The Cambridge/Somerville guide to Halloween 2015

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People living at Chester and Oxford streets in North Cambridge go all out on Halloween decorations. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Cambridge’s Halloween spirit seems especially strong in the north, where the Dudley Street neighborhood has long held legendarily elaborate holiday street fairs (even meriting a custom theme song, although it has disappeared into the recesses of the Internet) and spreading across Massachusetts Avenue to the stunningly spidery tableaus put up every October by the people in the stately homes closest to Orchard Street on Chester Street – and then across to the home at Milton and Orchard. (From there, you’re so close you might as well stop off for a hot chocolate, cider or other drink to enjoy at Diesel Cafe, 257 Elm St., Davis Square, while perusing the Halloween-themed art by Felisia Sainz and others.)

But there’s plenty going on in events and even Halloween-style dining throughout Cambridge and Somerville. (Did we miss anything? Let us know.)

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Events

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Now through Oct. 31: “The Wrathskellar” by Boston BeauTease. The burlesque troupe (formerly The Boston Babydolls) presents a darker-than-usual mix of sexy dance and haunted house to the atmospheric and evocative works of such artists as Gogol Bordello, Jacques Brel, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. The Improper Bostonian called it “a macabre, immersive experience that serves striptease with a side of screams.” Tickets are $25 (or $26.87 with the online service fee) or $35 (or $37.22 with the online service fee), and there are some prime cabaret table seats remaining at $45 (or $47.57 with the online service fee). Information is here.

Now through Oct. 31: “GoreFest the Thirteenth” at ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect St., Central Square. The comedy club’s annual Halloween musical, GoreFest, throws out so much fake blood that ponchos are recommended for audience members. Previous GoreFests have included “Cirque du Slaughté,” “Macabr-et” and “Slaughterhouse on the Prairie,” but of course this year’s 13th annual show is “GoreFest the Thirteenth” and takes place at a summer camp “where friendships last forever … or until someone dies.” Showtimes are 7:30, 8 or 9:30 p.m., depending on the night. Tickets are $25, or $18 for students at the door.

Oct. 27-31: The Armory of Horror, with a variety of events, starting with an Oct. 27 Dark Arts Day from 7 to 10 p.m. with Halloween- and video game-themed art (meaning in addition to local art, old-school video games will be set up to play) and music by Astro Logic, Bifflecup, 8bit bEtty, JKLOL, MC Facepalm and Sam Mulligan. There’s also an Oct. 28 Homebrewed Horror Fest from 7 to 10 p.m. that includes the movie “Chainsaw Maidens From Hell.” The Maze of Horror runs Oct. 29, 30 and 31 from 7 to 10 p.m., with those that make it through invited to watch from a balcony above as the next group gets pleasantly terrified. There’s also an Oct. 31 Kids Day from noon to 4 p.m. with arts and crafts and safe trick-or-treating from friendly monsters in the maze. Tickets and information is here.

Oct. 29: Lesley University invites the public to celebrate Day of the Dead by bringing offerings and photographs of deceased loved ones from 6 to 8 p.m. during an opening reception for a exhibition called “Daily Life in Oaxaca, Mexico” (running Oct. 24-Nov. 8). The show features photographs taken by Lesley College of Art and Design students in the villages of San Bartolo Coyotepec and Colonia Zapata, near Oaxaca, as part of an annual travel photography course. During the Mexican holiday of Day of the Dead, most village homes have altars called “ofrendas” decorated with candles, flowers, fruit, peanuts, plates of turkey mole, stacks of tortillas, sugar skulls and other offerings for dead loved ones. The Raizes Gallery at the Lunder Arts Center will feature an ofrenda, and all are welcome to bring photos and offerings to place on it. The free exhibit is in the Raizes Gallery of the new Lunder Arts Center, 1801 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square. Hours and other information is here.

Oct. 29: Cambridge Community Television’s free HorrorFest 2015, a juried screening of short horror films, takes place at 7 p.m. at its studios, 438 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. CCTV solicited submissions in any stripe of horror film, including thrillers, chillers and monster movies, and organizers say it makes for a diverse, eclectic viewing experience. After the screenings comes a Q&A with the filmmakers and a dialogue about horror as a theme. This event includes snacks and treats. Information is here.

Oct. 29-31: “Monster in the Mirror,” two classic tales of gothic horror, is presented by The Post-Meridian Radio Players, who present shows in the style of the Golden Age of Radio, with actors in front of microphones and sound effects produced live. The plays this time are “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Miss Hyde” and “The Frankenstein Murders,” showing at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday (with the Halloween show including a costume contest with prizes) at Responsible Grace Church, 204 Elm St., near Davis Square, Somerville. Tickets are $15, or $12 for students and seniors. Information is here.

Oct. 30: Kids’ storyteller Doria Hughes does her annual Spooky Storytelling Spectacular, telling chilling tales of ghosts and other unheard-of terrors that haunt the night. Costumes are encouraged at this event for children ages 6 to 10 taking place at 5 p.m. at Porter Square Books, 25 White St., Porter Square.

Oct. 30: This is a costume-encouraged pre-Halloween party Cambridge style, with short presentations from Massachusetts Institute of Technology experts such as film buff and literature professor David Thorburn talking about horror films and the McGovern Institute’s Ki-Ann Goosens exploring the science of fear and anxiety. Everything from zombies to scary medical devices gets addressed in “The Science of Fear” for those 21-plus. Advance ticket purchase required; the $20 price of admission includes two drink tickets. The event takes place 7 to 9 p.m. at The MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Ave., in Area IV/The Port.

Oct. 30-31: The Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Harvard Square, hosts two days of Halloween films including “The Monster Squad,” “Demons” and an 11 a.m. Oct. 31 “Saturday Morning All-You-Can-Eat-Cereal Cartoon Party Halloween Edition” of mystery content that includes vintage favorites and obscurities, with original commercials and PSAs in between. Information is here.

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Oct. 31: The Mobilia Gallery, 358 Huron Ave., Huron Village, has a group invitational called “The New Textiles: Transformed” that includes an assortment of beaded works by Mobilia artist Linda Dolack that – as seen in the photo above – has a very Halloween feel to it. Also, every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the gallery serves a recipe by or inspired by one of the displayed artists, and for Halloween its Witch’s Finger Sugar Cookies and Ramona Solberg’s “Forgotten Cake.” (Also, don’t miss the works of food artist Christine McConnell.)

Oct. 31: The Thirsty Scholar Pub holds its “Very Scholar Halloween” Halloween party from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the pub, 70 Beacon St., near Inman Square in Somerville. There’s music from Carlos V’ Ramos and a costume contest with a $250 cash first prize and a $100 gift card for second prize. There will be giveaways and drink specials. Entry is free.

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Eats

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Oct. 26-31: Beat Hôtel’s Beat Brasserie, 13 Brattle St., Harvard Square, will be serving food connected with the true Halloween – thought to have derived from a pre-Christian festival and feast day of the Celts known as Samhain. Traditional dishes of Samhain included colcannon (mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage), applecake, barmbrack (a yeasted bread with sultanas and raisins) and farls and fadge (potato cakes) with roasted apples and butter. Brasserie chef Ignacio Lopez has vowed to dive into “ancient cookbooks to give culinarians an interesting new view on this overlooked foodie holiday.” The dishes will run as specials. “I’ve never heard of anyone looking into the culinary roots of this Halloween, and we thought it would be interesting to see how it was celebrated before commercialism gave us bags of candy,” Lopez said.

Oct. 31: Naco Taco, 297 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, has a 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Dia de Los Muertos #DancingFiesta with music, beer (Pabst Blue Ribbon or Coronas for $3), sangria (for $5), tacos (each for $2) and menu specials with a prize for best costume of the night. The restaurant Facebook event is here.

Oct. 31: Bambara Kitchen & Bar, 25 Edwin H. Land Blvd., East Cambridge, offers its second annual $35 four-course prix fixe seafood meal featuring the “Monsters of the Sea” from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Chef Jay Silva’s menu will include Spicy Pumpkin Soup (red curry, buttery lobster and pumpkin seeds); Grilled Octopus (chorizo, fingerling potatoes, crispy calamari and blood orange salad); a “Boo-illabaisse” of the scariest creatures of the sea (monkfish, lobster, shrimp, skate, eel and sunfish) in a lobster saffron broth; and a “Jellyfish” made of panna cotta with a cookie sampler. A brandy and cordial pairing flight is an additional $15 per person. The restaurant website is here.

Oct. 31: Rialto, in The Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St., Harvard Square, adds an $85 four-course tasting menu called “Orange, Bones and black” and a cocktail called Witches Brew to its usual menu. The antipasto course is the Osso (red wine-roasted marrow bone, brioche toast fingers, fried shallots, pomegranate seeds and herb salad); the primo course is “Spookatini” of black squid ink bucatini pasta, littleneck clams, charred tomatoes, smoked garlic and chilis; secondo is Carne di Cervo (roasted venison chop, orange squash risotto in a pumpkin, black kale and walnuts) and the sweet is Black Cat Crèma (warm chocolate cake, meringue bones, black and red raspberries and “dirt”). Staff are working on their costumes, Rialto says. Reservations are here.

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