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Calendar preview: Scary, not scary 

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ILLUSTRATION BY JACOB WALSH

This season is spooky enough right now without Halloween. And of course, it’s not the same this year. Some of the classics — haunted hayrides, kids screaming and licking their fingers, and any lingering apple-bobbing holdovers — are simply out of the question. But whether you want to heighten your sense of horror with more monsters in the shadows or just keep it cute with costume events for the kids, there’s no scarcity of scary and not-so-scary events this week. So yeah, we scared up a few highlights.

If a mention of The Haunted Forest is already too scary, just go ahead and skip this paragraph. Becker Farms out in Gasport (between Medina and Lockport), is hosting a very 2020 drive-thru affair on Friday and Saturday nights, 7 to 11 p.m. But beware: You will not be able to escape your vehicle ($40 per car). Meanwhile, down in East Bethany, Rolling Hills Asylum is just as haunted as ever, hosting 3-hour self-guided ghost hunts and guest psychic mediums ($49 to $89). Reservations for both events are required, as are adherence to COVID-19 procedures each venue has in place.

Kids can still distance safely at farm markets, such as the Pumpkin Patch & Harvest Activities at Stokoe Farms on Saturday, Oct. 31($16), Fall Fun at Long Acre Farms ($13 to $15) also on Saturday, or Pumpkin Palace at The Apple Farm in Victor — plus plenty more, off the path in any direction. At Seneca Park Zoo, kids can wear their costumes and go on the ZooBoo Spooktacular Tour on Saturday. Reservations are required for timed, one-hour tickets ($9 to $12; free for members), and fun packs with activities and candy are available for $5 purchase.

If you want to put some scare in your stroll, the classic ghost walks are still an option. The Fairport Ghost Walks, a tour of scary stories about homes and businesses through the village, will be on Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Registration is required, and space is limited. Another Halloween tradition is the Wayne County Historical Society Haunted History Walk, starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the courthouse on Broad Street in Lyons. Reservations are required.

For stories without the strolls, Genesee Country Village and Museum presents A Night of Edgar Allan Poe on October 29 and 30, at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Each session includes a performance of “The Tell-Tale Heart” and presentations of the life and works of Poe. Advance ticket purchase is required ($15 general admission and $12 for members). (UPDATE: This event is now sold out.)

For the scare-less stroll, kids can show off their costumes at the many Trunk or Treat events going on around town, such as the Black Kids Matter Trunk or Treat at the Pines of Perinton on Thursday, Oct. 29. The Fairport Coalition for Justice and Equity invites all kids to come in costume or none at all, and celebrate with the likes of Black characters such as Black Panther and Princess Tiana. The fun starts at 4 p.m.  Masks are required at this rain or shine event. At the same time on Thursday, the City of Rochester has a Halloween Open House at the Department of Recreation and Human Services (DRHS) on St. Paul Street. Kids ages five to 17 are invited, and registration is required.

Halloween is on Saturday, and there’s lots to do, even within a small section of the city. Start as early as 6 a.m. and enter the Market Halloween Costume Contest at the Public Market. Selfies in costume that incorporate a market item purchased that day will be entered for cash prizes — for both kids and adults. Starting at 11 a.m., both The Strong National Museum of Play and Rochester Museum & Science Center will host special Halloween events for kids. Silly Monsters at The Strong, presented by Autism Learning Partners, will kick off with a reading of “The Monster at the End of This Book” at 11 a.m., capped off with the film adaptation at 1 p.m., both starring Grover of Sesame Street. Other activities, such as Monster Bingo, a dance party, and crafts run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and are included with museum admission. Timed tickets are available for advance purchase for $16 and are free for members. At the RMSC, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Family Fun Day: Tricks & Treats will turn the museum into a hunt for exhibits, trick-or-treating stations, and slimy, spooky science demonstrations. Advance timed tickets required ($12 to $19 general admission; $5 for members).

Of course, you’ll have to stop what you’re doing at noon on Saturday to catch the Halloween Dog Parade. Dogs will be marched in the cutest and, let’s face it, most absurd costumes, and they’ll wag and strut from University and Culver to East Ave., to Goodman, and back to Culver via University.

If in-person events are just too scary right now, log on for safety. Various Monroe County libraries have some safe scares in store this week, including multi-library Virtual Halloween Dance Parties on Thursday, Ghostly Halloween Story & Snacks at Penfield Library on Friday, and 13 Nights of Halloween Storytime at Brighton Memorial Library now through Halloween at 7 p.m. — all from the comfort of behind the screen.

While online, you can celebrate nine years of The Yards Collective at the Virtual Spooky Birthday Bash on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., where you’ll see sets by local bands Fuzzrod, The Velvet Noose, Cursed Idols, and Boy Jr. The costume contest is even open to pets.

Happy Halloween, and stay safe — even when it’s scary!

Keep up to date with full listings of local online events on the CITY Events Calendar. Do you have an event you wish to include? You can submit online, or email event information to calendar@rochester-citynews.com.
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