There is a plethora of ways to be scared this Halloween: Knott’s Scary Farm, watching an old classic like Evil Dead 2, or just imaging what Speaker of the House Denny Hastert looks like naked—all options scaling upward on the creepiness scale.
But if you desire a bit of culture with your fright, a bit of class with your gore, then the Ghostwalk in downtown Riverside is guaranteed to provide an artistic, educational and spooky night out.
Ghostwalk is a guided tour of some of Riverside’s oldest and most historic buildings, often with one-night-only special access to areas such as the basement beneath the Back to the Grind coffee house, which make for genuinely frightening places to hear tales of ghosts, goblins and the undead. Each tour stops at four different historical landmarks in the downtown area, and there’s a detour to catch a performance of Dance Nights put on by the California Riverside Ballet (think Michael Jackson’s Thriller, minus Michael and all the contextual and emotional baggage). At each stop, performers tell spooky tales that range from the funny to the mildly scary. One of the “headliners” this year is Jan Burke, acclaimed mystery writer and author of Kidnapped and Bloodlines. The Blue Light production company will also be on hand this year filming a documentary of it all.
Of course, remember that very small children may be scared by a few of the goings-on at Ghostwalk, and this is a real walk, so be prepared to actually do it. The terminally lazy, of course, can just sit at home and get their frights watching the now perpetually-in-rotation slew of cinematic horrors on cable—or just turn on the regular broadcast of Fox News. (Bill Gerdes)
Riverside’s Ghostwalk, (951) 787-7850; www.crballet.com. Fri. & Sat., 5:30-11 p.m. $10; Children under five, free.