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Tajha Chappellet-Lanier here, reliving memories of Halloween past. I didn’t grow up with particularly normal Halloween traditions (it’s difficult to go trick-or-treating when you live on a mountain where carob was considered a reasonable substitute for chocolate by many) but I loved the holiday as an excuse to dress up and the kind of spooky magic that comes with this time of the year. There were some pretty great pickup truck hayrides on the hill, too, and—if not candy corn and mini snickers bars—lots of cookies.

As I got older Halloween became, as so many holidays do, an excuse for a party. And if you’re looking for a party (or a pet costume contest or an evening of pumpkin carving) this Halloween weekend, I’m here to tell you that my inbox is literally flooded with options. 

Where to begin… Wild Fish in Pacific Grove is hosting a “Halloween Evening for Grownups,” which includes dinner and cocktails plus jazz. (Costumes welcome). Pearl Hour in Monterey is leaning into the costume idea more fully and has a different theme for each night of the weekend—tonight, Friday Oct. 29 is “cats and cauldrons” (and also jazz); Saturday, Oct. 30 is “after dark bar/70s-80s-90s” (featuring DJ Hanif Wondir); and Sunday, Oct. 31 is “hot as hell” (with DJ Sick James). There will be prizes for the best costume each night. At Sovino Wine Bar you can carve a pumpkin while drinking wine on Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights… just be careful of those fingers. 

There’s also: A Halloween parade in downtown Carmel (along Ocean Ave.) starting at 4pm on Sunday, Oct. 31. “Halloween on the Wharf” at Fisherman’s Wharf will feature a costume contest (with cash prizes), spooky music and lots of free candy. The Monterey Fairgrounds will host kids trick-or-treating, and an ongoing haunted house, from 3-5pm on Oct. 31. Downtown Salinas, meanwhile, will hold its trick-or-treating on Saturday, Oct. 30—and there will be a drive-thru “curbside pickup” option for kids who can’t go trick-or-treating in person.

And for furry friends there will be a dog costume contest at Diggidy Dog in Carmel (N.E Corner of Ocean Ave. and Monte Verde St.) at noon on Oct. 31 and a specifically pet-friendly “costumes and cocktails” event on the patio at Esteban in Monterey starting at 4:30pm. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list. It’s just a start—and proof that there’s a little something for everyone happening in Monterey County this weekend. For a few additional ideas, check out the Hot Picks section of this week’s print edition of the Weekly. And remember to be on the lookout for trick-or-treaters as you drive, carefully, around residential areas this weekend. 

And now the question is: what will you get up to? And is your costume (and/or your dog’s costume) ready?

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