It presents us with the glorious opportunity to eat mounds of candy, watch tons of Frank Henenlotter horror movies, decorate the house with plastic dead things and, perhaps best of all, dress up like Jason Voorhees without (much) fear of anyone calling the police.
It's also typically a good night for live music in the Bay Area -- and this year is no exception. Here's a rundown of some of the more enticing shows scheduled for Oct. 31:
Flaming Lips: In general, I'm not a fan of this Oklahoma City indie-rock band. Still, it's easy to imagine the Flaming Lips throwing one memorable Halloween party. Wayne Coyne and crew love big-scale theatrics and crowd participation, both of which will come into play if the vocalist does his regular human-hamster bit -- where he rolls atop the outstretched hands of the audience in a giant transparent ball. Plus, a Flaming Lips show typically resembles a costume ball, with fans dressed up in those weird full-body animal outfits. Tame Impala and White Denim set the table. Details: 7 p.m.; Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco; $47.50; www.ticketmaster.com. The Sadies: There are many reasons why one might want to spend Halloween with this highly productive Toronto-based country-rock band, which has released some 16 studio albums since forming in 1994. The best of all, however, is that the Sadies intend to perform Alice Cooper's "Love It to Death" album in its entirety at the show. Details: 9 p.m.; Great American Music Hall, San Francisco; $17; www.slimspresents.com. Gov't Mule: Whether he's leading "The Mule," rocking as part of the Allman Brothers or participating in one of his many other musical projects, Warren Haynes always puts on an absolute guitar clinic in concert. He's one of the great ax slingers of the 21st century and is greatly idolized by the patchouli-scented jam-band nation. For my money, Haynes isn't quite in the same league as Phish's Trey Anastasio. But, then again, who is? Details: 8 p.m.; Fox Theater, Oakland; $35; www.ticketmaster.com. Boograss: Who better to host "Boograss: Halloween Hillbilly Hoedown!" than the Pine Box Boys? After all, it was the Pine Box Boys that gave the world such "bloodgrass" offerings as "Worms," "Tales from the Emancipated Head" and "Arkansas Killing Time." If murder ballads are your thing, then you clearly won't want to spend your Halloween anywhere else. The (Expletive) Buckaroos, The Harmed Brothers and Kemo Sabe are also on the bill. Details: 9 p.m.; Slim's, San Francisco; $15; www.slimspresents.com. Dwarves: The legendary punk band, which was born in Chicago in the mid-'80s and later relocated to San Francisco, was infamous for its wild live shows. At the height of the band's debauchery, the Dwarves would do all kinds of things onstage that, in the name of good taste, we can't fully describe here. Suffice it to say that it was very punk rock -- in the pre-Hot Topic meaning of the term. I'm sure that the Dwarves have calmed down a bit over the years, yet this should still be one crazy night. Mystic Knights of the Cobra opens the show. Details: 9 p.m.; Uptown Nightclub, Oakland; $15; www.uptownnightclub.com. The Four Freshmen: They were just four freshmen in college when they formed the vocal group in 1948. Since then, the Four Freshmen have recorded more than 75 albums, scored multiple Grammy nominations and influenced legions of performers with their beautiful harmonies. None of the original Freshmen is left in the band, but the new cast is still thrilling audiences with performances of such favorites as "Day by Day" and "Blue World." Details: 8 p.m. Wednesday and Oct. 31; Yoshi's-Oakland; $27-$28; www.yoshis.com. Elephant Revival: What kind of music does Elephant Revival make? Whatever kind it wants to, apparently. This is one wild and wacky folk/country/jam/funk outfit, hailing from -- where else? -- Colorado. All five members are multi-instrumentalists, creating a mad mix through washboard, electric banjo, acoustic guitar, fiddle, viola, djembe, mandolin and other contraptions. Details: 8 p.m., the Independent, San Francisco; $16-$18; www.theindependentsf.com. Cameo: Word up! Cameo is hosting what should be a really funky Halloween party. Of course, the band is best known for the mid-'80s single "Word Up!" Yet the group, which is led the incredibly soulful drummer Larry Blackmon, also found success with such hits as "Candy" and "She's Strange." San Francisco DJ Spooky Electronica is also on the bill. Details: 8 and 10 p.m.; Yoshi's-San Francisco; $46; www.yoshis.com.
Wayne Coyne and the his eclectic band, the Flaming Lips perform, perform at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Halloween. (John Green/Bay Area News Group Archives)
Follow Jim Harrington at Twitter.com/jimthecritic, Facebook.com/jim.bayareanews and http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/concerts.