Zombies, Zebras and Zoot Suits, Oh My!

September 30, 2013 |

Halloween horrors happen at The Slaughter House in October.
photo courtesy: SlaughterHouseTucson.com

Do you remember when Halloween was a holiday for children? Boy, are you old! Adults usurped Oct. 31 from the young and commandeered their party ages ago. This speaks to the unsatisfying nature of being a grownup in modern society, where living one’s wildest dreams takes a backseat to getting a steady job. Once a year though, we can at least pretend to be that swashbuckling pirate or awesome astronaut. Here’s the lowdown on Old Pueblo spooktacular happenings.

As the undisputed granddaddy of haunted houses in Southern Arizona, Nightfall at Old Tucson always lives up to its reputation. It is, after all, an entire terrifying town with multiple attractions available for those who dare enter. Top-notch live shows are their specialty, with this year being no exception. Expect the 2013 headlining performance “Kindred of the Dust” to deliver the death-defying stunts, eye-popping pyrotechnics and unsettling imagery that has made Nightfall popular for so long. Old favorites like the Iron Door Mine and the wisecracking gargoyles in Terror Square will of course return. Nightfall is open Thursdays and Sundays 6 p.m.-10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 6 p.m.-midnight through Halloween night within the Old West movie studio/theme park at 201 S. Kinney Rd. Admission is $25 for ages 12 and up, $20 for ages 4-11. Call Old Tucson Studios at (520) 883-0100 or visit NightfallAZ.com for all the gory details.

In recent times however, The Slaughter House has challenged Nightfall’s reign as the most frightening spot in town. Located inside the walls of the creepy former Farmer John’s meatpacking plant at 1102 W. Grant Rd., the four haunts here – the Twisted Tree Mortuary, the 3D nightmare CarnEvil, The Boiler Room and City Meats – are almost guaranteed to make you scream. There’s even an interactive shooting gallery-type experience called Apocalypse. It’s all for a good cause, as well: the 501c(3) Tucson Screamers who operate The Slaughter House have given upwards of $80,000 to local charities over the years. Classic rock band Zebra performs a family day at The Slaughter House on Sunday, Oct. 13; purchase tickets at FlavorUs.com. Hours and admission prices are at SlaughterHouseTucson.com or call (520) 784-2501.

The shuffling dead of Tucson Zombie Walk are restructuring their event in response to new city ordinances; planner Patrick Reed promises location, date and time details will be announced when available. In the meantime, Reed and TucsonZombies.com are sponsoring the third annual Tucson Terrorfest horror film festival Thursday-Saturday Oct. 17-19 at The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St., featuring “Dead Meat Walking: A Zombie Walk Documentary.” The movie includes insights from actor Norman Reedus (“The Walking Dead”) and makeup artist/director Tom Savini (“Django”). See TucsonTerrorFest.com for a full schedule of films; with Reed claiming he is “fairly certain that zombies are among us” but is “not authorized to disclose official evidence at this time,” it’s best to be prepared.

Howl-O-Ween! at Reid Park Zoo
photo courtesy ReidParkZoo.org

Too scary? Those with young children in tow will appreciate Reid Park Zoo’s Howl-O-Ween! event running Friday-Sunday, Oct. 25-27 from 6-8pm nightly. It’s more fun than frightening, and definitely a delight to see the zoo transformed into a spooky playground. Parents can relax while their little ones trick-or-treat in a safe environment, and the kids will love wandering the zoo’s winding paths finding surprises around every corner. Admission is $5 for zoo members and $7 for the general public, with gates opening early at 5:30 p.m. for members. Reid Park Zoo is located at 3400 Zoo Court in the middle of (you guessed it) Reid Park. Call (520) 791-4022 for more information or directions, and to watch the elephant cam visit ReidParkZoo.org.

For celebrants wishing to stand out from the crowd, the closest Spirit Halloween Superstore isn’t going to cut it. Finding an outfit unlike anybody else’s requires creativity.  It doesn’t require driving all over town, however. Tucson Thrift Shop, 319 N. 4th Ave., is your one-stop costume shop with feather boas, wigs, jewelry, vintage footwear and hats of every style imaginable. With myriad duds from funky to fancy, this is a great place to piece together the period look of a 1920s flapper or 1943 zoot suit rioter. Tucson Thrift Shop is open seven days a week; stop by Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m. Visit TucsonThriftShop.com or call (520) 623-8736. Still can’t locate what you need? You are a discerning customer, indeed. Try locally-owned Creative Costumes and Formal Wear at 4220 E. Speedway Blvd. from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. They can be reached at (520) 882-8822 and CreativeCostumesTucson.com.

The Tucson area has more Halloween-themed events to attend than a century’s worth of candy corn-caused cavities:

Located only thirty minutes away from downtown at 17000 W. Ajo Way, Buckelew Farms’ “Terror in the Corn” runs every Friday and Saturday evening in October, in addition to College Night Out on Thursday, Oct. 24 and Halloween Night on Thursday, Oct. 31. Visit BuckelewFarm.com for details. Valley of the Moon presents “Scooby-Doo and the Haunted Ruins” at their enchanted 2544 E. Allen Rd. location Oct. 11-13, 18-20 and 25-30. See TucsonValleyOfTheMoon.com for showtimes and admission prices. Colossal Cave Mountain Park is offering candlelight ghost tours and haunted hayrides Oct. 18-19 and 25-27 at their 16721 E. Old Spanish Trail headquarters out in Vail. Learn more at ColossalCave.com. And Bookmans Entertainment Exchange graciously hosts a Zombie Fair with free makeup and special effects on Saturday, Oct. 26 from noon-3 p.m. at their 6230 E. Speedway Blvd. location. Plan your visit at Bookmans.com.


Category: Entertainment, Events