There are few things as satisfying as visiting Linvilla Orchards the week before Halloween, digging through hundreds upon hundreds of leftover pumpkins that look somewhat like orange miniatures of Frankenstein’s monster, and yet somehow finding the one so perfect even Charlie Brown couldn’t complain (often to the envy of other last-minute families tag-teaming hurried pumpkin searches all around you). Sometimes, last-minute plans work out best.

But with only about 20 days left till Halloween, anyone still stuck without party invites might be feeling desperate for a less-reclusive way to celebrate than watching Ghost Hunters Live on the Syfy channel. Luckily, there are several nearby arts-related events to choose from:

Today through October 31, visit the Dracula Festival at the Rosenbach Museum.  With its collection of Bram Stoker’s notes on the supernatural, the Rosenbach might leave you better prepared to fight a vampire than Peter Cushing.

If the Rosenbach fails to quench your thirst for the undead, then once the sun goes down on Saturday, October 15, head over to International House for a screening of Nosferatu: eine Symphonie des Grauens (A Symphony of Horror) (1922), the first film adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel. The silent film will be accompanied by a live, new original score by Brendan Cooney.

Edgar Allen Poe will be returning to Philadelphia once more to read selections of his work at Laurel Hill Cemetery. While he may not be one of the legions of the undead, he will be brought back to life through the portrayal by Rob Vellela as part of Poe’s 2011 Cemetery Tour.

Friday, October 28 finally offers a chance to break out your costumes at the Art After 5: Halloween Dance Party at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Anyone who hears the name Casper and thinks of the original cartoon (rather than Christina Ricci) will appreciate the performance of Ghost Train Orchestra, whose haunting strains of jazz and 1920-40 cartoon medleys will provide the background for tarot-card readings and tours of the museum’s more macabre works.

If you spent your childhood preparing for bed by reading the works of Edward Gorey, then you might enjoy Monster Mash, a nighttime horror-themed poetry and story reading at Musehouse.

Saturday, October 29 offers two more chances to party in-costume. Indie music website The Deli Philadelphia presents Halloween Partay at PhilaMOCA, with performances by several local bands as well as a vinal release party for pop/swing group Circadian Rhythms.  Monsters Ball 2011 at Artworks Trenton will thrill guests with a costume contest, fire performances, silent horror film screenings, and more.

Roger Wing

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