Good, dirty fun

Better parties and wilder fantasies for big kids on Halloween in Chico

Dancers Stephanie Weiser (left) and Erin Deniz rehearsing their macabre moves for <i>A Dark Circus</i> at the Blue Room.

Dancers Stephanie Weiser (left) and Erin Deniz rehearsing their macabre moves for A Dark Circus at the Blue Room.

Photo by brittany waterstradt

For a holiday that provides the ideal environment in which to live one’s fantasy life in public, Chico has a reputation for not being very original. Put the word “sexy” in front of any stock character—cat, devil, Ebola nurse (I’m not joking—look it up)—and head out on the town with a dude dressed like a cheerleader and by midnight you’re burning couches and hucking bottles at cops on horses. Way to get “crazy” on Halloween, Chico.

Fully aware of our little party town’s history of jackassery, Comedy Central clip-show host Daniel Tosh tweeted last week that he is renting a bus and inviting those dreaded “out-of-towners” to take a trip to Chico on Halloween. As someone who is willingly befouled by the stank of Tosh.0 on a weekly basis, I can say with some knuckleheaded authority that the footage he’ll be seeking—and will definitely find on a Halloween that falls on a Friday night in “Chee-Ko!”—will only further that uninspired reputation.

Of course, those who know, know that Chico is way more freaky than your average binge-drinker could begin to imagine, and that there is more creativity and weirdness to be had on Halloween in our community than can be bought from any pop-up costume store. Here’s a rundown of what we could scare up:

All the world’s a sideshow

The event that appears to have the most fantasy potential is the inaugural A Dark Circus event, showing this weekend at the Blue Room Theatre. The combination burlesque show and variety show is being produced in collaboration with the Blue Room by local actress/ director Cat Campbell, and will feature players from her recent heavily inebriated zombie-horror film Dead Drunk as well as members of the theater company and a bunch of local dancers.

“We will take the audience on a journey as if he or she is a patron of a creepy circus that appears in the night,” Campbell said during a recent interview. “There’s dancing, singing, comedy and some boobs.”

Wanting to stray from the “cute” aspect of typical burlesque, Campbell—who in addition to acting in many local theater productions has performed as part of The Malteazers, the Maltese Bar & Tap Room’s house burlesque troupe—said she wanted to do something to “celebrate the freak in all of us.”

In addition to the dancers, the show will feature a ringmaster (Jess Mercer), various sideshow freaks and of course some creepy clowns.

“There’s a lot of macabre comedy [in the show],” Campbell added. “For instance, [there’s] a creature that kills her master and dances with his intestines. I like to think we have a great mix of sexiness, comedy and the macabre.”

Now that’s the Chico I’m talking about! Two shows a night, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Zombie apocalypse in Oroville.

Photo courtesy of zombie wrecking crew

Killing time

When it comes to full fantasy immersion, the best bet for spending time in an alternate reality—and a pretty freakin’ scary one at that—is far from downtown Chico, and deep in the dark night of Oroville with the Zombie Wrecking Crew.

South of town, just off Highway 70, the property next to the Combat Zone paintball park has been overrun by the undead and they are asking for your help to reclaim it. To assist their “Zombie Wrecking Crew” in doing battle with the zombie hordes, they’ve converted an old school bus into a “zombie-eradicating machine outfitted with 27 state-of-the-art paintball guns all loaded with special zombie-eliminating ammo.”

Each night, the bus rides into the darkness and everyone on board goes about blasting the “live” zombies and various other targets around the course. Battles take place Thursday-Sunday, from 6 to 11 p.m. (till midnight on Friday and Saturday), and the cost to take part is $20 for a ride plus 100 rounds of ammo ($10 for each additional 100 rounds). Join the battle at 4444 Pacific Heights Road in Oroville. For more info, call (209) 918-9209 or visit

Also, for a Halloween fright that’s closer to home, check out the Asylum of the Dead haunted house on the north side of Chico (3163 Esplanade), Thursday and Friday, Oct. 30-31, 7-10 p.m., only $3/person ($6/family).

More better Halloweening

If you just want to dress up and join a good party with local freaks and a live band, here are five recommendations for Halloween night (for more details, see calendar listings):

• All Hallow’s Eve at 1078 Gallery, featuring The Shimmies and Bogg.

• Freak the Funk Out at Lost on Main, with Mojo Green and Swamp Zen.

• Pinhead (Ramones covers) and Trox and the Terribles and Her Tragic Mistake (a Goth tribute) at Duffy’s Tavern.

• KZFR Halloween Monster Bash at Chico Women’s Club, with Steve Cook and friends.

• Zombie Stomp, at Paradise Grange, featuring Alli Battaglia & The Musical Brewing Co. and “Dead” covers from The Electrified Redemption Project.