Skull and bones: Around this time last year, illustrator Sandra Equihua won the hearts of CityBeat's nerds and naysayers alike with her cartoon work at a group show at Subtext. This year, Equihaha is back with Jorge Gutierrez (together they created the Emmy-winning cartoon “Le Tigre”) to curate a Day of the Dead-themed pop-art exhibition. This show will include skeleton-and-sombrero work from 10 artists, including Disney Animation Studios artist Lorelay Bove and Rhode Montijo, author and illustrator of The Halloween Kid children's book, who'll be selling sculptures for the first time. The Dia de Tus Muetro (Day of Your Dead) show opens with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, and runs through Dec. 5 at Subtext (2479 Kettner Blvd. in Little Italy). subtextgallery.com
Culture keepers: We wrote about the goings-on of The Roots Factory this summer. The group teaches kids and the community how to do things like screen-printing and holds arts events at its warehouse in Barrio Logan (1878 Main St.). The group is part of a bigger cultural revolution going on in the Barrio. Witness the blossoming of the neighborhood yourself and, from 6 to 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, check out The Roots Factory's Strictly Roots Y Culture: Halloween Night musical soirée featuring reggae bands Rough & Steady international and the SouthBay Wailers. If you've got things to do Halloween night, then head to The Roots Factory warehouse from 6 to 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2, for a Dia de los Muertos celebration featuring live jazz by Storm, poetry readings, an altar exhibition and more. therootsfactory.com
Dead can dance: After their bones have been rattled by the Subtext show on Friday, Oct. 29 (see “Art” on this page), all the cool ghouls will be crossing the street to visit The Zombie Prom at The Casbah (2501 Kettner Blvd.). It's like a normal high-school prom, but the kids are dead and don't have to hide their booze, and instead of crappy cover bands under a disco ball, you get performances from The Creepy Creeps and The Lords of the New Removed Church lit by short horror films and creepy visuals from Avicious VJs. San Diego's got one of the best zombie scenes in the country, which is indeed something to moan about. The dance costs $14 at the door, which opens at 8:30 p.m. casbahmusic.com
Family-friendly gore: Every year at this time, the National Comedy Theatre, San Diego's competitive improvisational-theater troupe, performs a variation on its regular show (comic actors in teams going head-to-head in a series of games) and calls it the Halloween Spooktacular; 2010's edition is the 10th one. To give you a frame of reference, the NCT folks say it's “sort of” a combination of Friday the 13th and Whose Line is it Anyway? Those of you always looking for activities to do with the kids can take heart; these shows are appropriate for the young'uns. Performances happen at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 29 and 30, with an additional “Midnight Spooktacular” at 11:45 p.m. on Saturday at 3717 India St. in Mission Hills. $15 adults, $12 for students, seniors and military. nationalcomedy.com
Halloween, Cosmopolitan-style: If you haven't been to the newly restored Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town (2660 Calhoun St.), the Halloween Eve Costume Ball & Contest is a good reason to go. The hotel may have gotten a modern makeover, but it still feels genuinely old-fashioned and more than a little spooky, what with all that history lurking around every corner. From 9 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Oct. 30, the Cosmo will host a costume contest with some enticing prizes: First place gets dinner for two, a night's stay in the Seeley Suite and a continental breakfast served on the terrace in the morning. Second place gets a night's stay and a continental breakfast served on the terrace and third place gets dinner for two in the hotel restaurant. $25 cover includes two drink tickets. oldtowncosmopolitan.com
Don't mourn, celebrate: Instead of mourning the loss of those who've died, why not celebrate their lives instead? That's the idea behind the Mexican holiday Día de Los Muertos, and the California Center for the Arts (340 N. Escondido Blvd. in Escondido) will host two days of festivities to mark the occasion. At 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, the southwestern College concert choir will perform Misa Azteca. Then, at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 1, author John Phillip Santos, known as the first Mexican-American Rhodes Scholar to study at Oxford, will read selections from his work. And from 6 to 9 p.m., the community is invited to create memorials to loved ones while enjoying live music, entertainment, art projects and Mexican refreshments. artcenter.org
Kids 'n' treats: If you don't have one, borrow someone else's kid for the Balboa Park Halloween Family Day. Kids younger than 17 get in free to more than a dozen museums from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, and adults can take advantage of discounted admission passes (available at the park's visitors center). Some of the scary-ish stuff happening: The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center will have a display of hissing cockroaches; the Museum of Man is offering “spooky” tours of its Egyptian mummy collection; you and the kid(s) can make alien-themed kites at the Air and Space Museum and then check out a performance by the band Steam Powered Giraffe at Spanish Village; and the San Diego Museum of Art will have interactive gallery games and treats. For everything that's going on, see balboapark.org.
Eats 'n' treats: If you've not been to the on-and-around 30th Street (North Park) food-fest that's 30th on 30th, this month's a good one (and, appropriate for Saturday, Oct. 30, Halloween-themed). Some highlights: At El Take It Easy (3926 30th St.) they'll be cooking up pork-belly tacos ($3) and serving 30th Street Pale Ale ($2) starting at 6 p.m.; Soho (3025 El Cajon Blvd.) is offering small plates of Pumpkin Ravioli Negra and Hells Fire Chicken Wings for $3 each; the new Happy Tiers Bakery food truck will have mini cupcakes, $1.50 for three; Mosaic Wine Bar (3422 30th St.) is throwing a Halloween party with music and drink specials; and Splash Wine Lounge (3043 University Ave.) is serving “R.I.P. Chili” and “Ghost Droppings” for $5 each and glasses of Malbec for $2. See a full list at the2line.blogspot.com.