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The best things to do in Philly this week

Plus lots of spooky Halloween events in town and nearby

Boo at the Zoo returns to the Philly Zoo for three weekend of spooktacular fun.
Boo at the Zoo returns to the Philly Zoo for three weekend of spooktacular fun.Read morePhiladelphia Zoo

📅 This calendar is updated every Thursday at noon with the best events for the week. You can always find it at


👻 Boo at the Zoo (Fall event / in-person / outdoors / kid-friendly / multi-day) Masks and social distancing required at Philadelphia Zoo’s three-weekend Halloween event. Check out the sights, animals and exhibits throughout the zoo, and don’t forget to wear a costume. (Free-$10, Oct. 16-18, 23-25, 30-Nov. 1,, map, add to calendar)

🍴 Black Restaurant Week (Food / in-person / multi-day) Celebrate Philly’s Black-owned restaurants with delicious food and desserts from food trucks, restaurants, and dessert shops. Enjoy great deals on breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner during the food-centric 10-day fest. (Pay as you go, Oct. 16-26,, add to calendar)

🎃 Passyunk Harvest Celebration (Fall event / in-person / multi-day) Restaurants, cafes and shops along East Passyunk dish out fall-themed specials to celebrate the season. Enjoy Halloween cookies at Essen, a seasonal whisky cocktail at Manatawny Still Works, a pumpkin cinnamon spice milkshake at P’unk Burger and more. (Pay as you go, Oct. 16-25,, map, add to calendar)

🏛️ Reopening of the National Liberty Museum (Museum / in-person) The Old City museum reopens with a special exhibit, Philly’s Freedom, about what it means to be free. The show features works by more than 50 area artists who focus on topics related to liberty and freedom, in addition to subjects like the killing of George Floyd and the coronavirus pandemic. (Free-$12, Oct. 16,, map, add to calendar)

👻 Spooky Literary Parlor at Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion (Fall event / virtual / history) Germantown’s Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion offers some scary good virtual fun. Volunteers read their favorite Victorian-era ghost stories aloud as you try not to get too scared. ($6, Oct. 16, 7-8 p.m.,, add to calendar)

🌱 Open-Air Social at Bartram’s Garden (Fall event / in-person / outdoors / multi-day) There’s plenty of fun to be had at this two-day open-air social, raising money for the garden’s programs for local students. Choose your own adventure at the outdoor event — options include music by the waterfront and quizzo. You get a cocktail upon entry but are encouraged to bring your own picnic blanket and snacks. ($55-$100, Oct. 16-17,, map, add to calendar)

🎵 Welcome to the Blumhouse Live (Music / virtual / multi-day / free) This weekend-long event stars the Roots' Questlove on Friday, rapper Ludacris with deejay JADALAREIGN on Saturday, and songwriter-producer Toro Y Moi on Sunday. It’s all to hype four new movies: Nocturne, Black Box, Evil Eye and The Lie, produced by horror auteur Jason Blum and available on Amazon Prime Video. (Free, Oct. 16-18, 5 p.m. Fri. and Sun., 7:30 p.m. Sat.,, add to calendar)

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📜 Spooky Twilight Tours at the Betsy Ross House (Tours / in-person / history) The scariest thing about the Betsy Ross House’s Friday night spooky tours may just be that the subject matter — infection, inoculation and Philadelphia’s sickly history — hits close to home this year. Masks and social distancing required at the two-hour tour. ($10, Oct. 16, 23 and 30, 6-8 p.m.,, map, add to calendar)

🎥 The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Movie / virtual) Writer/director Aaron Sorkin brings to life the story of the 1968 anti-war protests at the Democratic National Convention and the resulting trial. With Eddie Redmayne, Alex Sharp, Sacha Baron Cohen. (Rated R. Premieres Friday, Oct. 16 on Netflix)

🎬 The Illadelphia Glow (Movie / virtual) Short film written and directed by former Philadelphia Daily News reporter Mister Mann Frisby and shot around the city with local actors. The story, which has a very Twilight Zone feel, is about a high school teacher burdened by a special power. (Rated PG-13. Premieres Friday, Oct. 16 on Amazon Prime)

🎬 Time (Movie / virtual) Documentary about Fox Rich, a mother of six who’s spent decades trying to get her husband released from prison on a 60-year sentence for a robbery they both committed. (Rated PG-13. Premieres Friday, Oct. 16 on Amazon Prime)

🎬 Clouds (Movie / virtual) A young musician with only months to live makes an album that becomes a viral sensation. Starring Fin Argus and Sabrina Carpenter. (Rated PG-13. Premieres Friday, Oct. 16 on Disney+)


👨‍🎤 David Byrne’s American Utopia (Music / virtual / TV) The Talking Heads founder has always been a staging innovator, going back to the 1984 Jonathan Demme-directed movie Stop Making Sense. The tour for his 2017 album American Utopia used cordless microphones so all 12 members of his gray-suited band could move freely in choreographed harmony. Spike Lee directed this film of the show’s Broadway run. (Oct 17, 8 p.m. on HBO, add to calendar)

🎭 Late Night Snacks: FEAST (Theater / virtual / free) As an antidote to quarantine boredom, the Fringe Festival and the Bearded Ladies Cabaret team up for a 12-hour (yep, you read that right) livestream cabaret performance with performers from Melbourne to Paris to Philly. The event is free, but you can buy kits for your at-home cabaret viewing experience, with money going to support the artists. (Free-$1,000, Oct. 17 from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.,, add to calendar)

📚 Mighty Writers Virtual Spelling Bee (Event / virtual) Mighty Writers, a local organization that helps more than 3,500 area students with reading and writing, hosts a digital spelling bee on YouTube, with kids from schools in South and West Philly showing off their mad spelling skillz. (Free, Oct. 17, 11 a.m.,, add to calendar)

👻 Monsters, Myths and Legends at the Penn Museum (Fall event / virtual / multi-day) Hear stories of eerie history at the museum’s Halloween storytelling event. Hear tales about the origins of vampires and werewolves and the first monster legends, while enjoying a mystery six-pack of beer that you can pick up at several local bottle shops. ($10, Oct. 17 and 30, 7-9 p.m.,, add to calendar)


👟 Philly AIDS Walk (Charity / virtual / outdoors) The pandemic isn’t stopping the AIDS Fund from running its annual fundraiser. Instead of gathering in-person, you’re encouraged to take part in the 5K in your own neighborhood after tuning in to a virtual warm-up for all participants. (Fundraising encouraged, Oct. 18,, add to calendar)

🪕 49 Burning Condors (Music / in-person) It’s starting to get nippy out there; this afternoon show is the last in the People’s Light Drive-In series. Philly quintet 49 Burning Condors calls itself a gothic folk rock band; their Truth and Roses EP is peopled by ghosts and witches and bears the influence of Tom Waits and Fleetwood Mac. ($75 per carload, Oct. 18, 4 p.m.,, map, add to calendar)

🎸 The Philadelphia Tom Petty Appreciation Society (Music / in-person) The PTPAS is fronted by Pat Finnerty, the Philly rocker known for playing on West Philly rooftops and luring Dave Grohl onto his Instagram Live show. This outdoor show features an all-star band including Patrick Berkery on drums. Petty, who died in 2017, would have turned 70 this month. Wildflowers & All The Rest, an expanded re-issue of Petty’s 1994 solo album, came out last week. ($20, Oct. 18, 6 p.m.,, map, add to calendar)


📺 Janelle Monae, Lovecraft Country: Sanctum (Music / virtual) The first season of the HBO show Lovecraft Country concludes Sunday night; on Monday, Monae performs her first ever VR concert as part of Sanctum, the show’s adjacent VR events series. The show, called Music of the Cosmos takes place “in a new dimension designed to celebrate Black art, stories and voices.” Interact with it using your Oculus Quest headset — or watch it on YouTube. (Free, Oct. 19, 10 p.m.,, add to calendar)

🗳️ OwnYourVote Performance Phest (Music / virtual / free / multi-day) Headlined by DJ Jazzy Jeff, the music fest from Equally Informed Philly is a virtual lineup of the city’s hip-hop artists, poets, visual artists, and community leaders, all celebrating your power to vote, all streamed on the group’s Instagram account. (Free, Oct. 19-23,, add to calendar)


🎤 Virtual StorySlam: Rearview Mirror (Performance / virtual) This month’s StorySlam theme is all about hindsight as we continue through the strangeness that is 2020. Local storytellers look back at their year and the joyful and not-so-joyful events that occurred, all on Zoom. ($10, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m.,, add to calendar)


🏅 Schitt’s Creek Quizzo (Quizzo / virtual) Everyone’s favorite Canadian comedy gets the quizzo treatment as World Cafe Live presents virtual trivia about the Rose family, their friends and their antics. ($10, Oct 21, 7 p.m.,, add to calendar)

🍿 Rebecca (Movie / virtual) Stylish remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 classic (originally starring Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine and Judith Anderson) about a new marriage haunted by the husband’s dead wife. Now with Armie Hammer, Lily James and Kristin Scott Thomas. Based on the novel by Daphne Du Maurier. (Rated PG-13. Premieres Wednesday, Oct. 21 on Netflix)

💀 October Extended Hours Pop-Up at the Mutter Museum (Museum / in-person) On select evenings this October, the Mutter Museum stays open a little later for after-hours tours of the collection and special pop-up events. On Oct. 21, the museum looks at the use of the word ‘monster’ as a medical term during the past 500 years. (Free-$20, Oct. 21 and 29, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.,, map, add to calendar)


🎨 Da Vinci Fest Live (Festival / virtual and in-person / multi-day / kid-friendly) The Da Vinci Art Alliance debuts its first-ever live fest with virtual and in-person exhibitions, digital programs, a derby race, an art market and more. Celebrating both art and science in Philadelphia, the event kicks off on Oct. 22 with a live-streamed derby with cool creations by locals of all ages. (Free unless noted, Oct. 22-29,, add to calendar)

🎭 The Bridge PHL Theatre Festival (Performance / virtual / anti-racism) The Bridge PHL is a local organization that promotes equality and inclusion through performance-based dialogues about racial oppression and bias. The group’s all-virtual festival brings more than 20 free performances (but donations are encouraged) to YouTube, tackling important topics like white privilege, innate racism, brutality and oft-forgotten Black figures. (Donations encouraged, Oct. 22-25,, add to calendar)


Chestnut Hill’s Night of Lights (Arts / in-person / outdoors / free) For nearly the full month of October, Chestnut Hill’s Germantown Avenue turns into a free public art exhibit celebrating the area’s history and architecture. Every evening from October 9 to 25, businesses along the thoroughfare show historic films and images from the Chestnut Hill Conservancy while lights illuminate buildings throughout the neighborhood. (Free, through Oct. 25,, map, add to calendar)

👹 Monster Mash Bloody Mary Challenge in Northern Liberties (Food / in-person) Restaurants in Northern Liberties battle it out in the Bloody Mary challenge and all you have to do is drink up and vote for your favorite. The main event is on the 10th, but the participating restaurants will have their best Bloody Marys all month long. Masks and social distancing are required. (Pay as you go, through Oct. 31,, map, add to calendar)

🌳 13th Annual Scarecrow Walk (Outdoors / in-person / kid-friendly) Fall fun arrives at Morris Arboretum in the form of 50 carefully designed, fairytale-themed scarecrows. Walk the garden grounds and vote for your favorite scarecrow. (Free-$20, through Nov. 1,, map, add to calendar)

🌙 Night Tours at Eastern State Penitentiary (Tour / in-person / ongoing) Arriving in time for the spookiest season of them all is the penitentiary’s brand-new Night Tours, where you can explore the cell blocks by moonlight. The audio tour is narrated by Steve Buscemi, and features large-scale projections, artist installations and more. ($19-32, through Nov. 15,, map, add to calendar)

🇵🇷 Raúl Romero: Onomonopoetics of a Puerto Rican Landscape (Art / in-person / ongoing) Taller Puertorriqueño presents an immersive exhibit that transports viewers to Puerto Rico through sound. Sounds of the island’s tiny coquí frog can be heard throughout Fairhill’s El Centro de Oro, emanating from sculptures that celebrate Arecibo’s famous observatory. (Free, through Jan. 10,, add to calendar)

🎨 M.I.M.O.S.A. at the Navy Yard (Art / in-person / outdoors / ongoing) From Group X, the anonymous art group that brought a cocoon out of tape and a tentacled sea monster to the Navy Yard in years past, Mystery Island and the Marvelous Occurrence of Spontaneous Art lets you explore six new outdoor art installations, including a 1984 Ford Thunderbird decked out in a paper version of the Guatemalan flag, a cross-stitched vine that climbs a building and a Gritty-esque bridge troll decked out in a Jawn T-shirt. (Free, through Nov. 2,, map, add to calendar)

🎨 DesignPhiladelphia (Arts / virtual and in-person) DesignPhiladelphia celebrates the city’s design community and the talented designers who live here. This year’s festival is largely virtual and starts off with an online kickoff party featuring discussions with designers, a peek at festival exhibits, interactive cocktail making and more. (Prices vary, through Oct. 18,, add to calendar)

Calendar contributors include music critic Dan DeLuca (music), Howard Gensler (movies), and Jane M. Von Bergen (theater).