Tampa Bay Celebrates Halloween (Again) & 'Dia de Los Muertos' This Weekend


The events and descriptions below were compiled by Tampa Bay Times entertainment and events reporter Sharon Wynne. To check out all of the weekend events courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times, click here.


Trick-or-treaters will be ringing doorbells on Thursday but the holiday bleeds through the weekend, with the haunts continuing at the theme parks, the American Victory Ship and even at the Tampa Convention Center!

Spooky Empire: The convention celebrating everything Halloween and horror runs tonight (Thursday) through Sunday at the Tampa Convention Center. Friday's festivities kick off with the giant "zombie walk," which departs from the Unlock Tampa Bay Visitors Center (201 N Franklin St., Suite 102) at 1 p.m. and arrives at the Tampa Convention Center just before the doors open. Starting at 11 a.m., the visitors center will have free samples of local beers, and makeup artists from Post Mortem FX will help zombify those who want to take part in the parade. Inside the convention center's main hall will be hundreds of vendors selling everything from rare DVDs to rubber masks to T-shirts. Celebrities include Cassandra Peterson ( Elvira), rocker Alice Cooper and Mia Farrow (Rosemary's Baby). Alice Cooper will sign autographs and pose for photos on Friday and Saturday, with a Q&A at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $20-$50, but children 12 and younger are free!

Cirque du Soleil: Axel: Those creative clowns at Cirque du Soleil are taking their derring-do to Amalie Arena! The international troupe's latest feat is Axel, an ice show incorporating acrobatics, visual effects, and a mix of popular and original music. The plot, you ask? Yeah, there is one, something about the power of music and art and following your dreams. It doesn't really matter; you're just going to watch them flip and spin on the dazzling projection-mapped ice. Good, clean, cold fun all around. The show runs today (Thursday) through Sunday at Amalie Arena.


95.7 Beats by the Bay:  The old school is in session, like a '90s and 2000s R&B. This festival returns to Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg this weekend with a lineup that includes Love and Hip Hop star K. Michelle (Can't Raise a Man), R&B boy band Jagged Edge (Where the Party At), purveyors of crunk the Ying Yang Twins (Salt Shaker), Baltimore lover boys Dru Hill (How Deep Is Your Love) featuring Sisqo (Thong Song), New Orleans singer Lloyd (You) and Grammy-nominated singer and media personality Amerie (1 Thing). Get there at 3 p.m. on Saturday!

There's a hologram show on Sunday featuring the ghostly likenesses of Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly. There will be a live band and background singers who look just like the legends who never actually performed together. See it at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. 

The '90s favorites the Gin Blossoms will be at Capitol Theatre on Friday.

Vince Neil had to cancel (replaced by Jackyl), but Sebastian Bach and Slaughter are still slated to play a charity fundraiser for American veterans Saturday called the Coral Head MusicFest. See them at the England Brothers Bandshell in Pinellas Park.

Old Dominion has done it all from clubs to arenas to stadiums, just not always in that order. The biggest country group since the Zac Brown Band ( Break Up With Him, Written in the Sand and Hotel Key,) next spring will play Raymond James Stadium with Kenny Chesney once again. But first, they're headlining their own arena tour, Scotty McCreery and Ryan Hurd open. Check it out at 7 p.m. Friday at the Yuengling Center.

Elton John: Monday's sold-out show at Amalie Arena is his farewell tour!

The inaugural Downtown St. Pete Songwriters Festival, starts Friday, and features more than 50 free performances throughout the weekend at venues around downtown, with only a couple requiring tickets: Collective Soul's Ed Roland and Jesse Triplett, the Warren Brothers and Sonia Leigh on Friday at the Mahaffey Theater; Matisyahu on Saturday at Jannus Live. Get the full schedule at dtspsongwritersfestival.com.

The Florida Orchestra presents a special evening with Jane in Concert. The documentary is about legendary conservationist Jane Goodall, a trailblazer whose chimpanzee research revolutionized the understanding of the natural world. It plays while renowned composer Philip Glass directs the moving score. Hear it Saturday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.


In January, Mo'Nique became the first African-American woman to hold down a solo Las Vegas residency, at the SLS Hotel. It was proof that Mo'Nique still has clout in the entertainment world, even if she often finds herself at odds with Hollywood. She's still a top draw as a comic (repeat: Vegas) and still crosses the country sharing her side of her life in cities like Tampa. See her on Friday at 7:30 and 10 p.m on Saturday. 

Family Feud Live: Celebrity Edition comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall and will have comics Tom Arnold and Pauly Shore on hand. Randomly selected audience members will be picked to join an onstage "family team" alongside their celebrity team captains and host Rubin Ervin. Players will get a chance to win cash and prizes in the non-televised version of the popular game show. Other audience members can win prizes without leaving their seats when the celebrity hosts interact with them from the stage. 


The Bowtie Ball is like Tampa Bay's own "nerd prom," in which top journalists gather for the Poynter Institute's annual celebration of the role of the free press. This year Poynter, which owns the Tampa Bay Times, will honor broadcast journalist Katie Couric and Norman Pearlstine, executive editor of the Los Angeles Times, for their service to journalism. Grab a ticket and get there on Saturday at the Vinoy.


Saturday Night Brawl III at the Yuengling Center will have crowd-favorite boxers Iron Alvarez, Sonny Duversonne, Tracy Smith, James Taylor, Joseph Fernandez, and Josue Loyola. See it at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.


Savor St. Pete: Local and national wine and spirits producers, chefs and brewmasters descend upon Savor St. Pete to showcase their talents. Eat and drink your fill at the culinary celebration, formerly known as Clearwater Beach Uncorked, over two days. Saturday brings two main draws: the chef competition, in which contenders will dream up one dish for judging, and the cooking demonstration by Martha Davis, the lead singer of '80s group the Motels, who will prepare a recipe while sharing stories about her career in music. VIP tickets include a one-hour early entry. Get to North Straub Park all weekend long. 

During the inaugural To the Rescue festival on the Hillsborough River, enjoy grub from Tampa Bay restaurants and caterers, plus fine wine, spirits, and craft beer. This benefits Rescue Cats of Florida. It's on Saturday at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park.

Tampa Riverwalk Fall Food and Art Festival: Nearly 80 vendors make up this congregation of food artisans and trucks, live music, and art-makers at Water Works Park. The Tampa Riverwalk Fall Food and Art Festival features an area for kids, too. It's free on Saturday. 


Anyone who has seen Pixar's Coco (and cried, of course, while watching it) knows that Dia de Los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, isn't a knockoff of Halloween but a celebration of loved ones we have lost. And it does so in a fabulous, colorful way with giant puppets, candles, altars, and skeletons playing mariachi music. COSTUMING: Paint your faces into skulls and cover yourself in ruffles and flowers. The huge annual event in Dunedin was canceled this year, but organizers say it will be back next year. Meanwhile, here are some other events related to the Mexican holiday typically celebrated from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.

Day of the Dead Block Party: Central Avenue will close down for a giant block party with face painting, a food truck, chihuahua races, street vendors, a costume contest, and dancing. Benefits chihuahua and pet rescues. It's free from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday at the Dog Bar.

Day of the Dead Fall Festival: Dress up for the costume contest and enjoy games, face painting, and a screening of Pixar's Coco. Music, vendors, a chili cook-off, and a lighted parade round out the event. The event is free from 2-7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Universalist Church of Tampa.

Dia de Los Muertos Weekend: The new celebration at Busch Gardens includes an expanded party zone near the Moroccan Palace featuring entertainment and themed culinary creations. Check it out from Thursday-Saturday. The event is included with admission.

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