Places to get in Halloween spirit without blood, scares, tears

By Laurie Whitehead

Meet real animals and costumed characters during this literal walk on the wild side at, 7-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights. After strolling the riverside woods, there will be snacks for sale, a bonfire and music. $8 (free for age 2 and under). 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. 770-992-2055, www.chattnaturecenter.org.

A hay maze, costumed characters, sweets samples, a spooky safari outpost and rides on the Candy Express Zoo Train are among the special treats at Zoo Atlanta, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Costume-wearing encouraged. Included in regular admission. 800 Cherokee Ave. S.E., Atlanta. 404-624-9453, www.zooatlanta.org.

Transformed into the "Georgia A-Scary-Um" on Saturday and Sunday, the attraction will have trick-or-treat stations offering eco-friendly and animal-friendly candy, costume contests, spooky arts and crafts, Halloween music and more. Free admission for up to two children 12 and under dressed in costume accompanied by a paying adult. 225 Baker St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-581-4000, www.georgiaaquarium.org.

Museum of Natural History10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, the "BOO-seum" offers entertainment from Little Beat Music, face painting, games, crafts, hands-on activities and special treats for kids in costumes. Included in regular admission. 767 Clifton Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-929-6300, www.fernbankmuseum.org.

Train or Treat Festival: With costume contests, fall crafts and more. 10 a.m. Saturday. Free with admission, $5-$8. Southeastern Railway Museum, 3595 Buford Highway N.W., Duluth. 770- 476-2013, www.srmduluth.org.

“Scary Ride”: Hear some spooky organ music from Timothy Albrecht (aka “Count Dracula”) and enjoy a post-recital candy reception. 8 p.m. Saturday. Free. Emory University’s Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, 1700 N. Decatur Road N.E., Atlanta. 404- 727-5050, www.arts.emory.edu.

Halloween on the Green: 3-8 p.m. Saturday. Free. Duluth Town Green, 3142 Hill St., Duluth. www.duluthga.net.

"Scary (but fun!) Music": Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta family concert includes performances of Saint-Saens' "Danse Macabre" and Liszt and Schumann pieces by members of the Vega String Quartet, pianist William Ransom and high-school pianists Sitan Chen and Alois Cerbu. Costumes encouraged. 4 p.m. Sunday, $4. Michael C. Carlos Museum, 571 S. Kilgo Circle, Atlanta. 404-727-5050, www.arts.emory.edu/ecmsa.

HomeGrown Halloween Parade and Monsters’ Ball: Events Sunday in downtown Decatur include story time at Little Shop of Stories at 3 p.m., all-ages costume parade at 4 p.m. (starting at bandstand) and music by the Dammages at 5 p.m. Free. Decatur Square, 101 E. Court Square, Decatur. www.homegrowndecatur.com.

Third Annual Fall Fling: Halloween Edition. A family-friendly benefit for the Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy. 3-7 p.m. Sunday. $10. The Masquerade, 695 North Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-590-7275, www.h4wpc.com.

More Atlanta Events This Weekend

SATURDAY
Halloween: The dead walk again in Marietta this weekend, both on the screen and in real life at the Marietta Zombie Walk. The Strand will screen several zombie films, taking a break at 5 p.m. so that the zombie hordes can gather on the square for a stumble through the city streets.

Pets, family: If you’re prepared for cuteness overload, head on out to PugFest 2011. Southeast Pug Rescue & Adoption’s fundraiser features best-of contests, homemade and store-bought costume contests, pet pictures, pet grooming, microchipping, a kissing booth and much more. The fest begins at 10 a.m. Oct. 29 at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville.

Music: Robert Spano leads the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in the U.S. premiere of composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen’s “Nyx.” The orchestra will also perform work by Rachmaninov and Scriabin. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Oct. 29 at Atlanta Symphony Hall.

Music, stage: The Atlanta Opera’s first ever commissioned work is “Rabbit Tales,” a children’s opera based on the Brer Rabbit stories of Joel Chandler Harris. This premiere takes place at the museum that was the author’s home until his death in 1908. 11 a.m. Oct. 29 at the Wren’s Nest House Museum.

Music: The Johns Creek Symphony’s fifth season premiere includes works by Schubert, Mendelssohn and Haydn and happens at 8 p.m. Oct. 29 at Johns Creek High School Theater.

Stage: Conceived and directed by Rosemary Newcott, “The Real Tweenagers of Atlanta” is a new musical created from interviews with ‘tweens in our community. It runs Oct. 29 through Nov. 13 at the Alliance Theatre.

SUNDAY
Music: The Gwinnett Community Symphony Orchestra’s family concert includes Britten’s ‘The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” and Saint-Saëns’ “Le Carnaval des Animaux.” It begins at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at Gwinnett Arena in Duluth.

Kids, family, stage: Grab the kids and head to the Fox Theatre for “Yo Gabba Gabba Live: It’s Time To Dance” at 2 and 5 p.m. Oct. 30.

Dance: France Atlanta 2011 presents “Asphalte,” a contemporary multi-media creation by French choreographer, Pierre Rigal. It weaves together elements of hip-hop, popping and krumping enhanced by a light show. 7 p.m. Oct. 30 a the Rialto Center for the Arts.

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