Halloween celebrations, PJ Morton, and Philly jazz summit in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

Oct. 27 - Oct. 30: Halloween celebrations, including community and social events in N.J., Philly, and Delaware, are among this week's highlights.

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File photo: One of the clowns at Eastern State Penitentiary's ''Big Top Terror'' attraction poses menacingly. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

File photo: One of the clowns at Eastern State Penitentiary's ''Big Top Terror'' attraction poses menacingly. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Halloween is celebrated across the Delaware Valley in ways both expected and unexpected. Halloween with Horses, anyone? What about a musical version of “Saw” making its world debut? And Eastern State Penitentiary expands its annual offering to an “immersive experience” with five haunted houses. Día de Los Muertos is commemorated as well at Penn Museum’s annual celebration. If you’re not into Halloween-related activities, the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta takes place on Saturday and Sunday, which you can watch from the riverbank in Fairmount Park or via livestream.

Delaware | New Jersey | Philadelphia | Arts & Culture | Sports | Music


Deanna Fitzpatrick: An Evening with Spirit

There’s no better time than Halloween to try to connect with the dearly departed. Medium Deanna Fitzpatrick says that after consulting with a hypnotherapist for weight loss in 2001, she began to see Spirit. Fitzpatrick left banking in 2006 with the full support of her husband and daughters to become a full-time evidential medium, connecting people with the spirits of their loved ones. If you’re curious about whether or not this is possible, “Deanna Fitzpatrick: An Evening With Spirit” should convince you one way or another.

New Jersey

Haddonfield Haunted Night Market 

  • Where: On and around Kings Highway East, Haddonfield, N.J. 
  • When: Friday, Oct. 28, 4 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. 
  • How much: Free, pay as you go

The South Jersey town of Haddonfield hosts its first Night Market, just in time for Halloween. Local vendors, artists, and business people will line Kings Highway East with an array of items including clothing, apothecary, curiosities, had-art, pop art, and more. Temporary tattoos, face painting, and hair-tinseling will also happen onsite with a live DJ to keep the crowd amped and the sales going.

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The Battleship New Jersey Spirits Festival 

  • Where: Battleship New Jersey, 100 Clinton St., Camden, N.J.
  • When: Saturday, Oct. 29, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • How much: $50

Spirits will be at The Battleship New Jersey Spirits Festival, but not the haunting kind — at least that we know of. The kind of spirits this pre-Halloween event is welcoming are the ones you enjoy with ice in a glass. Tarot readings and a costume contest are part of the day’s offerings and the winner of the costume contest will receive a “coffin of spirits” drawn from local New Jersey distilleries, including: Independent Spirits, Jersey Spirits, Mission Spirits, Striped Lion Distilling, and more.

City of Camden’s Annual Trunk or Treat 

Camden residents can enjoy free face painting, rides, games, arts and crafts, and more at this community festival. The first 1,500 people are free with registration. Kids accompanied by an adult are encouraged to come in costumes and bring a bag to collect treats!

Halloween Spooktacular Drag Brunch 

  • Where: Vera Bar and Grill, 2310 Marlton Pike, Cherry Hill, N.J.
  • When: Sunday, Oct. 30, 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. 
  • How much: $15 

Volkie Leigh Versace hosts the Halloween Spooktacular Drag Brunch with special guests Stefani Steel, Crystal Envy, Nikita Sinn, and Buttakup. The queens will be performing and serving their best looks — so if you come in costume, be prepared to do the same. Brunch seating is first-come, first-serve.


Halloween in Philly

A creepy crown smiles.
(Courtesy of Museum of Illusions)
  • Where: Various venues 
  • When: Through Nov. 12
  • How much: Various prices

Halloween is the most popular non-secular holiday in the region and the area’s venues, cultural institutions, and event spaces provide a multitude of ways to celebrate. Eastern State Penitentiary offers “Halloween Nights,” a new immersive experience with five different haunted houses and themed bars. Lincoln Mill Haunted House, Philly’s newest scary attraction, has a (fictional) dark past and a high-scare factor with actors, animatronics, and special effects. It also offers “No-Scare Saturdays” for kids 7 and up. “Ghosts in the Hood” in a Germantown cemetery promises an “enchanted concert experience,” RuPaul’s Drag Race’s “The Night of the Living Drag” is at the Met Philadelphia on Thursday, the Stranger Things Halloween Party at The Victorian in Germantown is targeted to the college crowd, while the Spooky Veg History Walking Tour on Sunday is marketed more towards vegans. The Northern Liberties Hound-A-Ween and Fall Fest includes pet parents in the fun, as it boasts the city’s biggest pet costume contest, with a winning cash prize of $500.

Kid-Friendly Halloween

(Philadelphia Zoo)
  • Where: Various venues 
  • When: Throughout Oct. 31
  • How much: Various prices

Tricks are for kids… and so are treats at Halloween time, thus the many family-friendly celebrations around the city and ‘burbs. On Friday, Oct. 28 at the Schuylkill Center, the nighttime ticketed event Halloween Hikes and Hayrides includes food trucks and a movie screening. A costume parade and spider scavenger hunt are planned for the ticketed Barely Scarely Halloween Spooktacular at Smith Playground on Saturday, Oct. 29. Live music and trick-or-treating at local businesses are part of East Passyunk’s Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday starting at 11 a.m.; South Street’s PumpkinFest kicks off at noon and includes pumpkin decorating and hay wagon rides. Also on Saturday, CinéSPEAK hosts a free with registration all-ages movie night and community party with a screening of “Coraline” in West Philly; a showing of “The Addams Family” is also free with registration at the Navy Yard. Penn Museum’s annual CultureFest! Diá de los Muertos celebration happens on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Shofuso Center hosts Yokai Family Weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. to share more about the supernatural creatures of Japanese folklore. Perennial celebrations in the area include the Spooky Scarecrow Walk at Morris Arboretum through Monday, and Boo at the Zoo, the Halloween-themed event at The Philadelphia Zoo, which goes through Sunday, Oct. 30. The Museum of Illusions offers trick or treating for kids through Monday, free with museum admission.

Arts & Culture 

Philadanco: The Continuum 

  • Where: Perelman Theater, 300 S. Broad St., Kimmel Cultural Center
  • When: Friday, Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2 p.m., 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 30, 2 p.m.
  • How much: $29 and up

Now retired Philadanco founder Joan Myers Brown, 90, was just named to the 2022 Forbes’ 50 Over 50 list. (Philadelphia Orchestra principal guest conductor Nathalie Stuzmann, 57, is also on the list). She may have stepped down from leading the 50-plus-year-old dance company, but Brown’s influence hasn’t waned. The company’s latest production, “Continuum -/Now/New/Next” was choreographed by Hope Boykin, Bernard Gaddis, Francisco Gella, and Ephrat Asherie. It includes Gaddis’ “Stolen Moments” and Gella’s new work,  “Seasons.”

Jazz Philadelphia Summit

Jazz Philadelphia’s two-day hybrid summit offers both in-person and virtual discussions, panels, and networking celebrating America’s classical music, its enduring appeal, and its future. It’s open to students, teachers, musicians, and jazz aficionados. Both nights culminate in separately ticketed concerts. (Sadly, Friday night’s awards show and performance with Grammy-nominated vocalist Jazzmeia Horn is already sold out.) But you can still see Horn deliver Thursday’s keynote speech.


Head of the Schuylkill 

The Head of the Schuylkill regatta celebrates its 52nd year with its most inclusive event yet. There are 9,000 competitors of all levels and ages competing in over 150 races from 21 states and Canada. This year, almost half of the participants are women. The HOSR’s oldest competitor is an 86-year-old who’ll compete in one of the master’s races. The course starts under the Strawberry Mansion bridge but organizers say the best place to watch is at the Three Angels statues, about a mile from Boathouse Row. (I’ve watched from the Schuylkill River Grandstand and enjoyed the view.) You can also see it via livestream on their YouTube channel. Wherever you watch, it’s best to park and walk as Kelly Drive will be closed from Strawberry Mansion Bridge to Fountain Green Drive.


PJ Morton: Watch the Sun Tour

New Orleans-born musician PJ Morton has been a member of Maroon 5 since 2012. Along the way he’s established a career as a solo artist, too. Morton has won four Grammys for projects ranging from R&B and soul to gospel. His versatility helped him land a wide range of collaborators including Jill Scott, Yebba, Stevie Wonder, Wale, JoJo, Keke Wyatt, and Kierra Sheard. His latest release, “Watch the Sun,” was recently reissued in a deluxe version.


Nicki Minaj speaks into a microphone.
Nicki Minaj accepts the video vanguard award at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Prudential Center on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022, in Newark, N.J. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Power 99’s annual Powerhouse concert usually draws some of the industry’s biggest artists. This year, headliner Nicki Minaj fits the bill. She’ll be joined on the show by Moneybagg Yo, Armani White, Nigerian artist Tems, and  Kodak Black.

DJ Aktive “Protect Ya Neck” with special guest Slick Rick 

DJ Aktive hosts Protect Ya Neck, a Halloween party with a special guest. Legendary MC Slick Rick, best known for his classic 1988 album “The Great Adventures of Slick Rick,” is performing. Prizes will be given for best costume at what is billed as a “classic hip-hop party.” Complimentary cocktails courtesy of Hornitos will be available for the first hour, so plan to get there early. 21 and over only.

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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