Trick-or-treating may be the main event of many Halloween celebrations, but the spooky holiday also presents a perfect opportunity for grown-ups to put on a costume and have a night out on the town.
Check out The Chronicle’s guide to parties, boo-zy bar crawls, mesmerizing music, otherworldly outings, supernatural speakeasies at sea, and more freaky celebrations for the 21-and-up crowd.
Goldenvoice Presents: Cradle of Filth — Cruelty and the Beast, Once Human, 3Teeth
A Halloween-time performance by extreme metal bands, with a heart of filthy darkness, featuring the band led by vocalist Dani Filth.
Outside Lands Night Shows
Taking place at Bimbo’s 365 Club, the New Parish, the Independent, Rickshaw Stop, Balboa Theater, 1015 Folsom, the Warfield, and Fox Theater Oakland, these evening concerts will feature artists participating in the Outside Lands festival, which is set for Friday-Sunday, Oct. 29-31, in Golden Gate Park. Scheduled performers include Drama with Brijean, the Hu, Mark E. Bassy, Kaytranada, Dr. Dog, Arizona, Rufus du Sol, Marc Rebillet and others.
Thursday Nights: Polyrhythmic Percussion of the Philippines
Enjoy Philippine polyrhythmic percussion music with Kultura Kapwa kulintang ensemble; explore the Asian Art Museum galleries; mix and mingle and shop the gift store at this evening event. Food and drinks available for purchase.
Come in costume and ready to enjoy creepy science and crawly creatures at a “wild” Halloween party, scheduled to include a costume contest; drag performances with drag legend Heklina and Rice Rockettes; live sets with Sweater Funk DJs; and watch biologists Diana Jacobsmeyer, Jacob Gorneau and Katherine Montana in conversation about specimens from the museum collection, including live, glowing scorpions. Halloween-themed cocktails and dancing will be offered in the west garden.
Exploratorium After Dark: ‘Fright Night’
Learn about what triggers our fear response, explore common superstitions, and enjoy a spooky cocktail and live DJ sets to get you lurching about the dance floor. Food and drinks will be available to purchase and consume in outdoor spaces.
Devilish Inspirations: Summoning Witches, Demons and Black Magic at the Piano
If you are staying home this year, set the mood in-house with this virtual event — hosted by San Francisco Conservatory of Music director Edwin Outwater and horror icon Peaches Christ — featuring haunting piano music videos. The program is set to feature pianists Sarah Cahill, Allegra Chapman, Keisuke Nakagoshi, Daniel Glover, Jeffrey LaDeur, Solomon Ge, Dee Spencer, Ryan Sheng, Brent Smith and mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich performing works by Scriabin, Ravel, Nina Simone, Schubert and others. Proceeds will benefit the Ross McKee Foundation.
CrawlSF Halloween Weekend Pub Crawls
This homespun bar crawl’s Halloween weekend event will feature more than 25 participating clubs, a party bus for help with transportation between venues, and a costume contest with prizes for best individual and group entries.
Frank Olivier’s Twisted Cabaret: Halloween Spooktacular
Join the comedic insanity with world juggling champion/comedian Frank Olivier’s one-man show, held exclusively over Halloween weekend.
Halloween at Sea S.F. Bay Cruise Party
Dance with werewolves and witches to live bands La Sonora Dinamita, Oro Solido, Orquesta Saboricua, Orquesta Liberacion and DJ sets on four levels. The event features refreshments and cocktails at seven bars; a costume contest; and city night views from aboard a classic river boat built in Louisiana.
Cirque du Sebastopol Halloween Party
HopMonk Sebastopol hosts their annual holiday event, set up as a vintage circus with stilt walkers, clowns, Zoltar, cabaret and carny action, cotton candy, popcorn, photo booths and more. Night one is set to feature live heavy metal/mariachi music with Metalachi; and on the second night, belly dance with Mahari and DJ sets from David Starfire and Soohan.
8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Oct. 29-30. HopMonk Tavern, 230 Petaluma Ave, Sebastopol. 707-829-7300. hopmonk.com
Halloween Horror Benefit for West Oakland Punks with Lunch
A punk rock Halloween benefit party featuring performances by Sore Thumb, MJ Shaw, Grooblen, Outer District, and El Winnebago.
Public Works SF Halloween Weekend
Three nights of Halloween-themed events are set to feature Polyglamorous and Mystopia’s “Horror Story: Blood Moon” on Friday and a costume party with Berlin DJ Acid Pauli on Saturday, or dig into “Wormhole: Halloween” with a long list of performers scheduled on Sunday evening.
9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29; 10 p.m. Oct 30; 6 p.m. Oct. 31. $20-$40. Vaccination proof required. 161 Erie St., S.F. 415-496-6738. publicsf.com
Stu Allen and Mars Hotel Halloween Celebration
Led by guitarist/singer Stu Allen (Phil and Friends, Melvin Seals and JGB), a revolving cast of musicians makes up the Mars Hotel band. Drawing mainly from the Grateful Dead’s catalog, they aim to delight dancing Deadheads at a late season, outdoor show at the beloved local haunt, currently owned by Grateful Dead bass player Phil Lesh.
4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30; 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, reservations and vaccination proof required. $35. Terrapin Crossroads Beach Park, 100 Yacht Club Drive, San Rafael. 415-524-2773. terrapincrossroads.net
Retroween with Mickey Avalon Live
Live DJ sets starting at 10 p.m. after the live music; Halloween costume contest; spooky props and decor; pinball machines.
Om Nom Nom Non-Binary Burlesque Drag Circus
Nitrix Oxide hosts a gender-expansive Halloween event with burlesque, drag, a freak show and circus performers to entertain all. Performers scheduled include the Max Madame, Jerucifer, Obsidenne Obsurd, Queer Al Skankovic, Beux Bella Badass and go-go dancing from Rae Lune and others. Local, non-binary artists Pervy Pins, Costume Eclectic and Martin Vore will be on site and vending their wares.
Bolloween Ball Cruise: Halloween Costume Party
A Bollywood-themed Halloween costume party on the bay with prizes for best costumes. The Instant Karma event will feature cocktails and light bites, city views and dancing with DJ Dharak during a three-hour bay cruise.
Speakeasy San Francisco Halloween Party Cruise
A flapper/speakeasy-themed event takes attendees back to the 1920s on board the Commodore fleet’s Fume Blanc steamboat replica. With live DJ sets; open bar for four hours; three decks and dance areas; partially open deck for the views and dancing under the stars. Costumes encouraged.
Smiley’s Electro Haunted House Party with the Crooked Stuff
A night of ghoulish, live electro funk and soul music. DJ Ison plans to spin before the show and between sets. Costumes encouraged.
Power Exchange Presents: 25th Annual Naughty Halloween Ball
If you are feeling daring, check out the classic adults-only club with three floors of entertainment as it welcomes costumed exhibitionists and voyeurs alike to an over-the-top Halloween celebration.
W San Francisco Halloween: Sinister Chic Masquerade and Costume Ball
Don your best costume for a hotel-wide Halloween party, set to include four music areas with 12 DJs, including Felli Fel.
Into the Dark: “Terror Ball” Halloween Soiree
Peaches Christ is scheduled to host a Halloween eve party, featuring a costume contest with prizes; live cabaret performances with Polly Amber Ross and Sean Leone, Alexiel de Ravenswood, Cosimo, Interrobang the Dragon, Mocha Fapalatte and Cream; dancing and DJ sets; “Otoacoustic Emissions,” composed by Jacob Adler and performed by students at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; an open bar; a carnival-style adult fun zone; and includes admission to the frightening “Immortal Reckoning” experience.
Katdelic Halloween Masquerade Throwdown
A funky dance party with a live Katdelic performance, featuring P-Funk All-Star Ronkat Spearman and sets from DJ Kevvy Kev. Costumes encouraged.
Halloween Weekend at the Sweetwater
10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29; 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30; 9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31. $25-$33, reservations and vaccination proof required. Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley. 415-388-3850. sweetwatermusichall.com
Haunted Hoedown with the Fort Knox Five
The D.C.-based music collective with Steve Raskin, Jon Horvath, Rob Myers and Sid Barcelona will be joined by favorite Space Cowboys DJs and guests on three stages.
10 p.m.-4 a.m. Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 30-31. $20-$40, reservations required. The Great Northern, 119 Utah St., S.F. 415- 626-7001. thegreatnorthernsf.com
MidwaySF: Tsunami Halloween
A Halloween party with live and DJ sets from Noodles, Miles Medina, Jayneal, Shawn Looney, DJ Lex and others. Hosted by Fran Boogie.
Halloween Night with Dead Meadow
Mad Alchemy Liquid Lights sets the scene for a live show with psychedelic rock, featuring vocalist/guitarist Jason Simon, bassist Steve Kille and drummer Mark Laughlin. Costumes encouraged. The Flash Hits open.