This is it, kids. This is the last time you'll get to drink in costume before ancient dead Mayans suck the world into an unknowable void. Better break out your freakiest faces; better shell out for those blackout contact lenses, those gore prosthetics you've always been too timid and poor to don. Better push past the urge to dress in prepackaged cliches and cheap political jokes against presidents who will never get the chance to be sworn in. Better costume yourself in a fitting tribute to the end of days, 'cause this is your very last shot.
Better stomp out into the streets, your faces twisted up so far that even your friends think you're the first of the inevitable Infected to turn. Better duck into bars and watch bands thrash out tributes to their favorite songs. Better love it while you can.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26
Township (2200 N. California): It starts tonight. Logan Square's Township will host part one of their newer-minted Halloween Party as local bands celebrate the best and most biting sounds of the '90s. Noise rockers Rodeo will take a stab outside their genre as they perform the songs of the Beastie Boys, while garage pop outfit Warsaw Vices gear up to spin vintage emo as the Get Up Kids. Nerd rock ensemble We Love You aim true to their roots, transforming into We Love to Spill for a set of Built to Spill's best, while their guitarist/vocalist Spencer Heck will do his best one-man rendition of Guided By Voices. 9pm, $7, 21 and over. Tickets here.
The Abbey (3420 W. Grace): Meanwhile, the Abbey returns for their annual Halloween bash. On night one, Pinto and the Bean will honor everyone's favorite garage rock duo of the 2000s as they hammer out White Stripes tunes. Lying Delilah will tune down the distortion for a soulful take on Fiona Apple, while acoustic midwestern vets Stellar Road will perform a surprise Dave Matthews Band record in its entirety. Doors 8pm, show 9pm, $14, 21 and over. Tickets here.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27
The Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia): The Hideout gets heavy on their Halloween Hellraiser this year, but not before they get groovy. Get Up with the Get Downs, Chicago's foremost James Brown cover band, will croon over the opening slot. For part two, you'll be able to enjoy a killer Cramps tribute with Bad Music for Bad People. Finally, members of Arriver, Rabid Rabbit and Behold the Living Corpse will assume the form of the Velvins for a blistering tribute to (yup) the Melvins. Doors 8pm, show 9pm, $7, 21 and over.
The Abbey (3420 W. Grace): And Abbey returns for part two. This time around, we've got an even more eclectic roster of costumed sets, with alt-country ensemble Pete Jive and Juice Digits as the Grateful Dead, psych-soul Afternoon Moon cutting a cross-generational tribute as one half Radiohead, one half Pink Floyd, southside fusionists Gurg doing a mean Michael Jackson set, and finally electronic groovers Indigo Sun performing Daft Punk's Discovery in full. From jam bands through MJ to French dance music, it's going to be a wild trans-genre tour. Doors 7pm, show 8:30pm, $12, 21 and over. Tickets here.
Double Door (1572 N. Milwaukee): Double Door's been at the Halloween game for 16 whole years already. This time, the 16th annual Halloween bash features a full lineup of, again, a wide variety of some of the better things to happen to music over the past 30 or so years. You'll be able to catch rock vets Panther Style doing the Cult, prolific indie rockers the Sweeps taking on a Beck set, acclaimed pop/rock duo Blackbox as Social Distortion, Ryan Powers in a Tom Petty guise, lady-fronted, umlauted alt-rockers Hëssler as Iron Maiden, punk favorites AM Taxi as the Replacements, and finally, the Last Vegas as Billy Idol. Don't expect to keep track of it all; just show up for a long, loud night of classic tributes. Doors 8pm, show 8:30pm, $12, 21 and over. Tickets here.
Township (2200 N. California): On the second night of Township's Halloween party ("the Tributing"), the Unknown Pleasures will do their best Joy Division impression (and given that it's their specialty, it's pretty darn good). Bully in the Hallway will render a possessed Ian MacKaye and friends as spook-friendly tribute Boogazi, while the earth's one and only Hüsker Dü tribute band Husker Dudes will round out the night. 9pm, $10, 21 and over. Tickets here.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28
The Whistler (2421 N. Milwaukee): It's not an official Halloween event per se, but how could we resist mentioning that our favorite hypnagogic dream-pop ensemble will be playing as the Cure on Sunday? As part of Whistler's "Playing Favorites" series, in which Chicago bands honor their biggest influences through tribute sets, Roommate will don the mantle of the Cure's best songs for an intimate, melancholy evening. 10pm, free, 21 and over.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31
Subterranean (2011 W. North): And finally, for Samhain itself, Chicago's favorite spook-rockers Creepy Band will emerge from the shadows to celebrate the release of their debut LP on the most fitting day of the year. Their highly theatrical sets turn any evening into Halloween, so I can only imagine that an actual Halloween show from the band would multiply the effect beyond restoration (you may never be normal again). They'll be joined by riff-wielding space rockers Geronimo!, who are also cruising on the tails of a new release. Drunk Dom and the Roaches will also be swinging by from Michigan for a few raucous tunes with names like "Demon Alcohol" (appropriate). Show up in costume for a reduced cover and better times. Doors 8:30pm, show 9pm, $8 ($5 with costume), 21 and over. Tickets here.
How will you be scarring your visage and assaulting your eardrums this time around? Share your exploits, pranks and costume ideas below.