5 Utah events to shake up your Halloween routine

USA Utah News

You’ve decorated the house with ghosts and goblins, stocked up on enough fun-size candy to sink a barge, and if you go to one more haunted house, you’re going to punch the chainsaw guy right in his hockey mask. You need a different kind of Halloween experience.

We’re here to help. Here are five events — some for kids, some just for the grown-ups — that can take your October spookiness in new directions. (Find more events at NowPlayingUtah.com.)

(Photo courtesy of The Gateway) A girl decorates a jack-o’-lantern at last year’s Pumpkin Festival at The Gateway. This year’s edition happens Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at The Gateway’s Olympic Legacy Fountain, at 50 S. Rio Grande St., Salt Lake City.

Children can decorate pumpkins and take part in other activities Friday at the Pumpkin Festival at The Gateway, 50 S. Rio Grande St. in downtown Salt Lake City.

The free event at The Gateway’s Olympic Legacy Plaza runs from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday — a perfect time for parents looking for something for their kids to do on a day school is out (for the fall break formerly known as UEA weekend). The event’s sponsors, Utah Foster Care and my529, will provide pumpkins, paint and decorating materials so kids can make their own jack-o’-lanterns.

Also at the event: food trucks, a petting zoo with goats (provided by GogaGuys LLC), characters from “Your Fairy Godmother,” and representatives from Salt Lake City Police, Utah Foster Care and my529.

(Photo courtesy of Pumpkin Nights) A fire dancer is part of the entertainment at Pumpkin Nights, a walk-through Halloween experience, happening evenings through Nov. 2, 2019, at the Utah State Fairpark.

What the annual Ice Castles installation in Midway has done for icicles, Pumpkin Nights could do for gourds.

Pumpkin Nights is an interactive, walk-through installation featuring more than 3,000 pumpkins — hand-carved, real and synthetic — through seven “lands,” including a cityscape, a pirate cove and an “enchanted pumpkin forest.”

A festival area features as its centerpiece “Jack-O-Lynn,” a 9-foot-tall pumpkin. Around it are food vendors, artists carving pumpkins, a fire show, a movie screening and kids’ activities.

Pumpkin Nights happens at the Utah State Fairpark, 1000 W. North Temple in Salt Lake City, every night from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., now through Nov. 2. Admission is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (age 60 and up), $16 for children (4 to 12), and free for kids 3 and under. A family pack — two adults and two kids — is $65. Discounts are available on weekdays after 8 p.m. Go to PumpkinNights.com for details.

(Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox) Newly engaged Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick, near right) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon, right) encounter the strange Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry, left), in a scene from the 1975 cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Before interactive entertainment meant clicking a mouse, before “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” encouraged people to shout at the screen, there was “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

The 1975 camp classic is a musical send-up of monster movies, in which innocents Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) and Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) stumble into the lair of transvestite mad scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry). Generations of devoted fans have added prop comedy, shouted one-liners, and danced in the aisles to “The Time Warp” (“It’ll drive you insay-ay-ay-ay-ane”).

The Tower Theatre, at 876 E. 900 South in Salt Lake City, screens the movie Friday at midnight, Saturday at 8 p.m. and midnight — and again, Oct. 25, 26 and 31, at 8 p.m. and midnight. The shows on the 25th, 26th and 31st feature a live pre-show, starting at 7:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20, with proceeds going to Salt Lake Film Society. The price includes a prop bag handed out at the entrance. No outside props are allowed.

As an extra treat, SLFS is bringing Barry Bostwick, Brad Majors himself, to town on Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Tower. Tickets are $35, with a moderated onstage conversation with Bostwick at 8 p.m., followed by a screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” with shadowcast performers from Out of the Shadows Theatre Company, at 8:30 p.m. (Doors open at 7:30 p.m.) VIP ticket holders, for $100, can have one item autographed (starting at 6:30 p.m.), and get an exclusive T-shirt and premium seating.

Tickets to “Rocky Horror” or Bostwick’s appearance can be purchased at slfs.org.

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If you’ve never seen a silent movie, a screening of the 1925 silent classic “The Phantom of the Opera” at Edison Street Events — aka The Organ Loft — is a great introduction.

First off, there’s the movie, a tension-filled drama starring the legendary Lon Chaney, “the man of a thousand faces,” as the masked musician who kidnaps the young opera star Christine Daae (Mary Philbin) and grooms her from the catacombs below the Paris Opera House.

Equally fun, though, is the performance by Blaine Gale on Edison Street’s mighty Wurlitzer organ. The phrases “bells and whistles” and “pull out all the stops” originated with organs like this, and Gale uses every aspect of the Wurlitzer’s sound to augment the movie’s stunning and scary visuals.

“The Phantom of the Opera” screens at Edison Street Events, 3331 S. Edison St. (a quarter block east of State Street), from Oct. 22 to 25, at 7:30 p.m. each night. Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for children. Call 801-485-9265 to make reservations.

(August Miller | Courtesy of Utah Valley University) Jeff McCarthy, left, and Jacquelyne Jones star in “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” running Oct. 24-Nov. 9 at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts at Utah Valley University in Orem.

Except for “Rocky Horror,” there may not be a more appropriate musical for Halloween than “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Stephen Sondheim’s bloody tale features a murderous barber and his business partner, Mrs. Lovett, a baker who needs fillings for her meat pies.

Playing the title role is Jeff McCarthy, who has appeared in many TV and movie productions (most recently as a news anchor in “Joker”), and whose Broadway career includes creating the role of Officer Lockstock in the musical “Urinetown” — earning him a Drama Desk Award nomination off-Broadway. (McCarthy is a last-minute replacement for Provo-born Broadway star Will Swenson, who dropped out for a role in a new Netflix series.) Jacquelyne Jones, a UVU alumna, plays Mrs. Lovett, a role that earned her awards in a Chicago production.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, with 2 p.m. Saturday matinees on Oct. 26 and Nov. 2. Tickets are $45 and $35 for the public, $8 for students, and $13 for military and people 60 and older. Tickets are available online at uvu.universitytickets.org.

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