L.A.'s Top Halloween Happenings

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Costume Carnaval, Danny Elfman at the Bowl, and Philip Glass accompanying Bela Lugosi are among the spooky-good options for celebrating the haunting holiday.

With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, the weekend is chock-full of events: There's a Zombie Fashion Show at Lot613, the NoHo Monster Bash in the Valley, Le Nuit de Diable at the Edison, and Halloween Booootie at the Echoplex in Silver Lake. But the festivities begin well before the trick-or-treaters hit the streets.

If you’re looking for wows more than scares, you can check out Horror Made Here at Warner Bros. Studios through Nov. 1. While Universal remains king of classic horror, Warner Bros. has accumulated enough titles over the years (especially with their 2008 acquisition of New Line), to make a minor play for the throne. There’s Freddy Kruger’s claw from A Nightmare on Elm Street, Annabelle, the doll from The Conjuring, a cracked door from little Regan’s bedroom in The Exorcist, as well as costumes worn by Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and a pint-sized Kirsten Dunst in 1994's Interview with the Vampire. Oscar nominated effects artist Christien Tinsley (The Passion of the Christ) contributes a step-by-step exhibit demonstrating how creature effects were achieved in some of his movies.

For classic horror, look no further than the downtown Ace Theatre where Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet will play live to Tod Browning’s 1931 masterpiece, Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi. Commissioned by Universal Studios in 1998 during the film’s restoration, Glass has toured with the score in the past, including a Halloween concert a year later at UCLA’s Royce Hall. But the Ace, a 1927 Spanish Gothic revival movie palace, couldn’t be better suited for the movie if it were Carfax Abbey. Wear black and white on Halloween night so you’ll fit right in at the Black and White Ball at neighboring Ace Hotel (tickets cost extra). Dracula plays Oct. 29, 30, 31 at 8 p.m., with a 4 p.m. matinee on Halloween. 

While costumes from American Horror Story will be plentiful this season, you’ll be amused to find yourself stepping into the Mexican Horror Story by Lucha Va-Voom at the Mayan Theatre in downtown Oct 28-29. It’s a night of Mexican masked wrestling, striptease and comedy with match-ups including Evil Doctors vs. Masked Maniacs, or Chicken vs. Dirty Sanchez. Team matches include Dr. Cerebro and Dr. Maldad taking on Mr. Cacao & Relampago, and mini-wrestlers Miss Rita & the Li’l Homies will be there for the not-to-be-missed All Mini Monsters Match! 

On Halloween, West Hollywood’s annual Costume Carnaval along Santa Monica Boulevard between Doheny and La Cienega is one of the largest in North America. Festivities start at 7 p.m. but come early. Last year some half million revelers turned it into a monster bash with some of the sexiest and most original getups imaginable, like the selfie Ellen DeGeneres took at the 2014 Oscars blown up large enough to accommodate three friends along with Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and Brad Pitt. Of course there will be food vendors, photo booths, patio parties and drink specials for ghouls that need to rest their weary bones. Last year, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Lisa Vanderpump was named Queen of the Carnaval, joining previous title-holders, Queen Latifah and Rihanna. This year promises to bring a whole new harvest of horrors, drag queens, jokers, batmen, Bartmen and even H.R. Haldeman, everyone from Red Skelton to Jack Skellington will be there. 

In holiday-mashup spirit, The Nightmare Before Christmas will be screened with a live orchestra and choir led by conductor John Mauceri. Singing the part of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King who hijacks Christmas, will be composer Danny Elfman, just as he did in the 1993 stop-motion classic directed by Tim Burton. The Bowl will be transformed into Halloween Town and audience members are encouraged to come early for a costume contest and other pre-show activities beginning 90 minutes before curtain at 8 p.m., Oct. 31, and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1. 

If what you really want to do is kick back with an old movie, you could let your feet take you where they take everyone eventually — the graveyard. In this case, Hollywood Forever Cemetery where The Rocky Horror Picture Show will get a 40th anniversary screening, including a costume contest, photo booth, surprise guests and a little dancing among the gravestones. The 1975 cult classic starring Tim Curry as Frank-N-Furter, a libidinous transvestite from another planet, and a young Susan Sarandon as good girl Janet Weiss, will undergo a time-warp next year when Fox airs a TV movie remake of the musical starring Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) and directed by Kenny Ortega.

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