Musical Treats, No Trick: Concerts Come Back for Halloween

By Charlie Swanson

After Halloween 2020 was all but cancelled in the North Bay and across the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic, trick-or-treaters and party-goers of all ages are ready to enjoy the spookiest holiday of the year in-person with local live Halloween events and shows.

In Santa Rosa, variety troupe North Bay Cabaret marks its first show in nearly two years with “Halloweird,” an adults-only Halloween party at the Whiskey Tip bar on Saturday, Oct. 30.

Led by master-of-“scaremonies” Jake Ward, the event will offer big, eye-popping thrills from an eclectic lineup of live performers from Sonoma County and beyond.

“I think people really miss these types of experiences and the community surrounding them,” Ward says. “And [performers] are excited to have a stage and an audience again.”

“Halloweird” features a lineup of live music by local favorites including chain-rattling Americana group the Crux, who recently returned home from a tour in the U.K., and Oakland swing-punk outfit Van Goat.

Additionally, the show boasts live performances and acts including circus sideshows, burlesque, pole dancing, drag, comedy, tarot card reading and more. The party goes late into the night with a Silent Disco, in which attendees wear headphones pumping out one of three live DJs spinning across different styles and genres.

Proof of Covid vaccination is required for all attendees, and masks will be worn indoors; while guests can also enjoy the outdoor beer garden area. Get details and tickets at

In Petaluma, the Phoenix Theater welcomes a live audience back to the annual Halloween Covers Show, after doing an online-only version of the popular event last year. As per tradition, the concert features local bands dressing up as their favorite groups and playing their songs in character before the massive balloon-drop at the end.

Happening on Friday, Oct. 29, the Halloween Covers Show includes Ashley Alredd and friends performing as Blondie, The Happys performing as the Offspring, Tisha Coates—of Moon Sick—and friends performing as Yeah Yeah Yeahs and many others. Proof of Covid vaccination, or a negative test, is required to attend.

In Napa, JaM Cellars invites attendees to each be the star of the show at the Hallo-Wine JaMBash on Saturday, Oct. 30. The evening gets into the spirit of Halloween with karaoke and costume contests, with prizes and plenty of the cellars’ buttery Chardonnay on hand.

In San Rafael, acclaimed guitarist and frontman Stu Allen assembles his revolving band, Mars Hotel, for a two-day Halloween Celebration at Terrapin Crossroads. The afternoon shows on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 30 and 31, commence on the outdoor stage at Terrapin’s Beach Park and will feature a bevy of Grateful Dead tunes and other jams fit for the season. Proof of vaccination is required.

In West Marin, Smiley’s Schooner Saloon teams up with the Bolinas Fiddler’s Union to present an outdoor Halloween Hoedown and Spooky Square Dance on Sunday, Oct. 31.

Square-dance caller Conner Maguire will host two sets of dances, with a kid-friendly session and one for beginners later on in the night. Learn the moves with Maguire and then get to dancing alongside a bevy of veteran fiddle, banjo and guitar players. Proof of vaccination is required; rain will cancel the event.

Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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