kid and parent wearing mario and waluigi costumes pose for a silly flash photo
Richard Neumann, 32, and 3-month-old Hudson, dressed as Waluigi and Mario, pose for a portrait at the 2022 Russell Street Halloween celebration. Credit: Ximena Natera, Berkeleyside/CatchLight

Around Berkeley

🍷 A stroll through the farmers market is always a good idea, but if you need something extra to motivate you, Thirsty Thursdays are back, livening up the North Berkeley Farmers Market with local wine, craft beer, food, live music and games. This week’s edition, on Oct. 26, features a Halloween Dance Party for kids and their families and Trick-or-Treating at local businesses in the North Shattuck area from 4 to 6 p.m. 

📖 New York Times bestselling author Nancy Jooyoun Kim discusses and reads from her new novel What We Kept To Ourselves about a family’s search for answers following the disappearance of their mother; she’ll be joined in conversation with Berkeley author Hannah Michell. Thursday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m. Mrs. Dalloway’s, FREE (registration required)

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 A leading force in the revival of Gaelic song, Julie Fowlis grew up on the remote Outer Hebridean island of North Uist in Scotland and spent the past two decades introducing the soaring melodies and lilting tongue of her homeland to concert halls around the world (with a boost from contributing vocals on two songs featured in the 2012 Pixar hit Brave). Thursday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m. Freight & Salvage, $32-$37

 👻 Featuring vendor markets with palm readers, mystics, face painting and live music from family trio Thompsonia, the Downtown Berkeley Business Association’s Halloween Hootenanny promises to be a “spine-tingling experience like never before.” Costumes are encouraged. Friday, Oct. 27, 3-7 p.m. Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza. FREE

🍷 The Gilman District Wine Block’s First Friday Block Party features wine, various pop-up chefs, and live music. Read our story. Friday, Oct. 27, 3-8 p.m., Donkey & Goat Winery, Hammerling Wines and Broc Cellars. FREE

🎸 Guitar wizard George Cole celebrates the legacy of Hot Club of France legend Django Reinhardt at the Back Room with Foxtails Brigade violinist Anton Patzner and Charged Particles bassist Aaron Germain. Friday, Oct. 27, 8 p.m. $15-$20

💥 The Berkeley Public Library will host the first-ever Comic Con Saturday. Taking over the entire Central Branch, the all-ages event welcomes comic lovers and art enthusiasts, graphic novel aficionados and cosplayers. Saturday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Berkeley Public Library Central Branch. FREE

🎶 A devoted supporter of exploratory jazz and the intrepid musicians who travel the spaceways, Ken Schubert was a founder and guiding force of Jazz In Flight (the nonprofit that produced the annual Eddie Moore Jazz Festival) and Loft Jazz in San Francisco. An all-star group, including Berkeley drummer Anthony Brown, tuba maestro Bob Stewart, violinist Curtis Stewart and saxophonist Hafez Modirzadeh, pay tribute to the late master carpenter and raise funds for the Ken Schubert Jazz Studies Scholarship at Oaktown Jazz Workshops. Saturday, Oct. 28, 3 p.m. The Back Room, $25

🎬 Dress up in costume, pack a cozy blanket, and head to the parking lot behind Vintage Berkeley in the Elmwood neighborhood for a free outdoor screening of Monster House, a film about three teens who discover their neighbor’s house is actually alive! Saturday, Oct. 28, 6:30 p.m. 

🎻 Violinist John Ettinger’s Miniwatt String Quartet has honed a groove-centric sound that connects the Francophile dots between 1970s New Orleans R&B and 1930s Parisian Gypsy swing with an expansive book of tunes encompassing Jimmy Webb and Hammond B3 titan Jimmy Smith. The latest version of the combo features ubiquitous bassist Aaron Germain and the Berkeley tandem of guitarist John Schott and drummer John Hanes. Saturday, Oct. 28, 7 p.m., Jupiter, FREE

🎶 The talent-laden 17-piece Morchestra, joined by the reliably captivating vocalist Clairdee, refurbishes a set of standards by way of showcasing the vivid imagination of bandleader, guitarist and arranger Tony Corman, a longtime Berkeley resident whose creative life is entwined with his spouse, pianist Laura Klein. Saturday, Oct. 28, 8 p.m. California Jazz Conservatory. $25

💀 In the tradition of their near namesake inspiration, the musicians of Wake the Dead thrive amidst the ghosts, skeletons, dire wolves and disquieted spirits of the Halloween season, and the long-running acoustic Celtic Grateful Dead cover band returns to Freight & Salvage for a haunted evening, stealing faces right off of heads. Saturday, Oct. 28, 8 p.m. $30-$35 (also available via live stream)

🎙️ BAMPFA will show Wong Tin-Lam’s iconic 1960 Hong Kong film The Wild, Wild Rose, which borrows the plot of Georges Bizet’s Carmen and reimagines it in Hong Kong’s Wanchai district. Cal professor Weihong Bao, who studies comparative media history and Chinese language cinema, will introduce the film. Saturday, Oct. 28, 7 p.m. $5-$14

👻 If you’re seeking a scare (or your annual sugar fix), look no further than Russell Street’s family-friendly Halloween celebration, a four-decade-long Berkeley tradition in which neighbors deck out their front yards in spooky decorations and welcome hundreds of trick-or-treaters. Check out our photos from last year’s celebration. Tuesday, Oct. 31, 5-8:30 p.m. Russell Street between College and Claremont. FREE

🎃 Pumpkin sales from Westbrae Nursery’s East Bay Pumpkin Patch at 1272 Gilman St. will benefit Cornell Elementary School. Pumpkin prices range from $2.50 to $27, with no entry fee. You’ll also be able to take a picture with Oogie Boogie, the villainous bag of bugs from Nightmare Before Christmas (don’t worry, it’s just an inflatable) and a giant pumpkin from Larry’s Produce in Fairfield. Open daily through Tuesday, Oct. 31, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 

🎭 Hidden beneath a pizza shop in the Northside area is a tiny basement theater showing immersive and intimate live shows. Just in time for Halloween, Theatre Lunatico is showing a double header of two classic spooky stories: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and A Rose for Emily. Check the theater’s website for details. Through Sunday, Nov. 5. La Val’s Pizza. Pay what you will ($15-$50 suggested donation) 

🔥 The Metal Arts Guild San Francisco, ACCI Gallery and Enamel Guild have forged The Flame Within, their biennial collaborative exhibition showcasing metal sculptures, artwork, handmade jewelry and more. Exhibit open through Nov. 12. FREE

🤖 Patricia Milton’s The Engine of Our Disruption, a satire about artificial intelligence, is playing at the Berkeley City Club. Read our review. Check the Central Works website for details. Through Nov. 12. $15-$40

Beyond Berkeley

sugar skulls and other day of the dead decorations
Skulls and catrinas are two of the items traditionally used for an ofrenda. Credit: Emma Garcia

💀 Themed “Blooming Resilience,” this year’s Día de los Muertos festival honors the spirit of what makes Fruitvale thrive. The festivities take place along International Boulevard from Fruitvale to 42nd avenues and will include two stages with live music, Aztec dancers, altars created by community members and organizations, family activities, and much more. The Oaklandside staff will have a table at the event, so stop by and say hello. Sunday, Oct. 29, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. International Boulevard between Fruitvale and 42nd Avenue, Oakland. FREE

🍂 The UC Gill Tract Community Farm and Golden Gate Bird Alliance (formerly Golden Gate Audubon Society) are co-hosting a Harvest Festival. You’ll get to try your hand at screen printing, learn about local birds, try locally grown, organic produce and shop from a free store. There’ll also be a costume parade! Sunday, Oct. 29, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 1050 San Pablo Ave., Albany.

🍭 The Rockridge Halloween Parade includes a magic show, craft tables for kids, a dance party with DJ Danny Santos spinning Halloween classics, a costume contest, and lots of free candy. Sunday, Oct. 29, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., see website for the different locations. FREE

If there’s an event you’d like us to consider for this roundup, email us at If there’s an event that you’d like to promote on our calendar, you can use the self-submission form on our events page.

The Oaklandside’s Arts and Community reporter Azucena Rasilla contributed reporting to this story.


Affordable things to do in Berkeley any day of the week

Affordable things to do in Berkeley any day of the week

From farmers markets to trivia nights, we put together a roundup of events and activities held regularly in Berkeley.

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Iris Kwok covers the environment for Berkeleyside through a partnership with Report for America. A former music journalist, her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, KQED, San Francisco Examiner...

Freelancer Andrew Gilbert writes a weekly music column for Berkeleyside. Andy, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, covers a wide range of musical cultures, from Brazil and Mali to India and Ireland....