The sideshow takes center stage when the Enigma (also known as that guy who's, like, covered in jigsaw puzzle tattoos) and his partner Serana Rose visit Synapsis Studio in Eureka on Saturday with their Showdevils act. Ever see a guy drive a nail through his tongue? Would you like to? Then show up at 10 p.m. with $10 and a strong stomach for some post-Vaudeville music and stunts that make the guys from Jackass look like, well, jackasses. And if you need to see weird tricks with straws and sinus passages one more time, the wince-inducing duo is at Nocturnum on Tuesday at 9 p.m. for another $10.
Frankly, the mystery wrapped in a riddle and tattooed in a puzzle that is the Enigma draws a crowd just standing around. Feel free to stare when he signs copies of the new Ripley's Believe it or Not book (that's his mug on the cover) at Northtown Books on Saturday at 10 a.m. Jealous of his inked-up hide? Don't hate. Make an appointment and the Enigma will tattoo his signature puzzle piece on you himself. It's a start.
After the costumed bacchanalia of Halloween comes Dia de los Muertos (that's the Day of the Dead for those of you who took French in high school), a kind of welcome home party for those who've passed on. Get a little taste of the tradition at Los Bagels shops this week — check out the ofrendas (altars to the dear departed) and whimsical skeleton-filled art. In Eureka, don't miss Greta Turney's bony R2-D2. If you're dying for a snack, try some lightly sweet and spiced pan de muerto (dead bread) loaves.
If you're not already celebrating with friends and family, join the celebration at Sunrise Cemetery in Fortuna — which has been busy lately for a graveyard — on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Kristy Carlsen of College of the Redwoods gives a history of the holiday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and Real de Mexico plays mariachi tunes from 11:30 a.m. There's also a walking tour and a chance to do some traditional arts and crafts. If it gets chilly, warm your bones with some pan de muerto and a nutty Mexican hot chocolate.
And some Halloween fun is just for the kiddies, like the costumed sugar high that is trick-or-treating. Only for kids. I'm looking at you, gangly teenage candy hogs.
Get started on Friday night in Ferndale with the Halloween carnival and dinner in Belotti Hall at the fairgrounds at 5:30 p.m. ($8, $6 kids).
In Eureka, little ghouls under 12 can troll for candy in Old Town on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. While you're there, check out the Discovery Museum's transformation into the Mystery Museum from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. ($5). It's still there behind the construction, and it's got Halloween crafts, games and fun the likes of which you have come to expect from the folks over there. Halloween party animals may want to hit up Boo at the Zoo over at Sequoia Park for the snake maze, scavenger hunt and the petting zoo on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. ($6, $5 seniors and active service members, $4 kids over 3). For the more sci-fi inclined, there's the Journey to Planet Possible at the Jefferson Community Center at 1 p.m., which has an underwater maze (mazes are hot right now) and a robot, but no scary stuff and no sugar.
In McKinleyville, the costume parade is on Saturday at 11 a.m. in the McKinleyville Shopping Center. Later on from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., you can take your costumed little ones to the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Bayside for treats, skits and a campfire. Not enough Sweet Tarts yet? Head back to Eureka's Henderson Center for more trick-or-treating on Sunday at noon.
On Halloween, trick-or-treat on the Arcata Plaza from 4 p.m. and join the Marching Lumberjacks in the costume parade at 4:30. After that you can round out the evening at the Arcata Community Center at 5:30 p.m. for the Under the Sea Halloween Carnival ($2 donation, kids under 2 free). Or bring your goody bag to Redwood Acres for the Faith Center's free Kid's Karnival for children 5th-grade and under (that's right teens, keep walking) from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with Jolly Jumps, cotton candy and candy candy.
Some Halloween fun is for grown-ups — and no, we're not talking about skimpy costumes. Sometimes we're looking for a good scare. The Kinetic Lab of Horrors is back again this year with sculptural arts and body parts. The freaky lab techs take you on a tour of the facilities on Eighth and N in Arcata from 7 p.m. to midnight on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Halloween night ($10). It's a fundraiser for the Kinetic Race, and it's recommended for ages 13 and older, unless your kid is a straight-up gangster. Check out kineticsculpturelab.com for photos of last year and be honest with yourself about how much scare you can handle.
Blue Ox Millworks and North Coast Repertory are scaring the bejeesus out of people with the Haunted Mill tour from 8 p.m. to midnight Oct. 25-31 ($10). The tour, which promises "sexy zombies" — oxymoron? — benefits the theater, Blue Ox Youth and Community Radio. Children 12 and under must go with an adult who doesn't care if they ever sleep again. We're told that the bald gentleman in the posters is a lovely person, but he looks like he could make Hannibal Lecter pee a little.
Landlocked terror too mainstream for you? On Halloween night, you can climb aboard the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum's haunted 1091, a ghost ship rife with the greatest generation's undead ($5). It's strictly 13-years and up, and as with any visit to a place you might want to run out of, you'll need flat shoes, ladies.
For more upscale heebie-jeebies, the Morris Graves Museum of Art is hosting Murder by Dessert's Murder at the Museum event on Saturday at 6 p.m. ($75, $50 members). A ghost named Ralph is said to haunt the place in a suit and fedora (not a bad look to be stuck with for eternity), and guests are invited to discover if he's a wandering spirit or just a hoax. Either way, there's a buffet dinner.
Finally, you can surround yourself with actual dead people at the Sunrise Cemetery in Fortuna for Grave Matters and Untimely Departures at 1 p.m. on Sunday ($15) and hear tales from the underground while the sun is still up. Not that you're chicken.
Why aren't we done with philosophy? After thousands of years and a parade of togas, cravats and very tight updos, haven't we pretty much covered humanity's questions? Maybe. But given the fuss a controversial mind like Peter Singer's can still raise, probably not. The author of Animal Liberation and The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter, among other books, is visiting from his post at Princeton and giving a free lecture at the Van Duzer on Friday at 7 p.m.
He's a utilitarian (Team Kant), but without the special treatment for being human. Animal Liberation set the animal rights movement afire by questioning why human needs should be put above other sentient beings. (Maybe don't wear that leather jacket to the talk.)
Some other controversial positions on ethics: Abortion? No. Surrogacy? Yes. Performance enhancing drugs? Sometimes. Euthanasia? No. Redistribution of wealth? Yes. Eating animals? No. Bestiality? Sometimes.
I'm sorry, what?
But it's the why that's the thing. He's not just trying to take away all your fun — or give it back, depending on what you're into — Singer is looking at the way we live and asking if we're doing good or harm and if there is a morally responsible way to live. Which may be why we're not done with philosophy. Because the more we get used to the way we live, the more we have to question it.