‘War of the Worlds’
Thursday through Sunday
Black Box Theater, URBN Center Annex
3401 Filbert St.
This performance re-creates Orson Welles’ notorious 1938 radio theater adaptation of “War of the Worlds.” Welles’ innovative conceit — presenting the alien invasion tale as a sequence of live news bulletins — caused a minor but legendary panic in the area, and secured his reputation as an edgy young genius. Makes you wonder how he’d do it today: A series of live tweets, perhaps? Come in costume on Halloween and get in for free.
‘The Haunting at Hill House’
Christ Church Neighborhood House
20 N. American St.
BrainSpunk Theater presents this adaptation of the classic Shirley Jackson thriller, a masterpiece of psychological horror. It begins with a ghost hunter and his companions taking up residence in the titular house, which is said to be haunted, but Jackson’s genius was to create ambiguity about the hauntings. Are they coming from the house, the characters’ psyches, or both?
Halloween Jack’s Glamtasm Masquerade
Friday, 9:30 p.m.
140 N. Columbus Blvd.
For the glam rockers of the 70s, pretty much every day was Halloween, or at the very least an excuse for outlandish costumes and make-up. This party with the band Candy Volcano (hard to imagine a better name) might bring back a little of that halcyon era, with its 25 members(!) performing supreme covers of some of the best glam acts.
Halloween Organ Extravaganza
Friday, 9:30 p.m.
300 S. Broad St.
Hear -- and feel -- just how eerie an organ can sound as three organists play spine-tingling tunes, including "Funeral March of a Marionette" and "Danse macabre," accompanied by spooky lighting and video projections. After the concert, lie down on the stage and feel the vibrations through your body as organist Peter Richard Contego plays the instrument's lowest, deepest notes.
Berlin Abstractions: The Feast of Oktober in Contemporaries
Through Nov. 9
116 Arch St.
This is the first American show of German abstract artist Klaus-Peter Vellguth. His bright, boldly colored works utilize found imagery, whether it’s fabric patterns, an image of a tin can, flowers, or the works of the old Flemish masters, in a way that feels akin to how hip-hop producers create entirely new music from a host of samples.
Diagnosis, Madness: The Photographic Physiognomy of Hugh Welch Diamond
Thursday, 6 p.m.
Wagner Free Institute of Science
1700 W. Montgomery Ave.
Penn professor Dr. Sharrona Pearl will discuss and share the work of Victorian doctor Hugh Welch Diamond, who attempted to use photography for both therapeutic and research work with the mentally ill. He believed in physiognomy, which asserts a correlation between facial features and character traits. It may be seen as pseudo-science now, but his photographs haunt and fascinate.
‘Phantom of the Opera’
Friday, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
3401 Spruce St.
It’s a Halloween tradition at Penn to screen this silent 1925 horror classic with live organ accompaniment. Lon Chaney’s Phantom is one of the great cinematic freaks, and Chaney himself designed the hideous makeup. He’s of the founding fathers of cinematic bogeymen. The climactic reveal of his disfigured face was said to have terrified moviegoers so much that some fainted!
Boo2! Halloween Concert and Dance Party
Friday, 8 p.m.
Temple Performing Arts Center
1837 N. Broad St.
$10 suggested donation, email@example.com
DJ Statick provides bookending sets for this concert by a 12-piece costumed band called Boo, led by trombonist Steve Tirpak and performing a range of covers in styles including blues, R&B, jazz, rock and hip-hop. You’re encouraged to wear you own costume — and dance!
Heaven and Hell Halloween Party
Friday, 8 p.m.
Lucky Strike Lounge and Lanes
1336 Chestnut St.
$5-$20, 21+, 215-545-2471
Lots of bars have DJ sets and costume contests on Halloween and that’s fine, but a few people get more creative, which is even better. Lucky Strike Lounge and Lanes has two themed floors for their Halloween bash, one “Heaven” and one “Hell.” If you want to bowl, you’ll have to go in on a group ticket.
Halloween at the Haunted Hotel Monaco
Friday, 10 p.m.
433 Chestnut St.
$25-$30, 215 925-2889
It’s hell downstairs in the hotel and heaven up at the indoor/outdoor Stratus Rooftop Lounge. There’s an open bar for the first hour and Halloween-themed cocktails all night.
Saturday, 9 p.m.
Dorrance Hamilton Hall
320 S. Broad St.
$40-$50, 18+, firstname.lastname@example.org
Part dance show and part dance party, this event includes performances by Alchemy Dance Company and a set from DJ AnubisRex, who’ll be spinning dance hits, dubstep and goth/industrial. And because this is Halloween weekend, of course there will be a costume contest — that is, if yours held up through the partying the night before.