Here’s a grown-up alternative to the traditional Halloween fare of corn mazes and pumpkin patches: Disturbed II. For the 15-minute play of sorts—organizers describe it as an “inverted haunted house”—the audience stands in a cramped space while the action jumps out from the sidelines. It’s a combination of performance and multimedia special effects that is, to put it mildly, really scary—i.e., no kids allowed. The show runs every half hour from 8 to 11:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Halloween at Oracle Theatre (3809 N. Broadway; 773-244-2980). Admission is $9 at the door, $7 with reservations; last year’s Disturbed sold out, so call ahead. Entry is 18 and up.
Best Bets for Things to Do This Week
• Prefer onscreen chills to live-action scares? The Music Box (3733 N. Southport Ave.; 773-871-6604) hosts its third annual Massacre this weekend; the 24-hour movie marathon features classic flicks such as The Shining and Halloween 3. Films run noon Saturday the 13th through noon Sunday the 14th; tickets are $9.25.
• Everyone knows getting older is scary, so what better way to toast a birthday than with a serious fright fest? Annoyance Theatre (4830 N. Broadway; 773-561-4665) toasts its 20th anniversary with a weekend-long lineup of gags and thrills beginning with Love Is Dead: A Necromantic Musical Comedy at 8 p.m. Friday the 12th. Other highlights include the troupe’s infamous horror-flick spoof, Splatter Theatre (midnight Friday the 12th and 10 p.m. Saturday the 13th), and Happy Song Fun Time, starring several original Annoyance cast members (8 p.m. Saturday the 13th). Visit annoyanceproductions.com for tickets.
• Need a break from the Halloween hoohah? Sample sparkling wines from France, Australia, and South Africa at the EfferFest World Sparkling Wine Festival at Pops for Champagne (601 N. State St.; 312-266-7677). Then, chase the sparklers with noshes inspired by the wines’ origins. The sampling session runs 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday the 13th; tickets are $50 at the door.
• Go for Gasteyer alone. Sondheim’s musical drama Passion, starring the excellent SNL alum, plays upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (800 E. Grand Ave.; 312-595-5600) through November 11th. Shows run Tuesdays through Sundays; call for the full schedule. Tickets run $44 to $64.
• No need to leave the iPod behind on this outing; in fact, BYO if you’ve got it. Everyone’s invited to power up and plug in during eyeSpace, a performance by New York’s experimental Merce Cunningham Dance Company; audience members can put together their own versions of the score. If you don’t have an iPod, don’t fret; organizers will lend you one for the duration of the performance. The program runs 8 p.m. Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th at Harris Theater in Millennium Park (205 E. Randolph St.; 312-344-6600). Tickets are $20 to $50.
• This year Wicker Park’s seminal arts fest, Around the Coyote, has moved its mind-boggling lineup of gallery tours, theatre performances, music, and film to October. Pick up a complete guide at Around the Coyote Gallery (1935 ½ W. North Ave.; 773-342-6777), but be sure to ogle the outdoor sculptures in Wicker Park and tour the Splat Flats, an emerging artists’ community, Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m. The festival kicks off Friday the 12th at 6 p.m. and continues Saturday the 13th and Sunday the 14th from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Prices for individual events vary, but day passes are $10 and all-weekend passes are $40 at aroundthecoyote.org.
• Try it any other way, and it’s even more boring than watching paint dry. But Slowlife at Chicago Botanic Garden (1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe; 847-835-5440) uses time-lapse photography to show the lifecycle of plants and flowers, from bulb to wilt, on hyper-fast forward. And as long as you’re primed to appreciate nature’s glory, take a stroll through the grounds for an eyeful of fall color; trust us, it doesn’t look like this in the city. The exhibition runs through Sunday the 21st. Admission to the garden is free; parking is $15.
PLEASE NOTE: Events may be postponed or simply canceled. Please call ahead to make sure they are still scheduled to take place. Send tips or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.