There’s no doubt it’s October — it’s in the air and in the events. This week, there’s two notable Halloween-ish candidates: Chestnut Hill’s Witches & Wizards Weekend and Shane Confectionery’s spooky (but not scary) tours. Round that out with old standards like Eastern State Penitentiary, new-guard events like Jack’s Pumpkin Glow in Fairmount Park and the dancing-zombie dance at 2nd Sanctuary, and a tour of Philly’s Halloween pop-up bars (they’ll be gone come the first week of November).
If you’re not a costume person, fear not. Another cider festival, a brand-new interactive Franklin Institute exhibit, and the nationally renowned Cape May Fall Festival — which is all about birds and birding — are among this weekend’s offerings.
And if all you really want to do this weekend is hit up a new place to eat, well, Craig LaBan has you more than covered: He’s outlined the city’s Top 25 restaurants of 2019 and the places he hits when a craving strikes, whether its for breakfast or dessert, adventure eats or chicken, or plain ol’ hoagies.
— Jenn Ladd (@jrladd, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Witches & Wizards Weekend
A certain lightning-scarred boy wizard and his coterie inspired this annual festival on the northwest outskirts of the city. Look forward to butterscotch soda, a costumed 5K, a mystery room, and the Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament on the sports field of Chestnut Hill College, whose turreted towers and leafy surroundings might remind you of Hogwarts. — Bethany Ao
Oct. 18-19, 8532 Germantown Ave., Chestnut Hill, pay as you go, 215-247-6696, chestnuthillpa.com
The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Experience
Modeled on Philadelphia-based Quirk Books’ best-selling survival series, this world-premiere Franklin Institute exhibit will feature a hands-on logical series of immersive challenges providing the essential instructions for surviving unexpected but possible real-life scenarios. Stay calm, be prepared, and jump the shark. — Stephan Salisbury
Opens Saturday, Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St., $20-$30 for adults, $15-$26 for children 3-11, 215-448-1200, www.fi.edu
Pour the Core Hard Cider Fest
Celebrate the season with hard cider of all kinds at this outdoor festival featuring more than 75 cider-makers, based both locally and abroad. Guests can enjoy eats from trucks like Nick’s Roast Beef, Philly Fry, and Baby Blues BBQ, and catch a cider donut-eating contest with 25 hungry participants. — Grace Dickinson
1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Marine Parade Grounds, 4747 S. Broad St., $50 ($12 for designated driver), pourthecore.com
Witches!: History & Hearth
Love the treats that come with Halloween more than the tricks? Then Shane Confectionery in Old City has the event for you. Take a tour of the 19th-century confectionery (you’ll need to climb a steep, narrow staircase) and enjoy potions and candies while learning about local occult folklore. At the end of the evening, you’ll go home with a goodie bag. — G.D.
7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Sunday, additional tours on Friday, Oct. 25, through Sunday, Oct. 27, Shane Confectionery, 110 Market St., $28, tinyUrl.com/ShaneWitches
Vendor Fest and Global Cardboard Challenge
Once upon a time, way back in 2012, a kid named Caine made a whole arcade out of cardboard boxes in his dad’s East Los Angeles auto parts store. Thus was born the Cardboard Challenge. Today, kids all over are building their own dreams with old boxes and such, including at Smith Memorial Playground in Strawberry Mansion, where they’ll create alongside families vending kids’ stuff. — Lauren McCutcheon
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Smith Memorial Playground, 3500 Reservoir Dr., free, 215-765-4325, smithplayground.org
‘What Might this Be?’: The Art & Science of Rorschach Inkblots
Tap your inner psyche at this exhibit featuring inkblots from Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach’s collection. Trying to dive deep into the inner workings of the mind, Rorschach created the images in the 1920s as psychological tests in which he’d analyze subjects’ perceptions of the art. Visitors will learn about the Rorschach process, review responses from clinical cases, and submit their own response to the blobs. — G.D.
Through Dec. 8, Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel, 3401 Filbert St., free, 215-895-2400, drexel.edu/pearlsteingallery
Philadelphia Grocery Co-op Day
Though it doesn’t roll off the tongue, this new day — Mayor Jim Kenney will make it official on Friday — celebrates important institutions in Philly’s food scene. Area co-ops like Weavers Way Co-op, Swarthmore Co-op, Kensington Community Food Co-op, Mariposa Food Co-op, and the forthcoming South Philly Food Co-op focus on local sourcing and supporting their communities. To mark the occasion, those stores will be offering deals, gift bags, tours, activities, and more to Saturday shoppers. A new Philly Bread Co. pumpkin-swirl muffin will be available at the five co-ops, as will a specially made Baba’s Brew kombucha using locally grown peaches. Grab a passport and go on a co-op crawl, collecting stamps for prizes along the way. You can also get a sneak peek of the South Philly Co-op on a hard-hat tour. — Jenn Ladd
8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, various co-ops in the area, free, phillygrocerycoopday.com
These days, former Miss New Jersey 1995 and Moorestown mom Dena Blizzard is a viral star, having risen to fame for Chardonnay Go, her adaptation of Pokemon Go. Now comes her one-woman show, One Funny Mother, about her life raising three kids. Personally, we’ll always remember her for the 2017 board game version of Chardonnay Go, which Blizzard once described to The Inquirer as a “cross between classic board game and dirty charades.” — Nick Vadala
8 p.m., Saturday, Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St., $34.50 and up, 215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org
Although Kat Edmonson is a student of the Great American Songbook and got typecast as a ‘30s jazz singer in Woody Allen’s Café Society, she’s not constrained by nostalgia. She sings tunes by The Cure and The Cardigans as lovingly as those by Cole Porter or the Gershwins, and she writes her own clever, well-crafted songs. Even the title track of Old Fashioned Gal, her most recent album, is more concerned with critiquing our phone-obsessed contemporary world than it is with simply retreating into the past. Edmonson plays four areas shows this weekend: two on Friday at the True Blue Jazz Festival in Delaware’s Rehoboth Beach; Saturday at the intimate Arden Gild Hall, in Arden, Del.; and Sunday at the comfy Sellersville Theater. — Steve Klinge
7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Friday, the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel, 2 Olive Ave., Rehoboth Beach, Del., $40, truebluejazz.org; 8 p.m., Saturday, the Arden Gild Hall, 2126 The Highway, Arden, Del., $30, 302 475-3126, ardenconcerts.com; 7:30 p.m., Sunday, the Sellersville Theater, 24 W. Temple Ave., Sellersville, $29.50-$40, 215-257-5808, theater.st94.com
Vivian Girls / Empath / Young Guv
For those who love their pop noisy and disheveled, Saturday’s triple bill at the First Unitarian Church is perfect from top to bottom. Headliners Vivian Girls are back after an eight-year gap with Memory. The trio of Cassie Ramone, Katy Goodman, and Ali Koehler still love early ‘60s girl groups as much as they do late ‘80s dream pop, which means they love reverb and harmony vocals most of all. Philly’s Empath like their hooks and joyful shouts dosed with chaos and abrupt time-shifts. This year’s frenetic Active Listening: Night on Earth marks them as one of our city’s most exciting young bands. And opener Young Guv finds Ben Cook, guitarist for hardcore’s F-d Up, reveling in sugary power-pop and DIY synth-pop. — S.K.
8 p.m., Friday, First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St. $15, 215-821-7575, r5productions.com
Buddy Guy / Los Lobos & David Bromberg
It’s a Collingswood guitar weekend. On Friday, the Scottish Rite Auditorium hosts Buddy Guy, the 83-year-old Chicago blues great who remains an electrifying player with a flair for high drama. His 2018 album The Blues Is Alive And Well features contributions from his acolytes, including Jeff Beck, Keith Richards, and Mick Jagger. On Saturday, the Camden County venue brings in a twofer billed as Los Lobos Meets David Bromberg Big Band, which presumably means that the East L.A. Chicano rock-and-roll greats, featuring an underrated axeman in David Hidalgo, and Wilmington-based Bromberg will play together, as well as separately. — Dan DeLuca
8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Scottish Rite Auditorium, 315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood, $49.50-$99, 856-858-1000, scottishriteauditorium.com
Going back to mid-decade hits she cowrote for Icona Pop (“I Love It,” which is still ubiquitous at sporting events) and Iggy Azalea (“Fancy”), Charli XCX, born Charlotte Aitchison, has had plenty of mainstream exposure. But the successes of the British singer, who toured as an opener for Taylor Swift in 2018, have usually been in association with other artists. On the new Charli, her fourth album, she aims to make a more personal, self-revealing statement, but the serial collaborator can’t stop herself from bringing in a gaggle of illustrious guests, including Lizzo, Troye Sivan, and Haim. — D.D.
8 p.m., Saturday, Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., Sold out, 215-232-2100, utphilly.com
She’s the first new artist signed to John Prine’s Oh Boy label in 15 years, and it’s easy to see what drew the songwriting legend to her: Waldon is a real firecracker with her own voice. Her Oh Boy debut, White Noise/White Lines, builds on her outstanding earlier work. The Kentucky native never tries to hide where she’s from. She’s unabashedly country, her vocals and music possessing industrial-strength twang, and she delivers ache and attitude with equal command. With Roger Harvey. — Nick Cristiano
8:30 p.m., Saturday, MilkBoy Philadelphia, 1100 Chestnut St., $16.42 (advance), $20.79 (day of), 215-925-6455, milkboyphilly.com
No one could have predicted that Toto — the ultimate middle-of-the-road soft-rock band of the 1980s — could ever achieve hipness in the 2000s. Yet, that's what happened when snarky millennial faves Weezer covered one of Toto's cheesiest, glossiest tunes, "Africa," and made a smash of it in 2018. Suddenly, it was cool to dig Toto, which, truth be told, is a good thing. For all of the band's chintz as songwriters, the players and session men behind Toto were an essential part of blue-eyed soul's deepest, grooviest songs. — A.D. Amorosi
It felt necessary to throw around terms like “genre-blurring” when discussing Kneebody at the time the band emerged in the early ‘00s. They’ve long since left such stitched-together labels. Kneebody melds the influences of skewed-groove modern jazz, progressive indie-rock, and eclectic electronica to such an extent that how one hears them reflects more on the limits of the listener’s tastes than any seams in the band’s singular sound. Their latest, Chapters, opens a new one, as they’ve slimmed down to a quartet while welcoming in a slew of guest vocalists. The inventive foursome shows off the new lineup at Ardmore Music Hall on Thursday. With Gnarbot. — Shaun Brady
8 p.m., Thursday, Ardmore Music Hall, 23 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, $13-$44, 610-649-8389, ardmoremusic.com