While many events have been canceled this year, there is still more to do than wait around for “It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” to come on TV. Businesses and organizations have used some creepy creativity to offer Halloween and fall events, including drive-in movies, socially distant pumpkin patches and special deliveries.
Murray Family Farms
In lieu of its October Fun Fest, Murray Family Farms is having a socially distant event with a pumpkin patch and access to the sunflower field, storybook flower trail and fall-themed hiking path. The "Plants Vs. Zombies" corn maze also returns this year and will be one way only, guaranteeing no one will get lost and, more importantly, will be able to keep 6 feet apart from others.
Another way the farm is spreading out attendees is through timed tickets, which must be purchased online in advance, on weekends (Friday through Sunday). Tickets for those days are purchased in one-hour windows to limit the number of people on site at one time. There are no time restrictions on weekday tickets.
Admission is $10.99 on weekdays, $11.99 on weekends and includes a pumpkin. "Lil' sprouts" (children ages 1-3) get in for $7.99 any day. Super general admission ($20.99 weekdays, $21.99 weekends) also includes a blueberry pulled pork sandwich on a brioche bun, topped with coleslaw, served with chips and a drink.
The pumpkin patch will run from noon to 7 p.m. daily through Oct. 31 at Murray Family Farms, 6700 General Beale Road.
For tickets and more information, visit murrayfamilyfarms.org.
George the Giant
One of the most unique Halloween activities in the past few years has been Strange Museum of Oddities & Wonders, a passion project from George McArthur, aka George the Giant.
For the past two years, McArthur has shared some of his collection of unusual and mysterious items at a pop-up event adjacent to the Fox Theater in Bakersfield.
With COVID-19 concerns sidelining indoor events, McArthur knew he needed to get creative to offer something this year.
"Small businesses are having a hard time," he said. "They’re coming up with new ways to do things.
"If you’re not moving, you’re dying."
McArthur will certainly be on the move this month, offering baskets of goodies and small pop-up performances.
A friend described it as a sort of singing telegram. People book McArthur to visit their home where he can set up in a space, show them some of his collected artifacts and perform a sideshow feat or two.
The baskets are "basically a sugar dream," filled with monster popcorn balls, monster fingers made of pretzels and other treats made and packaged in a commercial kitchen. There will also be tchotchkes, including festive squeeze balls, monster mazes and more. Depending on the level, there may also be a taxidermied bat or some cool weird artifact from McArthur's museum gift shop.
"Whoever gets them is going to have a blast," McArthur said.
Cost is $25 (for two people), $50 (four), $75 (six), $100 (eight) or $150 (10). For those ordering in the $25-$50 tier, they can opt for McArthur to perform the blockhead (spike in the nasal cavity) or a variation with a balloon. Those in the $75-$100 range can choose from the eyelift (lifting weights with his eye sockets) or the chicken towel (involving a story and a towel trick). The $150 baskets include two feats, one selected from each tier.
McArthur plans to operate Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. (Another day may be accommodated based on McArthur's schedule, which includes his day job.)
Requests can be made through the museum's Facebook page (facebook.com/GeorgetheGiantsStrangeMuseumOfOdditiesAndWonderss) or by emailing email@example.com.
In addition to the deliveries, McArthur will be posting interviews with people who would normally be featured at the museum.
McArthur will also post any intriguing or odd stories he comes across the month.
"It's October, it's my favorite time of year. If we find any interesting stories, they get posted."
And he already has plans for next year's museum, which will feature a number of new oddities.
"Next year is going to be completely different. The museum will be full force. COVID is not going to stop it."
Howl, Screech and Pumpkin Week
In lieu of its Boo at the Zoo (which will return next year), the California Living Museum in Bakersfield will instead host the new Howl, Screech and Pumpkin Week.
Bring your costumed little ghouls and superheroes to the zoo, which will be decorated for the occasion taking place Oct. 24 and 25 and Oct. 28 through 31.
Goodie bags with candy and small toys will be given to children 12 and under. Social distancing is advised as guests walk the grounds.
Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the designated days at the zoo, 10500 Alfred Harrell Highway.
Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors (60 and older), $6 for children 3 to 12 and free for children 2 and under and CALM members. Adults
Call 872-2256 or visit CALM's Facebook page (facebook.com/calmzoo) for more information.
Bakersfield College is celebrating another big H event (homecoming) with a drive-in screening of "Shrek" on Oct. 16.
In the 2001 film, a grumpy ogre (voiced by Mike Myers) must go on a quest to rescue a princess (Cameron Diaz) for a mean lord (John Lithgow) in order to get his swamp back from fairytale creatures who have been exiled there.
Tickets, which must be purchased in advance, are $15 per car, with a maximum of five people per vehicle. Admission is free for BC students with a BCSGA Student Services Program/KVC sticker. Go to linktr.ee/bcsga to purchase tickets.
Entry is at 7:30 p.m., with the movie starting at 8 p.m. in Memorial Stadium parking lot, Mount Vernon and University avenues.
Along with all the scary movies and TV shows you can watch at home, you can also tune in for a show of local terror. The Empty Space will present its show "Haunted Bakersfield," a curated evening of true and imagined scary stories about our town. The show will be presented via Zoom, accessible through the theater's Facebook page.
If you're in a spooky state of mind for art, check out Susan Roussel's exhibit, which will be in the theater's virtual gallery starting Friday. Many of Roussel's ceramic and clay pieces have a Frankenstein feel.
Cinema Under the Stars
The Outlets at Tejon will host an evening of spooky fun on Oct. 24. The evening will include trick-or-treating, shopping and a free screening of the Halloween classic "Hocus Pocus." More details will come closer to the event date. Keep an eye on the outlets' website (tejonoutlets.com) and its Facebook page (facebook.com/OutletsAtTejon).
The shopping center is located at 5701 Outlets at Tejon Parkway #170 in Arvin.