Sure, there are a few things to do this weekend that aren't steeped in all things gothic and horrific; we'll cover them at the close of this roundup. But this weekend is all about haunted houses, haunted plays, haunted improv, haunted documentaries, haunted community festivals; we could go on. So unless you've enlisted in the War against Halloween — which is, after all, a pagan holiday devoted to mischief and the worship of malevolent spirits — then there's plenty of fun to be had and screams to be unleashed this weekend.
First up, click here for all of our haunted house reviews, exhaustively investigated by our crack team of Halloween reviewers, most of whom came back alive. Five star reviews went to Indy Scream Park (the "summer blockbuster movie thrill ride of the season," according to Paul Pogue) and Asylum House, which is distinguished by, according to Pogue, its "in-your-face actors, who go full-contact, full-bore horror and aren’t above throwing the occasional visitor under Jack the Ripper’s bed."
And then you have all manner of other non-haunted house fun. There's theater, including NoExit's Frankenstein, a faithful-to-the-book production with pretty nifty puppets; Q Artistry's Cabaret Poe, a song-and-dance interpretations of Poe's horror tales; ComedySportz's improv riff on the Headless Horseman tale; the Morris-Butler House Museum's From Dark Pages, an interactive mystery play that stars Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Watson (Holmes has recently died); and an interactive mystery dinner at The Propylaeum.
And then there's film: Haunting at Fox Hollow Farm, Dan Hall's documentary on his paranormal investigations of a Westfield home once inhabited by a serial killer will screen through the weekend at the downtown IMAX, and Kubrick's The Shining will play the IMA Friday. And then there's spooky ballet (the Indiana Ballet Conservatory's Phantom at the Opera at the IMA Sunday), spooky festivals (the Irvington Halloween Festival, whose weeklong program closes Oct. 29 with a street fair on Washington Street), spooky proms (a Zombie Prom at Birdy's Friday, with proceeds going to an orphanage in Nepal, because zombies can be concerned about social justice too).
And we still haven't mentioned the Indianapolis Art Center's Day of the Dead commemoration on Oct. 29, a day-long festival featuring plenty of music, dance, and a talk by featured artist Salvador Jiménez Flores.
Finally, for those who are, for whatever reason, averse to the empire of Halloween, there are a few other blood and underworld-free choices. Jericho, which tells the story of Beth, a New Yorker whose husband died in the World Trade Center, in a poignant exploration of how we, as Americans, grieve individually and on a national level, opened yesterday at the Phoenix; it runs through Nov. 20. And the DePue Brothers Band, a violin four-piece that includes ISO concertmaster Zach DePue, will bring their genre-blending mix (mostly bluegrass and rock) to the Indiana History Center Sunday.
As always, consult our calendar for even more options. Good luck keeping your head on your shoulders, what with the Headless Horseman circling town.