Scary Affairs

A frightening array of the scariest parties on S.F.'s biggest holiday

Fall Fair Benefit & Carnival: This autumnal, family-friendly fair features with not only four live bands, fun games, a Beanie Baby toss, and a spooky haunted house, plus a doughnut-eating contest. Life doesn't get much better than that, folks. Sat., Oct. 30, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., free. Creative Arts Charter School, 1802 19th St., at Arkansas, 695-5480.

Fallout Halloween Party: Richshaw Stop throws a bash featuring punk and indie rock bands Fallout and Houndstooth and the Wolfhounds. Sat., Oct. 30, 9 p.m., $5. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell (at Van Ness), 861-2011.

Family Halloween Day: At this family-friendly festival runs the gamut from the creepy (live bat presentation!) to the, well, not so creepy (Jackie Jones plays the saw for her "adorable" dancing cat!) Creepy and cute. Sat., Oct. 30, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Randall Museum, 199 Museum (at Roosevelt), 554-9600.

Flametal: Flamenco dancing and metal music have -- at last! -- come together at this unusual Halloween event, which should prove to be both sensual and head-banging. Sat., Oct. 30, 8:30 p.m., $15-$17. La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck (at Prince), Berkeley, 510-849-2568.

Funk-loween Freakfest: Catch funk rhythms from Mission Players. Sun., Oct. 31, 9:30 p.m., $5. Boom Boom Room, 1601 Fillmore (at Geary), 673-8000, www.boomboomblues.com.

Gardens Ghoullery Walk: This event -- for kids under ten and their families, making it candy-stealing, smashing-pumpkin teenager-free - will have a costume parade, rounds of musical chairs, an egg hunt (why not?), and prizes. Sun., Oct. 31, 12-4 p.m., free. Yerba Buena Gardens, Fourth St. & Mission, 978-2787, www.yerbabuenaarts.org.

Gaskells Halloween Dance: Waltz to this fancy Halloween ball posthaste. Brassworks will play tunes to sway to such dances as the Victorian waltz, the polka, schottisches, mazurkas, and more. Be sure to don your most festive formal attire. (Think ballroom scene in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion ride.) Sat., Oct. 30, 8 p.m., $15, www.gaskellball.com. Scottish Rite Theater, 1547 Lakeside (at 17th St.), Oakland, 925-798-1300.

Ghost Festival 4: Mermaid Meat and Other Japanese Ghost Stories: Brenda Wong Aoki's ghost tales are hauntingly told with jazz music and drums. Oct. 29-30, 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 31, 2 p.m., $25. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum, 701 Mission (at Third St.), 978-ARTS, www.yerbabuenaarts.org.

Ghost Walk at City Hall: Assassinations, earthquake devastation, and harrowing legislation -- San Francisco City Hall has seen its fair share of the macabre over past hundred years. So why not take a tour of the famous hall to learn interesting and ghostly trivia that's a part of our city's history? Arrive early. Wed., Oct. 27, 6:30 p.m., free. City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl. (at Fulton), 554-5184.

Ghost Walk at the Palace: President Warren G. Harding died at this famous hotel. What's more, David Fincher's The Game was filmed here, showcasing the leathery Michael Douglas. What could be scarier? Take a tour of this lovely, historic hotel while hearing tales of its haunted past. Tour starts in the main lobby. Fri., Oct. 29, 6:30 p.m., free. The Palace, 2 New Montgomery (at Market), 512-1111.

Gruesome Tales of Death and Destruction & Random Acts of Violence: The Odeon (where almost every night seems like Halloween) presents a unique Halloween experience with experimental mime troupe Kinetic Theory, plus circus acts such as hand-balancing pirates, zombie contortionists, accordion music, and more. Not to be missed. Sun., Oct. 31, 8 p.m., $5-$10. Odeon, 3223 Mission (at Valencia), 550-6994.

Gyro's 3-D Fear Factory: Pier 17 turns into two 3-D haunted houses: Clown Alley and the Curse of the Pirates Tomb. Every 4 days, 7-11 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 31, 8 p.m.-1 a.m., $17.95, 800-939-GRYRO, www.3dfearfactory.com. Pier 17, Embarcadero & Green Sts.

Hallowed Ground: It's like a very special Halloween episode of The Love Boat, minus the big boat and B-list celebrities, starring well-known local DJs Gabriel & Dresden, Dragn'fly, Garth, Ellen Ferrato, Hoj, Tafner, and Sunder. Sat., Oct. 30, 9 p.m., $15. Paradise Lounge, 1501 Folsom (at 11th St.), 621-1911.

Halloween Blues Bash: Spend this usually wild night chilling out, listening to The Andre DeVito Band throw the funk and the blues. Sun., Oct. 31, 8 p.m.-midnight, $5. Lou's Pier 47, 300 Jefferson, at Jones, 771-5687.

Halloween Costume Party for Dogs: What could very well be the cutest thing to ever hit San Francisco asks you to dress up your beloved pooch in the most creative and darling outfit. Professional photographers will be on hand to snap a picture of your best friend, and the profits go to Rocket Dog Rescue. Aw. Sun., Oct. 31, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., free. Noe Valley Pet Company, 1451 Church, at Cesar Chavez, 282-7385.

Halloween Festival at the YMCA: At this family-friendly event you will find a haunted house, face painting, crafts, refreshments, a live magician, and more. The best part, though, is that it's free. Sat., Oct. 30, 5-8 p.m., free. Stonestown YMCA, 333 Eucalyptus Dr., at 20th Ave., 242-7100.

Halloween in the Castro: This (in)famous party in the Castro is a sight to behold if you've never seen it or if you're a virgin to the the Bay Area. Be sure to dress up and play nicely with the other kids, folks, as this street party is loads of fun and quite the experience. Although it's a little more controlled than it has been over the past few years, it's still one of the city's most rowdy and wild events. Also, they now ask you to bring "no booze, no drugs, no bashing." Bwa-ha-ha! That's really rich, organizers. Sun., Oct. 31, 7 p.m., $3, www.halloweensf.com. Castro (at Market).

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