It's creepy and it's kooky. Maybe a little goofy. Definitely a bit "booky." It's the weekend before Halloween.
Make sure to scare up some fun by attending one or more of these local events.
FOOD & DRINK
Northside's Bloody Battle: Friday-Sunday. Northside, Cincinnati. If you think Northside’s Bloody Battle sounds somewhat gory, trust us — it’s not. Instead, this is one of the most clever Halloween-adjacent events taking place this weekend in the Queen City. Adults ages 21 and older are invited to visit participating bars in this weekend’s “battle,” drink Bloody Marys and then vote on which establishment serves the best beverage. You’ll be asked to judge in three categories — best overall, best garnish and most creative. Each “vote” equals a single entry into a raffle for a basket drawing. A portion of the Bloody Battle’s proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Churches Active in Northside (CAIN). For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Bootsy Collins Birthday Bash: 5-9 p.m. Friday. Jungle Jim’s International Market Eastgate, 4450 Eastgate South Drive, Union Township. Cincinnati funk legend Bootsy Collins is celebrating his birthday with a beer release bash. Sample Freboard Brewing Co.’s Bootsy Brewski IPA, listen to some music and enjoy a meet-and-greet with Collins from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Word on the street is the beer might even be served in a special pint glass, so be on the lookout. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Pleasant Ridge Halloween Pub Crawl & Trick or Treat: Noon-11 p.m. Saturday. Revolution Rotisserie, 6063 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge. $10-$15. It’s hee-eeere. The Pleasant Ridge Halloween Pub Crawl will return with great eats, drinks and spooky fun. The pub crawl portion of this year’s event will include seven eateries and bars, while the trick or treat part will include seven other local establishments. The day will begin with free trick-or-treating from noon-3 p.m. The fun will continue with the bar crawl starting at 6 p.m. and lasting until the participating businesses close. For more information visit the Facebook event page.
Harvest Fest: 1 p.m.-midnight Saturday. HighGrain Brewing, 6860 Plainfield Road, Silverton. Drink a pint of great beer at HighGrain Brewing’s inaugural Harvest Fest while helping reforest areas damaged by wildfires. The day will feature a special brunch, the tapping of Fire Scout, a Nordic red IPA, fall family-friendly activities and live music featuring the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars. highgrainbrewing.com
Braxton Halloween Bash: 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday. Braxton Brewing Co., 27 W. Seventh St., Covington. Free. Don your spookiest costume and boogie down at Braxton’s taproom for a Halloween disco party with Travis Bell, aka Retro DJ. Braxton will be lighting up the dance floor on All Hallow's Eve and will have plenty of beer to go around. Costumes aren't necessary, but they are definitely encouraged. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
HorrorHound's Halloween Bash: 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday. Northside Tavern, 4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside. Ages 21 and older. Free admission. HorrorHound will return to the Northside Tavern for a night full of Halloween shenanigans. Celebrate the haunting season with some amazing horror-influenced musical acts such as The Big Bad and The Jimmy Psycho Experiment, along with Cincinnati locals The Epidemic. Spooky costumes are encouraged, and the HorrorHound crew will give away special prizes throughout the night for best dressed. Horrorhound also will reveal new guests for its upcoming HorrorHound Weekend convention. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
The “HALLO-WIEDIE” Party Returns: 7:30 p.m.-midnight Saturday. Wiedemann Brewing Co., 4811 Vine St., St. Bernard. Free. I can’t think of a better place for a Halloween party than inside a funeral home-turned-taproom. The evening will feature a costume contest, drink specials, munchies and DJ Marty G. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
The Birdcage’s Halloween Costume Party: 10 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Saturday. The Birdcage, 927 Race St., Downtown. Put on your scariest or sexiest costume to join the folks at the Birdcage for a real Halloween treat, and get ready to dance the night away with DJ Patrick B. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
👉🏽 Tap here for my complete list of Halloween-themed events.
Bocce Ball Tournament: Begins 8 a.m. Saturday. Geier Field House, The Children’s Home, 5050 Madison Road, Madisonville. Come out and support athletes at every level as they participate in this weekend’s Hamilton County Special Olympics sanctioned bocce ball tournament. Student athletes from throughout Greater Cincinnati, including those from The Heidt Center of Excellence by the Children’s Home will compete in what is sure to be a day of friendly rivalry. www.thechildrenshomecinti.org
Books by the Banks: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown. Free. Feed your brain and support local, national and international authors during Books by the Banks. The annual festival will feature dozens of writers who will be signing, selling and discussing their books, which range from illustrated children’s literature to adult nonfiction. booksbythebanks.org
Big Gay Craft Fair: Noon-6 p.m. Saturday. Fueled Collective, Rookwood Exchange, 3825 Edwards Road, Norwood. This is a craft fair for everyone. The family-friendly event will feature LGBTQ and ally vendors just in time to do some early holiday shopping! Fueled Collective will have a cash bar serving cocktails, mocktails and soda to enjoy while you shop. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Secret Garden Redux: The Upside Down Halloween at 21c: 9 p.m-1 a.m. Saturday. 21c Museum Hotel, 609 Walnut St., Downtown. $10 suggested donation. Ages 21 and older. 21c Cincinnati will transform into a “Stranger Things”-inspired world of fun for creatures of the night this Halloween season. The evening will feature Northside Nick and PXVC spinning music in the main gallery, plus projections from C Jacqueline Wood. Heroes Rise and Dancefix by HBDC also will perform throughout 21c’s galleries. Some of the best makeup professionals in the Queen City also will decorate guests’ faces free of charge. Costumes are highly encouraged and there will be a costume contest with prizes. All suggested donations will benefit the ACLU of Ohio, as well as the Art Academy of Cincinnati. For more information, visit the event Facebook page.
Fall Fest: 3-10 p.m. Saturday. Shop Bellevue, 200-700 blocks of Fairfield Avenue, Bellevue. Free. Get ready for IN VUE's annual family-friendly pop-up party Fall Fest. For the first time, the festival will start in the afternoon and extend into the evening. There will be live music, craft vendors, beer from Darkness Brewing, specials from local small business owners and a children’s fun zone. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Fall Fest Weekend: Noon-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. Carve out some good times at Washington Park's weekend of fall family fun. The park will be jam-packed with a great entertainment lineup for all ages, local vendors selling craft and homemade items, baked goods and pet needs. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Art After Dark: Tormented Souls: 5-9 p.m. Friday. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams. Free. Join the fine folks at the Cincinnati Art Museum for a night of spooky fun as they celebrate Halloween and the museum’s new special exhibition, “Treasures of the Spanish World.” The event will feature music from Andres Bautista (DJ AB), dance performances from Pones, food for purchase from Che and Busken Bakery, specialty cocktails, gallery experiences with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, planet and star gazing with Cincinnati Observatory and free admission to the museum’s special exhibitions. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Robert Dubac’s “Book of Moron”: 7:30 p.m. Friday; 4 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown. $55. Robert Dubac will bring his newest off-Broadway hit, “Book of Moron,” to the Jarson-Kaplan Theater this weekend. Critics have described Dubac’s latest work as one of the most hilarious, intelligent and scorching satirical attacks on idiocracy since Mark Twain. “Book of Moron” is a fast-paced production that combines satire and theater to create a razor-sharp critique of modern American culture. www.cincinnatiarts.org
“The Wizard of Oz”: 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday. Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown. $29-$99. The Cincinnati Ballet will transport audiences “over the rainbow” with its colorful adaptation of the classic “The Wizard of Oz.” Choreographer Septime Webre transforms “The Wizard of Oz” into a magical ballet with music by Matthew Pierce. You’ll want to make sure to make time to experience the regional premiere of this classic before it blows out of town on Nov. 3. cballet.org
MUSIC & COMEDY
Celine Dion “Courage World Tour”: 7:30 p.m. Thursday. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway St., Downtown. $49.50-$199.50. Canadian pop icon Celine Dion will raise the roof of U.S. Bank Arena during her “Courage World Tour” stop in the Queen City. Dion kicked off the tour on Sept. 18 in Quebec and plans to perform in more than 50 cities before stopping. This is Dion’s first U.S. tour in more than a decade. usbankarena.com
"Ben Folds and a Piano": 8 p.m. Thursday. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown. $18.75-$75. Influential indie pop star Ben Folds will perform some of his best hits, along with new music, when he visits the Taft Theatre. Folds will be joined by Savannah Conley, an emerging singer/songwriter that Rolling Stone magazine named one of 2019’s “Artists You Need to Know.” tafttheatre.org
An Evening With 98 Degrees: 8 p.m. Friday. The Lawrenceburg Event Center, 91 Walnut St., Lawrenceburg. $39-$449. Spend an evening with the Queen City’s most popular former boy band in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. www.hollywoodindiana.com
Rhett Miller: 8 p.m. Friday. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown. $25 advance; $28 day of show. Many know Rhett Miller as the founding member of alternative country group the Old 97’s. In the past few years, Miller has branched out on his own with various solo projects. The esteemed singer and performer will perform new tracks from his eighth solo album, “The Messenger,” at the Taft’s ballroom. tafttheatre.org
J.B. Smoove “Lollygaggin Tour”: 8 p.m. Saturday. Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St., Corryville. All ages show. $42. Gifted writer, comedian and actor J.B. Smoove will entertain audiences with his unique brand of comedy at Bogart’s. You'll recognize Smoove from his breakout role on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” as Leon, among other roles. www.bogarts.com
Casting Crowns “Only Jesus Tour”: 7 p.m. Saturday. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway St., Downtown. $24-$79. Casting Crowns will bring its “Only Jesus Tour” to U.S. Bank Arena with a lineup that will feature top-selling worship artist Kari Jobe, songwriter/worship leader Cody Carnes and newcomer Jamie Kimmett. Hip-hop act Zauntee will host the concert. The tour takes its name from the band's current top-selling album “Only Jesus.” usbankarena.com
Trisha Yearwood “Every Girl On Tour”: 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown. $50-$128. Acclaimed country singer Trisha Yearwood will roll into town to perform songs from her new album, “Every Girl in This Town.” The album is the first new full-length production for Yearwood since 2007’s “Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love.” Singer/songwriter Kim Richey will join Yearwood during her stop in the Queen City. tafttheatre.org