality at the American Red Cross blood drives, located that Thursday at the UW Hospital.
- There are two editions of the Creepy Crawly Creature Feature on Thursday, located at the Hawthorne Library and the Meadowridge Library. "Spiders, snakes owls, bats, ravens and black cats are featured" in these science-oriented programs about creatures nocturnal and spooky.
- Similarly, the Bat Conservation of Wisconsin hosts Bats aren't Really Blind at the Monroe Street Library.
- The South Madison Library will host Monster Mash, "a fun Halloween party with stories, crafts, treats and frights!"
- Dennis Boyer will give a free talk about Wisconsin Ghosts & Spirits at the Middleton Library. He will "share lore on ghostly sightings around the state" for adults 18 years and older.
- The Wisconsin Historical Museum will screen its third Classic Horror Movie, namely Horror Hotel. It will subsequently kick off a 24-hour horror movie marathon, enough to fill anybody with fright. Mostly drawn from the '30s through the '60s, these films include everything from classics like Plan 9 from Outer Space to lesser-known flicks like Bela Lugosi Meets the Brooklyn Gorilla. There are 17 films in all.
- There's more history in store at the museum in the Crafting History program "Make a Spooky Halloween Hat or a Creepy Crawle."
- The best-known event on Thursday is a venerable one, as Hoofer Underwater Scuba Pumpkin Carving returns to the shores of Lake Mendota. More specifically, the shallows off of the Memorial Union Terrace. "Teams of two or more divers will take the plunge into Lake Mendota to carve pumpkins underwater to celebrate Halloween," with prizes awarded to the best creations.
- The Horror in the Dark at Olin Park returns for the weekend, with everything starting at the pavilion.
- The second big party of the season arrives Thursday night with a Halloween costume contest at the King Club, complete with comedy by the Public Drunkards, shocking stuff from Cealed Casket, and finally, a special show by Awesome Car Funmaker. The band "will be performing as a country quartet for their Halloween show this year at King Club. That's right, the boys will be in full cowboy attire, playing country favorites as well as performing current ACF songs in country format. It will be unlike any other ACF show Madison has seen!"
The Eighth Day of Halloween (Oct. 27): Eight bands a-blasting...
- Though the big shindig on State Street is officially planned for Saturday, word is that the costumed masses will be heading out on Friday too. Police are thinking of it as a warm-up, as likely is everybody else.
- Parents Place East is hosting a Halloween safety session at Family Enhancement.
- The Janesville Jaycees Spooktacular returns with its haunted house (actually named the House of Horrors), along with an accompanying haunted train ride.
- The "historically-themed scares" at Sun Prairie's Most Haunted, performed at the Main Street Shopping Center, include tales of the Ridgeway Phantoms, the vampires of Mineral Point, the haunted bridge of Boltonville, and more.
- Friday marks the fourth day of this year's Horror in the Dark at Olin Park, a benefit for Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
- A pre-Halloween concert is set for the High Noon Saloon. The show brings the funk, R&B, and garage of Andre Williams, The Diplomats of Solid Sound featuring the Diplomettes, and The Nervous System.
- There's another Halloween party at the Klinic, featuring the music of Skip the Middle Man, The Atomic Blue, Steez, Planet of 9, and Venus Over Paris.
- Cafe Montmartre is the location for Contessa Says Halloween Showcase, featuring music from Null Device, art by Nicole Olthafer, and spinning care of DJ Donnie Vendetta.
The Ninth Day of Halloween (Oct. 28): Nine students dancing...
- Saturday's the big day, the Freakfest on State Street, the freakier fest on Langdon Street, the night that city elders are hoping won't turn into the fifth consecutive year of trouble. Keep up with the issues, pictures and action at Your source on Madison Halloween 2006. There's so much more happening throughout the day and night, though?
- Those crazy Hash House Harriers -- "a world-wide social/running club with a taste for irreverence (as well as beer)" -- will hold their annual Halloween Costume Run on Saturday. Starting at the cemetery at the corner of South Franklin and Hillcrest, who knows where the hare will lead them?
- In addition to offering the ritual of transubstantiation, two churches will also be accepting blood on Saturday. Share some of yours at the American Red Cross blood drives, located at the Blackhawk Evangelical Free Church and Christ Memorial Lutheran Church.
- The Wisconsin Historical Museum will screen its fourth and final Classic Horror Movie, namely The Indestructible Man.
- The Creepy Crawly Creature Feature returns with a presentation at the Lakeview Library "Spiders, snakes owls, bats, ravens and black cats are featured" in these science-oriented programs about creatures nocturnal and spooky.
- It ain't Diagon Alley, but the Harold Potterson's Horrific Halloween Haunts at the Eplegaarden Orchard in Fitchburg will present plenty of magical opportunities as it kicks off its final weekend.
- The final day of "historically-themed scares" at Sun Prairie's Most Haunted, performed at the Main Street Shopping Center, includes tales of the Bray Road Beast, the Waunaukee UFO flap of 1989, and more "mind expanding, bone chilling, and scream inducing experiences."
- There's a Halloween party at the Stoughton Library, full of "goblins, ghosts and ghoulish foolishness."
- The ninth day of Halloween marks the ninth day of scares at the haunted house and other fun at the Janesville Jaycees Spooktacular. Saturday also includes a presentation on trick-or-treat safety and a health fair.
- The Schumacher Farm County Park in Waunaukee is the home of Halloween Happenings on Saturday evening, featuring hayrides, campfires, skits and treats. Just like summer camp, but in the autumn!
- The penultimate Horror in the Dark is looking to scare at Olin Park.
- Johnny Rocker & the High Rollers will host a Halloween costume contest at the Firehouse Bar & Grill in Mount Horeb.
- Old Dogs New Trick will rock the Bourbon Street Grille in Monona with a Monster Bash, costumes and prizes.
- Digibot, Arlo Leach and The Beaves will scare up a storm at the Art Paul Schlosser Tribute CD release at the Klinic.
- There's another big line-up at the King Club, where the Halloween Spooktacular will feature: "trainwreck cabaret" from Screamin' Cyn Cyn & the Pons; "dancey garage ecstacy," from Chicago's The Dials; "cock 'n' roll," from Milwaukee's Wolfbite; "the best thing you'll ever see in your life," in Dave Dean & His Musical Forklift from Bloomington, Indiana; and finally, "technicalish awesome" stuff from Coup de Foudre.
- Houses in Motion will be playing Talking Heads covers in a full David Byrne big suit at Café Montmartre.
- If you want to get close but not too close to the action on State Street, the Orpheum Stage Door is the home of a Halloween party featuring Know Boundaries, Del Mar, Selector Z and Avets.
- Three DJs -- ScaryMike, Desmodus and WhiteRabbit -- will provide the soundtrack for Kaidan, hosted by Chrome at the Inferno. This event is "based on the terrifying and relentless ghosts of Japanese legend," and includes a costume contest and other Halloween surprises.
- Club 5 by the Beltline is hosting a Halloween costume party with DJ Tony R.
- Presented by WORT and Maximum Ink, the High Noon Halloween Party is a tribute band extravaganza. The line-up features Grinder (a Judas Priest tribute)m Way Off The Danzig (a Misfits and Danzig tribute), Suicidal Squad (a Suicidal Tendancies tribute), and Yarrr!!! (classic pirate rock from the High Seas).
- Remember, Daylights Savings Time ends early Sunday morning, meaning that bar time will be extended one hour, as will the revelry on State Street.
The Tenth Day of Halloween (Oct. 29): Ten cops arriving...
- Who knows how long Saturday night will stretch into Sunday morning. The day will dawn soon enough, though.
- The morning after starts across the little lake with the Monona Farmers' Market at Ahuska Park. The final one of the year, the Sunday morning "Creepy, Crawly Halloween Market" will feature gourd painting, caramel apples and more.
- There's a Halloween magic show with Wayne the Wizard at the Waisman Center Children's Theatre. It will feature "exciting new tricks, amazing new illusions, and special surprises abound in this wacky, festive, and fun Halloween-themed show."
- Those with an interest in local history can take the Tales of the Lost City hike at the UW Arboretum. This regular Halloween-timed walk features a "failed 1920s residential area" that has since become an "abandoned dream of a 'Venice of the North.'"
- Michael Norman will be discussing Haunted Homeland at Borders Books East.
- The tenth day of Halloween marks the tenth day of scares at the haunted house and other fun at the Janesville Jaycees Spooktacular.
- Sunday marks the final day of Harold Potterson's Horrific Halloween Haunts at Eplegaarden Orchard in Fitchburg. You won't find out whether or not Snape dies or Harry lives, but you will find a sorting hat, a levitation station, and more stuff too dangerous for muggles.
- The Homestead Bar & Grill in Arlington is the site of a Halloween party with Frank James and a costume contest.
- VFW Post 7591 in Cottage Grove will host a Halloween party, complete with dancing to the tunes of the Mr. Lucky Swing Band.
- Club 5 will host Alicia D. Stone's Halloween Drag Show late Sunday.
- Finally, DJ Nick Nice will be spinning mash-ups at his Fruity Booty: Halloween Edition at the downtown Great Dane.
The Eleventh Day of Halloween: (Oct. 30): Eleven doorbells dinging...
- Those vampires remain ravenous. Rather than quenching their thirst, why not be sanguine and donate your blood for a good cause at two American Red Cross blood drives on Monday. The are located at the GEF III and the Orpheum Theatre, both downtown. The old movie palace will also feature a continuous screening of Madison's own Buckystein, alongside treats from WORT and WYOU.
- Monday marks the penultimate day of the Janesville Jaycees Spooktacular, featuring a House of Horrors and a Haunted Train Ride.
The Twelfth Day of Halloween: (Oct. 31): Twevle tricksters treating...
- All Hallows Eve marks the final night of Horror in the Dark at Olin Park, at least until next year.
- The Janesville Jaycees Spooktacular makes its bow for the year on Halloween. Next year will mark the first year of the event's second triennial.
- There's one last Halloween safety session on the day itself, hosted by Parents Place West and located at Covenant Presbyterian Church.
- The Wisconsin Historical Museum will host a History Sandwiched In lunchtime screening of Frankenstein, the silent version electrified by Edison Studios.
- The North/Eastside Senior Coalition hosts a Halloween party at the Warner Park Community Recreation Center.
- Unity the Band wishes fans a Happy Halloween for their "crazy night of trix and treats" at the Cardinal Bar.
- There's a TurboJugend Halloween Bloodbath at the King Club, complete with the talents of Faghat, Brainerd and The Skintones. "Spread Darkness Forever," is their refrain. "Everyone in town knows the real goblins, ghouls, witches and warlocks party hardest on the actual night of Halloween itself, so dust off that costume one more time as Faghat rolls in The King Club for a night of Halloween debauchery and excess."
- The Palace Latin Club is the site of a Halloween party featuring DJ Maxxx.
- DJ Tim will play an Underage Halloween Costume Party at Club 5.
- Karri Daley & the Oncken Jazz Expression will play a Halloween Masquerade Party on the Square, located at Kimia Lounge.
- The Weary Traveler on Willy Street is the place for a Reclaim Halloween/Scorpio Party, featuring "spooky dance grooves" from The Real Jaguar and DJ Nick Nice.
- Let's end Halloween with that scary dude Bob Dylan, who is performing at the Kohl Center on All Hallows, accompanied by an acoustic version of the Foo Fighters.