Weekend Top 10: Best Halloween ‘Haunts’, SHINE, Tosca, and The Lightning Thief

We’ve got some of the best Halloween tricks and treats Tampa Bay has to offer, but there are also some big openings this week, so let’s start there.

8th Annual SHINE Mural Festival
On Walls Throughout St. Pete

Courtesy od St. Pete Arts Alliance

It’s the Sunshine City-wide event of the season and time to improve our collection of incredible public art popping up on a wall near you. 18 new murals will be created throughout the week by local, nationwide, and international artists, adding to the ‘Burg’s ever evolving arts landscape. There are many events scheduled throughout the week (i.e., check out the “Carmada” Art Car Event in Child’s Park on 10/15). The celebration culminates with the SHINE Grand Finale on the 22nd. (More about that next week) Check the website and mark your calendars for the full SHINE experience. It’s one of the defining arts events in Tampa Bay.
October 14th – 23rd More information and maps here

Clearwater Jazz Holiday
BayCare Ballpark, Clearwater

Trombone Shorty

After 43 years the Clearwater Jazz Holiday is still growing, it’s still crowing, it’s still going strong (Thanks, Satchmo for the inspiration). It’s three phenomenal days devoted to the great American musical art form – jazz. Headliners like Trombone Shorty (my personal fave for years), Charlie Wilson, and Gov’t Mule, lead this year’s star-studded line-up. Go one night or all three. There’s really no wrong choice here – except not to go at all.
October 14th-16th Tickets, schedules, and more information here.

Tosca by Giacomo Puccini
St. Petersburg Opera Company St. Pete

Courtesy of St. Petersburg Opera Company

Kicking off its 17th season, The St. Petersburg Opera Company brings you Tosca, the classic tale of love, lust, betrayal, and murder – perfect for the Halloween season. No wonder it’s one of the world’s most popular operas. It’s got everything – including the absolutely haunting and beautiful music arranged by SPOC’s Musical Director, Mark Sforzini.
October 14th, 16th, & 18th 7:30 pm Tickets and information here

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
Stageworks Theatre, Tampa

Courtesy of Think Tank Theatre

When Zeus’s all powerful lightning bolt is stolen, Percy emerges as the prime suspect. Now he must find the true thief and return the lightning bolt to prove his innocence. Adapted from the award-winning book by Rick Riordan with the addition of a bangin’ rock score. Timeout New York says The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical is an action-packed mythical adventure “worthy of the Gods.” It’s yet another great production brought to us by Think Tank Theatre and directed by lead think tanker, Georgia Mallory Guy.
Fridays-Sundays October 15th – 23rd 7:30 w/ Sunday matinee at 3pm (Previews 10/14 @7:30pm & 10/15 @3pm). Tickets and information here

Halloween in Tampa Bay

Here are some of the most popular month-long Halloween ‘haunts,’ sure to make all the lovable guys and ghouls in your life very happy.

Ghost Tour of St. Petersburg
Downtown, St. Pete

It’s the best time of year to be spooked by walking candlelight ghost tours in downtown St. Pete throughout October. Based on Debra Fretham’s popular Haunted Cities book series, these tours focus on the true stories and places in the ‘Burg known to be haunted – places like the Vinoy! Discover the Sunshine City’s darkest secrets.
Thursdays – Sundays 7:30pm through October including Halloween Monday
Information, schedule, and map here

Busch Gardens, Tampa  

Busch Gardens Stage Show

Howl-O-Scream returns once again in a big way, with haunted houses, scare zones, and sinister stage shows all over the park. That doesn’t even include the chills and thrills you get on all the pulse pounding rides. There is a return of some perennial favorite haunts, as well as some new additions, like Stranglewood Estate, the new Raven’s Mill, and Beyond the Veil, just to name a few.  Howl-O-Scream occurs during evening hours only and is ticketed separately. Due to intense content, it is meant for mature park goers only.
October 9th – 31st Thursdays- Sundays (+ Halloween Monday) 7pm-12am
(open ‘til 1am on Fri & Sat eves) Tickets and information here

Busch Gardens, Tampa

Courtesy of Busch gardens

Since Howl-O-Scream is a bit more appropriate for the grown-ups, kids demand equal Halloween  time! Spooktacular takes place during the daily park hours from 12-4 and features trick or treating, costume parades, stories with Kandy the Witch in training, and magic shows!  
Runs through October 30th 12-4pm included with park admission
More information here

Creatures of The Night
ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Tampa

Courtesy of ZooTampa

Ghouls and goblins of all ages can enjoy eerie fun on select nights in October. Enjoy a night of Halloween adventures complete with animals, spooky frights and festive treats. This year the Swamp Witch, Blackwater Mattie, comes to ZooTampa to mix potions and conjure spells. Spooky fun for the whole family.
Dates throughout October – Reservations here

A Haunted Warehouse in Largo

The largest haunted house in Pinellas County is back for a 3rd year as 10,000 square feet of warehouse space transforms into the ultimate “scare”house! A huge toxic waste spill has recently ravaged the warehouse and there’s no telling what effects have befallen the inhabitants! Find out at your own risk! (Waivers must be signed). $5.00 off admission if you bring pet food or toys benefitting the ASPCA. $5.00 off for military
Open every Friday & Saturday in October (plus two Thursdays) – 7-11pm (1 hr timed tickets)
Tickets, address, and information here

A Nightmare on Franklin Street
Tampa Theatre, Tampa

Courtesy of Tampa Theatre

Not only is this one of the biggest Halloween celebrations in Tampa Bay, it all takes place in ultra historic (and totally haunted), Tampa Theatre!
A Nightmare on Franklin Street features screenings of all your very favorite scary movies (Rocky Horror, Psycho, The Shining – you get the picture), theater ghost tours, chilling stage shows, spooky story-telling, and lots of family friendly frights. Dates throughout October See Full Schedule here

The Addams Family
St. Petersburg City Theatre, St. Pete

Courtesy of St. Petersburg City Theatre

How about some live theater for Halloween? It’s Creepy and it’s kooky, you know. Let’s catch up with our old fiends, Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Lurch, Grandma, and Thing LIVE on stage. Better still, you’ll be treated to an original script that takes us into Halloween future. Wednesday is all grown up and falls in love… And I’m leaving it right there. But trust me, it’s a totally fresh (or maybe rancid is correct here), and highly entertaining. Get your tickets now and find out what happens. It’s sure to be hilarious.
October 14th – 23rd: Fri & Sat 7:30, Sun 2pm Tickets and information here

Mark Your Calendars

Early warning for this single date Halloween event. Buy your tickets now! You’ll just die if you don’t…

3rd Annual La Luchaween
The Palladium, St. Pete

Courtesy of The Palladium

This is just a flat out “don’t miss.” Classic silent horror films are shown in historic Hough hall, while your favorite local jazz trailblazers, La Lucha, provide the score. Guest host for the evening is our very own resident movie star and Balenciaga super model, Eugenie Bondurant, who appears in the upcoming Marvel horror film Werewolf by Night. She’ll guide us through the evening with the campiest Elvira-like realness (but better), and then everyone heads downstairs to Side Door Cabaret for a fabulous after party.
October 29th 7pm Tickets and information here

More single event Halloween haunts next week. Have fun and stay safe out there!

Send your events to: cstovall5@gmail.com