If you want a little theater plus magic for Halloween, check out Psychic Joker Entertainment's shows from tonight through Halloween at the SoDo Theatre in downtown Champaign.
Psychic Joker's second annual Halloween Week of Wickedness will kick off with a party tonight that will bring together local talent and feature a video installation by Matt Harsh.
On Friday night, Zoo Improv and Time Traveling Cinema will present "Halloween editions" of their work.
From Saturday to Monday evenings, magicians will perform.
Markus Clegg takes the stage Saturday to present a set of eerie magical maneuvers designed to make audience members squirm.
On Sunday night, David der Geist will bring people's deepest fears to light with "Nightmare Narratives: Experiences in the Paranormal."
And for something more lighthearted, psychic entertainer Stefan Alexxis on Monday night will present his "Interconexxions Comedy and Cool Stuff Mindreading Show."
On Tuesday night, Psychic Joker will present "Haunting Theater," with haunting stage works produced by Scott Drone-Silvers and James Dobbs and storytelling by Camille Born.
The grand finale on Halloween night will be The Houdini Sance, featuring der Geist and Alexxis. A tradition since Houdini's death in 1926, the event will blur the lines between the physical world and the spiritual realm.
The SoDo Theatre is at 114 S. Neil St., C. Event times and admission prices vary; visit http://www.psychicjoker.com for details. The events are recommended for people age 18 and older.
Sleepy Creek Vineyards near Oakwood will mix a little theater with film in its annual Freeky Creek Short Film Festival taking place tonight, Friday and Saturday.
"Freaky, creepy or darkly funny short films from around the world" will be shown each evening, with the Saturday night including a special "Freeky" cake made by Eric and Patty Woller of Meme's Treat Boutique in Homer.
Actor Bill Kephart will play host (in character) at the festival every night. Winery co-owner Joe Taylor wouldn't give away the type of character Kephart will play, saying it's a surprise.
The winery encourages people to wear costumes. Those who do will receive treats, among them caramel apples. Tickets are $5 tonight, $8 on Friday and $12 on Saturday. They will be available at the door or call the winery at 733-0330 to reserve a spot or buy online at http://bit.ly/W02ttW.
Another Halloween-related theater event: Side by Side Productions will present the interactive murder mystery "An Irish Wake," with dinner, at 5 p.m. Sunday at D.G. Sullivans, 109 W. Eighth St., Gibson City, about 30 miles north of Champaign.
The audience will witness the reading of James O'Meara's last will and testament.
"He has an axe to grind and tells all from the grave. His friends and family are in for a few surprises," Side by Side said in a news release.
The interactive murder mystery is designed to keep the audience watching and listening for clues. The guests are encouraged to snoop, eavesdrop and be nosy.
The dinner will be an Irish buffet, with Guinness beef stew, corned beef and cabbage, vegetable, salad bar and bread pudding with Jameson's caramel sauce. Tickets cost $27 each and include the buffet, coffee, iced tea or soda and tip. To order tickets, call Lisa at 784-4226. Seating is limited.
If you're looking for a fun event for kids, head to Market Place Mall in Champaign from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. There, the Champaign and Urbana park districts are teaming up for the 27th Annual Halloween Funfest.
Costumed kids ages 11 and younger are invited to play games, walk through a haunted house, have their faces painted and participate in a costume contest. The event is free, but enter at your own risk.
Another event for kids is "Nightmare on Grove Street," from 5 to 8 p.m. Halloween day at Douglass Park in Champaign. Children ages 3 to 11 are invited to attend the free event where they will play games and enjoy a hayrack ride around Douglass Park, weather permitting.
If you want to celebrate Halloween with your best friend, check out Howl'oween at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Champaign Bark District Dog Park, featuring a doggie costume contest and parade.
Costumed canines will compete in the following categories: best group, best costume on a dog under 25 pounds, best costume on a dog over 25 pounds and best costume on a puppy (6 months or younger). There will be a best costume award for humans as well.
The event is free to Champaign and Urbana park district dog park members and costs $2 per dog for nonmembers.
Here's a sampling of other area events:
THURSDAY, OCT. 25
Wesley Haunted House. 9 to 11 p.m. Oct. 25 and 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 26-28, Wesley United Methodist Church, 1203 W. Green Street, U. Must be 13 or older to enter. $7. All proceeds benefit Wesley Evening Food Pantry.
FRIDAY, Oct. 26
Mystery at the Museum. Oct. 26-27, Orpheum Children's Science Museum, 346 N. Neil St., C. Interactive adventure where Halloween legends will be demystified in a spooky but child-friendly scene. Pumpkin Night with a pumpkin-decorating contest, 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 26; drop off entries, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; winner announced, 6 p.m. Continues 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 27, with React Halloween Chemistry Show at 3 p.m. Admission $6, members; $8, nonmembers; family pack for four, $28. 352-5895, http://www.orpheumkids.com.
Interact Haunted House. 5 to 9 p.m., Centennial High School, North Student Entrance, 913 Crescent Drive, C. First half-hour is kid-friendly. Sponsored by Centennial Interact Club. Centennial's Interact is putting on this event to help two charities: Shoes for Water and United Way's Homeless Families Initiative. Cost: New or gently used shoes or $5.
Zombie Prom. A Halloween concert/event, 6 p.m. to midnight, David S. Palmer Arena, 100 W. Main St., Danville. 90's Daughter and X-Krush will perform, as well as speed painter John Jansky. Kids' concert is 6 to 7 p.m.; adult Zombie Prom Party is 8 to midnight featuring a best costume contest and crowning of Zombie Prom King and Queen. 431-2424, http://www.palmerarena.com, email@example.com.
Historically Haunted Ghost Tours. 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 26-27, Fischer Theatre, 158 N. Vermilion St., Danville. Experienced paranormal investigators will conduct rare behind-the-scene tours through the 1884 Grand Opera House now known as the Fischer. Learn about the history of the theater as well as the paranormal activity there. Flashlights required. Cost $10; includes admission to the newly opened Arts and Entertainment Museum in the lobby. The gift shop will also be open. Proceeds benefit the theater. firstname.lastname@example.org_.
Gates of Delirium Haunted Attraction. Continues 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 26-27; 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 28 and 31; 115 N. Central St., Gilman. Step into the world of the wicked. Unimaginable evils await your every turn. General admission: $9. Storm the Gates (skip the line): $15. Tickets online at http://www.gatesofevil.com/tickets.html. 379-7682.
The Haunted Pavilion. 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 26 and 27; 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 28 and 31, Sportsman's Club of Urbana in Mahomet, 705 W. Hickory St. (Route 150 west Behind Taylor Field). Admission $7 per person. Concessions also available. 586-9964.
Pumpkins, Goblins and Brew ... Oh My! 5 to 8 p.m., downtown courthouse square, Monticello. Visit and enjoy 18 unique shops and restaurants while sampling cider and craft beers! Tickets $10; includes a complimentary mini pilsner glass for sampling. Must be 21 or older to participate in sampling. Tickets can be purchased at the Monticello Main Street office or any participating merchant. 762-9318.
Ghost Train. Starting every half-hour, 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 26-27; every 30 minutes starting at 1 p.m. with final run at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 28, Monticello Railway Museum. All ages can enjoy the train ride through Camp Creek Hollow with a stop at Cemetery Road, but only the brave should check out the Haunted Boxcar! Matinees on Sunday, recommended for younger children. Fare $7 for ages 2 and up. 877-762-9011.
Haunted Halloween for St. Jude. 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 26-28 and 31, home of the Derennes family, 303 E. Evergreen, St. Joseph (across from Hackler Park). Donations can be dropped off anytime to raise money for St. Jude Children's Hospital. Walk through the graveyard and stop at witches' cafe for a bite to eat or a drink. 778-2372.
Pirate's Den Haunted House. 7 to 11:30 p.m. Oct. 26-27; 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 28 and 31, Saybrook Community Center. $8 for adults, $6 for children under 10 years old. 309-287-3102, email@example.com.
Shotgun Manor Dark Eviction. Continues 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Oct. 26-27, Shotgun Manor, 1600 E. Jackson St., Sullivan. Two haunted houses: "Shotgun Manor 2012: Dark Eviction" and "Billybob's Shock-O-Rama Chainsaw Massacre." Fundraiser for Sullivan AMBUCS. 791-1385, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Halloween Monster Madness. 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Urbana Free Library, 210 W. Green St. Spooktacular, monsterific storytime with songs, spooky crafts and a snack. Come dressed in costume. For children 4 and up with their families. 367-4069, http://www.urbanafreelibrary.org.
Midway of Madness Haunted Barn. Continues 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 26-27, Champaign County Fairgrounds, Urbana. email@example.com.
Saturday, Oct. 27
Halloween Story Time. 11 a.m. to noon, Barnes & Noble, 65 E. Marketview Drive, C. Celebrate Halloween with a spooky story time and crafts. Free. 355-2045.
Haunted Room. Noon Oct. 27-28, Dallas & Co., 101 E. University Ave., C. The last showings are 8 p.m. Oct. 27 and 5 p.m. Oct. 28. Free, fun and scary. See what is new for 2012. 351-5974, firstname.lastname@example.org.
G.L.A.M. Presents "The Once Upon A Time" Halloween Fashion Show. 7:15 p.m., Grand Ballroom, MLK Jr. Union, Charleston. More than 33 models "ripping the runway in intricate fashion scenes." A portion of the proceeds benefit The V Foundation, an organization that fights cancer and donates money to finding a cure for cancer and its research. G.L.A.M. will also collect art supplies, cleaning supplies and monetary donations for the Teen Reach program, an after-school program in Charleston for students ages 9-17. Jeremy Nowell, 773-946-3891; email@example.com.
Is the Onarga Theater Haunted? 9 p.m. to midnight, Onarga Theater, 101 W. Seminary Ave. After dark, paranormal investigators will find out if any past theater patrons, workers or even those from before 1936 when the theater was a lumber store, are still hanging around. Bring your flashlights and recorders. Tickets $60. 18 and older only. Reserve your spot: 815-383-5987, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wright Fright. 6 to 8 p.m., Dana-Thomas House, 301 E. Lawrence, Springfield. Costumed volunteers will be stationed throughout the house to tell brave visitors about the home's spooky past, and eerie music will fill the dimly lit rooms of the Prairie-style masterpiece. Storyteller Cathy S. Mosley will tell traditional scary tales in the gallery. No guided tours, so visitors may wander, if they dare. Suggested donation $3 for those 17 and younger, $5 for adults, and $13 per family.
Gruesome, Gory, and Ghastly Ghosts and Ghouls. 2 to 3:30 p.m., Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., U. This afternoon family event will feature multicultural ghost stories from local favorites Dan Keding, Kathe Brinkmann and Kim Sheahan, as well as other members of the C-U Storytelling Guild. Most appropriate for children grades K-6. The children will leave with bags of candy. Suggested donation: $5. 244-3355.
Healthier Halloween Celebration. 5 to 7 p.m., Common Ground Food Co-Op, 300 S. Broadway Suite 166, U. Celebrate Halloween in a healthier fashion this year. Representatives from University of Illinois School of Medicine's HeRMES Clinic and Common Ground will throw a party with healthier alternatives to traditional Halloween treats with samples of healthier treats, examples of single-serve treats and fun games with prizes. Wear a costume and join us for this spooky good time.
Stories from the Other Side. 7:30 to 9 p.m., Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., U. This ghost story concert features tales with adult themes or heightened fear factors from Dan Keding, Kathe Brinkmann and Kim Sheahan, as well as other members of the C-U Storytelling Guild. For adults only (16 and older). Don't worry: Everyone still gets candy. Admission $8 adults, $6 students. 244-3355.
Sunday, Oct. 28
Spooky Skate. 1:30 to 4 p.m., UI Ice Arena, 406 E. Armory Ave., C. Come dressed in your Halloween best to a skate that's truly ghoulish. Mysterious music, kooky candy and costume contest on ice ... what better way to celebrate Halloween? Adults $5, children $4, skate rental $2. Appropriate for anyone who can skate.
Trunk or Treat — Champaign. 4:30 to 6 p.m. Oct. 28, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 2101 S. Prospect Ave., C. Kids ages 0 to fifth grade, come in costumes with your parents to enjoy safe trick or treating, carnival games, parade. 352-1732.
Great October Days. 5 to 7 p.m., New Horizon Church, 3002 W. Bloomington Road, C. Bring the family for an evening of carnival games, face painting, inflatables, contests and candy. Hot dogs, snacks and drinks will be served as well. Costumes are encouraged — please no scary ones! Free. 359-8909.
Trunk or Treat. 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., First Presbyterian Church parking lot, 302 W. Church St., C. Please wear kid-friendly costumes. 356-7238.
Halloween Spooktacular Concert. Featuring the Illinois Brass Quintet, 3 p.m., Foellinger Great Hall, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Urbana. Costume contest in the lobby at 2 p.m. Tickets $4-$10. 333-6280.
Monday, Oct. 29
Eighth Annual Trick-Or-Treat Street. 6 to 8 p.m., Savoy Recreation Center, 402 Graham Drive.
Tuesday, Oct. 30
Magic! 3 to 4 p.m., Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St. For middle and high school students. Halloween magic with a local magician. No registration needed. For middle and high school students; part of the weekly Teens' Time Out series. 403-2070.
Wednesday, Oct. 31
Second Annual Halloween Extravaganza. 3 to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 31, Prosperity Gardens, 302 N. First St., C, just north of the Champaign police station. Arts and crafts, games, nature activities, costume parade at 4 p.m., spooky storyteller, tours of the haunted garden, Tips and Treats legal information booth, music, Halloween treats, cider and beverages, free candy bags, trick-or-treating safety tips and creepy crawlers. Free. 766-5119.
Homer Elementary School fall parties and parade. 1:45 p.m., Homer Elementary School.
Hallowe'en Monster Mash. 5 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 31, Rantoul Public Library, 106 W. Flessner Ave. For kids 5 and up and their families. A spooktacular time of monsterific stories, games, and spooky refreshments! Feel free to come dressed in your costume; leave the scary masks at home, please. Register by Oct. 29 at the children's desk. 893-3955.
Trick or Treat Tanger Style. 5 to 7 p.m. Tanger Outlets, Tuscola. Calling all ghosts, goblins, ghouls, princesses and superheroes! A fun, safe way to celebrate Halloween for children 12 and under. 866-665-8684 or 253-2282.
Halloween Makeup Party! 5 to 6 p.m. Get ready to trick-or-treat at the Urbana Free Library, 210 W. Green St. We'll have makeup stations set up so whether you are a scary monster, a pretty princess, or a spectacular superhero, we can help you look the part. Visit the library staff for a sweet treat! For children ages 5 and up. 367-4069.
Thursday, Nov. 1
Halloween Candy Buyback. 3:30 to 5:30 p.m, 1715 Broadmoor Drive, Suite A, C. For every pound of candy a child brings to orthodontist Dr. Wesley J. Chladny, he gives $1 to child, $1 to Crisis Nursery. All candy will be sent to U.S. troops.
Saturday, Nov. 3
Belly Boo 2012. 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 3, Highdive, 51 E. Main St., C. Doors open, 6 p.m. Pangaea Dance presents an annual all belly dance breast cancer fundraiser to honor Halloween and to support our annual event Bellies for Life. Proceeds of this yearly event are donated to a chosen breast cancer organization; this year's is Network of Strength. $7 with a costume, $7 with student ID, regular price $10. http://pangaea.fatcow.com.