I'm a firm believer that no one is too old to celebrate Halloween. I trick-or-treated until I was at least 14, and even now that I'm a tax-paying adult with a nine-to-five, I still insist on dressing up every year, visiting a haunted house or two and, of course, hitting up the many Halloween-themed dance parties the Bay Area has to offer.
For those who want to dress in their spooky best and dance until the witching hour, we've rounded up five Bay Area dance parties not to miss.
Bay Area Vogue Nights: The Afterlife, Oct. 25
Public Works, San Francisco
Party crew Swagger Like Us throws some of the most fun LGBTQ dance parties in the Bay Area, and for Halloween, they're taking it up a notch with a vogue ball that pays homage to deceased queer icons. For those who don't know, vogue balls are part runway shows, part dance competitions, where contestants bust their best moves and strike their hottest poses while dressed in the fiercest finery. Each category in this year's ball is open to all gender identities and expressions, and each pays homage to a different departed LGBTQ icon, including Marsha P. Johnson, Keith Haring, Alexander McQueen and Frida Kahlo. Sir JoQ, who starred in KQED Arts' San Francisco episode of If Cities Could Dance, is one of the featured dancers.
The Purple Ones Halloween Crystal Ball, Oct. 26
The Uptown, Oakland
Prince visits from the beyond at The Purple Ones' Halloween Crystal Ball, starring the 11-piece Prince tribute band with a full horn section. Prince's timeless music is by no means scary, but Halloween can be a time for reflecting on those who've passed, especially if you celebrate Día de los Muertos. Plus, he had so many iconic looks—use this event as an excuse to raid your closet for a Prince-inspired costume.
Bollywood Halloween, Oct. 26
Back Bar, San Jose
Desi party crew BollyTadka's Halloween party is all about Bollywood, Top 40 and bhangra, the upbeat Indian dance genre that's frequently remixed with Western pop, hip-hop and EDM. DJ Aalok spins all night, and costumes are encouraged.
Demboween 2050, Oct. 27
The Legionnaire Saloon, Oakland
Reggaeton is getting pretty popular in the U.S. thanks to Cardi B's collaborations with Puerto Rican stars Ozuna and Bad Bunny, but stateside fans may be less familiar with the genre's freakier cousin from the Dominican Republic: dembow. Think faster tempos, twerk-worthy beats and extremely animated Spanish rapping. Oakland's Legionnaire Saloon hosts a special edition of the Latin dance party Muevelo Muevelo called Demboween 2050, featuring DJs Radical One, Rayreck and Namaste Shawty. It's likely to get sweaty.
Halloween Covers Show at the Phoenix, Oct. 27
Phoenix Theater, Petaluma
Much like dressing up as your favorite celebrity, cover bands are a timeworn Halloween tradition. Petaluma's Phoenix Theater has a show to get your nostalgia juices flowing, featuring homages to Sublime, Third Eye Blind, The Spice Girls, Lana Del Rey, My Chemical Romance, Ace of Bass, The Cranberries, Talking Heads and even the fictional band Sex Bob-omb from the movie Scott Pilgrim. The lineup should provide plenty of costume inspiration for those still looking.
17th Annual Murder Ballads Bash, Oct. 27
The Starry Plough, Berkeley
Crimes of passion have long been lyrical fodder for folk and country music. So fittingly, every Halloween weekend for the past 17 years, Berkeley folk music venue The Starry Plough has hosted their Murder Ballads Bash. The evening promises music about murder, misery, death and despair and features Loretta Lynch, The Happy Clams, Nellie Bly, Dizzy Twin, Geoff Pond Ensemble (with Connie Champagne), Buried at Sea, Skye Alexander, Luther Monday, 3 Drink Circus, Manson Family and Zack the Sound Guy. There will also be a costume contest.