Halloween for families, spooky date nights and ‘La Traviata’ online in this week’s ‘Things to Do’

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Girl in costume holding a pumpkin

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Celebrating Halloween in COVID times requires planning, but some local venues are answering the call with socially-distanced offerings. Culture may be virtual these days but it’s alive and well with Opera Philadelphia and Lady Alma, along with Vertical Current. For the latest coronavirus protocols, it’s a good idea to call venues or check websites ahead of your trip, as things can change quickly due to the pandemic.

Family Halloween

Trick-or-treating is limited this year as social distancing requires a different approach to Halloween. But parents still have some ‘safer’ options, including the reconfigured drive-ins that sprung up this year in parking lots all over the region. Parking Lot Horrors: Drive-In Movie Experience takes place at the King of Prussia Mall this weekend with a different scary movie each night, including “Goonies” and “The Grudge.” You’re encouraged to dress in costume. The Harvest Land event at Varner Farms in Collegeville, Pennsylvania goes through November and includes a five-acre corn maze, horse or tractor wagon rides and a Candy Carnival on Oct. 31. Pre-registration is recommended. Hershey Park In the Dark also has a series of Halloween-themed activities through Nov. 1. You can find more family-friendly options here.

Get ghosted

If you’re familiar with the dating term ‘ghosting’ you know it means when a prospective lover disappears. But the area’s ghost tours of real-life scary places are likely better enjoyed with a date who can make you feel safe while you check out some eerie local spots. Philadelphia Ghost Tours and Ghost Tours of New Hope are available year-round. They both feature walking tours of some of the region’s creepiest places and can be joined as a single or couple. There are also options to create your own group of eight or more in New Hope, or 15 or more in Philadelphia, which in these times means a ‘quarantine pod’ or family from the same household.

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Local vocals

Lady Alma and Vertical Current will perform via livestream on Thursday, Oct. 29. Alma Horton is the area’s preeminent house music vocalist and her incendiary live performances are part of the reason why. Formed at Temple University by then-student Christopher Stevens in 2009, Vertical Current has released four critically acclaimed albums since 2011, including “The Future is Bright,” out now. Opera Philadelphia presents “La traviata” online starting Friday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. for purchase or rental. This is the stream of soprano Lisette Oropesa making her Opera Philadelphia debut in 2015 as Violetta and includes an interview with her, director Paul Curran, tenor Alek Shrader (Alefreo) and baritone Stephen Powell (Germont). Orapesa, who performed “La traviata” at the Metropolitan Opera pre-COVID, was described as “exquisite” and her performance as “larger than life.”

Spooky history

Society Hill’s Hill-Physick House is known for its historical landmark designation and as the only free-standing Federal-style townhouse in the area. During this time, however, it’s also billed as haunted, and a Friday candlelight tour at 6 and 8 p.m. will show intrepid visitors why. If you should miss that, they are also hosting a walking tour of the history of the plague in Philadelphia on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 1:30 p.m. (Sunday is sold out). If you’re thinking it’s about the infamous “Spanish” flu of 1918, which decimated the city, you’d be wrong. It covers the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793, which killed over 5,000 Philadelphians.

Scary movie house

While the Blumhouse is not a physical place, the production company is a purveyor of scary movies, founded by Jason Blum, that often finds characters searching for a sense of home. “Welcome to the Blumhouse” is the Amazon Prime series featuring horror films from the same folks that brought you “Get Out,” “Paranormal Activity” and “The Purge.” This October, they dropped four new movies on the streamer – “The Lie,” “Nocturne,” “Black Box” and “Evil Eye,” just in time for Halloween. One of the great things about this lineup is its diversity: two of the films, “Black Box” and “Evil Eye” star people of color. All films are streaming now on Amazon Prime.

Monster mash

If you’re truly curious about varying myths about monsters, vampires and other eerie creatures, we’ve found the event for you – and you can enjoy it from home. The Penn Museum is hosting a virtual storytelling night, Monsters, Myths and Legends on Friday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. for adults only. The event includes five scholars to provide insight on all of the above and even some surprise guests. It comes along with the chance to sample a “mystery six” beer pack from participating local merchants Bottle Shop on Passyunk, BottleShop at Local 44, Bottle Bar East and Pinocchio’s Beer Garden to Go. (Beers can be picked up or ordered for delivery.)

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Respect for the departed

The Delaware Art Museum is hosting a Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos Ceremony and Labyrinth walk. It will take place at the museum’s sculpture garden and labyrinth on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 1 p.m. Hosted by Delaware’s Hispanic liaison, India Colón, the ceremony will include performances by “Campantlanezi” Danza Azteca del Anahuac, Grupo Xtasys, and Seylin Abarca. Attendees are encouraged to bring pictures of their loved ones to place on altars and food can be purchased onsite from Los Taquitos de Puebla.

Keep checking in with “Things To Do” as we continue to provide our picks for entertainment during the industry’s COVID-19 hiatus. Please consult our coronavirus updates to keep up with the latest information regionally.

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