Parents shiver and curse as they accompany their kids around the cul-de-sac, the boys costumed as The Wiggles and the girls gussied up like The Pussycat Dolls. And we, the childless, gawk at the inappropriate sexual costumes and cluck, "Damn, those little candy-wranglers are onto something!" Yes, even without chilluns, the adult set can celebrate All Hallow's Eve, but you have to get in the sexyscary spirit in order to earn the candy (and by "candy" we clearly mean "appletinis and cash prizes").
Halloween starts five days early this year, kicking off with the Miso Scary 5 Halloween Bash on Thursday, October 27. Miso on Meramec (16 North Meramec Avenue, Clayton; call 314-863-7888 or visit www.misolounge.com for prices) invites you to wear your freakiest frock and offers preferential entrance to the costumed. Dance in the dungeon with the frightfully named DJ Gary Mac, and take a stab (bwa-ha-ha!) at the costume contest.
For you goblins who can't afford to be hungover at work the next day (along with the vampires who can, and crave a li'l hair of the dog), Al Hrabosky's (800 Cerre Street; 314-241-6969) is the place to be at 10 p.m. Friday, October 28. The Ghouls Night Out Party features terrifying special guests from MTV's The Real World in the form of Rachel (from the Austin season) and Syrus (from Boston). For $10 in advance ($15 at the door), you can Monster Mash to DJ Silver and try to scare up some "Best Costume" cash.
On Saturday, October 29, head to the east side at midnight for the "Bare As You Dare" Fantasy & Fetish Costume Ball at Faces (132 Collinsville Avenue, East St. Louis, Illinois; 618-271-7410 or www.facesnolimits.com). "Fantasy & Fetish" means costumes of chaps, Saran Wrap, liquid latex, body paint, strategically placed Swarovski crystals -- the sky's the limit (and a good costume)! Those dressed appropriately inappropriate get in free until 3 a.m. And if that's your third night out, might as well make it four with Faces' Masquerade Ball on Sunday, October 30, when costumes are required and rewarded. So break out the dental floss, and get to work on that costume: You could be walking away with a lot more than a plastic pumpkin full of Oh Henry!s. -- Kristyn Pomranz
Modern Times at UM-St. Louis
In these modern times, we know what the government says we should be concerned about -- and we have the pamphlets (and the duct tape) to prove it. Chris Coleman knows, too. This artist, who created his take on the old Charlie Chaplin film Modern Times, uses images from items like terrorism-preparedness brochures in his video to scrutinize our technological world and its downfalls. You can watch Coleman's Modern Times (a still of which is pictured) for free anytime from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday after the exhibit opens on Friday, October 28, in the lobby of the University of Missouri-St. Louis' Gallery 210 (TeleCommunity Center, 1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road). For more information visit www.umsl.edu/~gallery or call 314-516-5976; the exhibit closes December 10. -- Alison Sieloff
Last Halloween, Mr. Night ripped his Sexy Nurse costume. Utterly devastated, Night wept, and then he ate all the Baby Ruths meant for trick-or-treaters. This Halloween season, he's doing things differently. Join him at Carnivale outdoors at the Craft Alliance (6640 Delmar Boulevard, University City). From 4 to 8 p.m., Halloweeners of all ages can play games, check out art demonstrations, munch on carnival concessions, have their caricatures made and more. Six bucks gets you in, with $1 from every ticket donated to hurricane-relief efforts. And don't forget about the costume contest (though Mr. Night beseeches you not to copy his Sassy Cowpoke outfit). Call 314-725-1177 or visit www.craftalliance.org for more information or to buy tickets. -- Brooke Foster
Cat Got Your Tongue?
Paul Leni virtually created the haunted-house movie with his 1927 silent film The Cat and the Canary. A wealthy old man is dead, and his heirs are summoned to his creepy house for the reading of the will -- at night, of course. Winsome Annabelle inherits everything if she can spend a night in the house and prove she's sane, but the house is lousy with hidden passages and revolving walls and (soon enough) fresh corpses. Yeah, that's a good will. Probably didn't use that online do-it-yourself will kit at all. The New Music Circle provides a live, fully improvised score for The Cat and the Canary at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Saint Louis Art Museum. Tickets are $3 to $5; call 314-995-4963 or visit www.newmusiccircle.org for more information. -- Paul Friswold