Early Halloween ... Luna Park's Halloscream offers ghoulish thrills this weekend.
What do children love, dentists hate and some adults enjoy a tad more than they should? That's right, Halloween - which means tricks and treats on Wednesday night as normally sane families stalk neighbourhoods everywhere dressed as some of the most terrifying characters in pop-culture history (Dracula, the Joker, PSY). But why wait until then to celebrate, especially when there are events this weekend such as HalloScream (today to Sunday, Luna Park, Milsons Point, lunaparksydney.com, free entry, unlimited-rides passes from $19.95)? Key attractions there include Alone - basically Coney Island's mirror maze with the lights off for extra-terrifying effect - and Midway Spooktacular, a fun (and free) show taking place every hour on the hour from 1-4pm. George Palathingal
Party precinct ... Sosueme DJs feature at the Surry Hills Festival this weekend.
He's best known for ''recording'' (he doesn't like the term ''producing'') Nirvana's In Utero, but Steve Albini is no slouch when making his own searing alt-punk, either - from his '80s outfits Big Black and Rapeman to the band he has occasionally fronted as a ''pastime'' during the past 20 years, Shellac (Sunday, 8.30pm, Metro Theatre, metrotheatre.com.au, 9550 3666, $35). The three-piece haven't toured Australia since 1993 because, according to a joint statement, ''we tour when we have the time and inclination'' - so it's well worth taking advantage of this rare opportunity to see Albini and co in action. George Palathingal
The annual Surry Hills Festival takes place tomorrow, with a huge celebration of music, food and, well, partying, with performances from Tijuana Cartel, Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!, the Tongue and the Sosueme DJs. Three free music stages will run from 10am to 10pm in Prince Alfred Park, entry by donation. Then there's an after party at the Burdekin Hotel in Oxford Street (10pm, surryhillsfestivalafterparty.oztix.com.au, $23.50). Money raised goes to the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre. For the full program, see surryhillsfestival.com. Elsewhere, Leichhardt gets taken over by its wildly popular Norton Street Italian Festa, which gets about 100,000 people every year to enjoy the food, music and kids' activities (Sunday, 10am-5pm, Norton Street, Leichhardt, nortonstreetfesta.com.au, free). Sarah Thomas
Insightful documentary ... Paul Kelly: Stories of Me is a must for music fans.
Monday night is movie night thanks to Surry Hills's Beresford Hotel (354 Bourke Street) and the return of their Summer Movie Nights. From now until the end of March you'll be able to grab a cold one and enjoy a great flick (for free) on the big screen in the Beresford's leafy courtyard. On Monday, Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein will air, starring Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn and Marty Feldman. The screenings starts at 7pm and while it's on, take advantage of the Beresford's ''Monster Monday Offer'' of $15 pasta dishes and $5 Heinekens during the film. The full season's program can be found at the venue. Simon McGoram
The cinema is definitely the place to be this weekend. A cracking line-up of new movies includes the new Australian documentary Paul Kelly: Stories of Me, which fans of the revered singer-songwriter will enjoy for its insights. Then there is Ben Affleck's Argo, a tense thriller about a CIA plan to concoct a fake movie production to free six Americans during the Iran hostage crisis, and the acclaimed French film The Intouchables, about the relationship between a quadriplegic man and his caretaker. And if none of them suit, there is plenty to see at the Cockatoo Island (cockatooislandfilmfestival.com) and Hola Mexico (holamexicoff.com) film festivals. Garry Maddox
God forbid there would be a natural disaster in Martin Place, but an emergency-relief shelter will join the city centre's usual landscape. The home and its designers, architects Linda Matthews and Shaun Carter, will be there on Sunday and Monday as part of the Sydney Architecture Festival, which runs until November 4. See sydneyarchitecturefestival.org. And as if further encouragement for dressing up for Halloween was needed, Marquee at the Star is hosting spookily themed events, with free entry for those in costume. Tonight, there's a Superhero Halloween party, with $1000 bar tabs for the first five groups to turn up in superhero garb (9pm, Marquee, the Star, marqueesydney.com, 9657 7737). Sarah Thomas
Written in verse by French dramatist Moliere in the early 1660s, The School for Wives has been given a modern makeover by Sydney playwright Justin Fleming. In this Bell Shakespeare production, Harriet Dyer plays the convent-raised Agnes, with Meyne Wyatt the lad who sets her virgin heart alight (until November 24, various times, Sydney Opera House, sydneyoperahouse.com.au, $33-$72). Even more old French stuff is rebooted when Rafael Bonachela's Sydney Dance Company steps to the music of Baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau, played live by Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra in Project Rameau (October 29-November 3, various times, Sydney Theatre, aco.com.au, $45-$99). Old? No. French? Don't think so. My Private Parts is a candid, comic and true tale of one woman's journey into the strange world of assisted conception. Expect many ups, a few downs and a live band. (October 31-November 17, various times, Seymour Centre, sydney.edu.au/seymour, $27-$32). Elissa Blake
Swiss businessman and diplomat Uli Sigg has been buying Chinese contemporary art since the late 1970s. During the past three decades he has amassed a collection of work by some of the most significant Chinese artists, including Shen Shaomin, Wang Jianwei and Ai Weiwei. Now, a selection of works from the collection forms the basis of Go Figure! Contemporary Chinese Art (until December 1, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, 16-20 Goodhope Street, Paddington, 9331 1112, Wed-Sat 11am-5pm), based around the idea of portraiture. Among the highlights is the monumental work Old People's Home by artist duo Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, a tribute to the ossification of the old-world order of the 20th century. Andrew Frost
On the scene - Adele Moleta
Next Tuesday will be our usual Jurassic Lounge night at the Australian Museum, but it will be Halloween-themed (5.30pm-9.30pm, Australian Museum, 6 College Street, jurassiclounge.com, $14). People can create their own costumes and there will be Day of the Dead face painting. Zombies will be walking through the museum and live creatures, such as snakes and spiders - so … it's going to have a really creepy edge. On Sunday, I'm going to Sydney Roller Derby League's final bout [for 2012] - I'm a big fan (11am, Sydney Boys High School, Moore Park, sydneyrollerderby.com, $15). Sarah Thomas
For all the grief the Los Angeles Police Department has received over the years (think the LA riots in 1992 following the infamous Rodney King incident), it has also had its fair share of feature films dedicated to showing what life is like on the force. From Dennis Hopper's Colors about gang culture in 1988 to the exploration of the city's colourful criminal world in LA Confidential in 1997, they have often been gripping dramas well received at the box office. The latest offering is End of Watch, from director David Ayer (Training Day, S.W.A.T.). Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena star as patrol officers who cross a Mexican cartel that runs drugs and people smuggling. Theirs is a brotherhood born out of necessity - something the two actors looked to develop by experiencing real policing before making the low-budget film. End of Watch is about friendship, service, sacrifice and becoming part of the police family - something I'm sure our police will relate to. The film opens on Thursday. Daniel Fallon
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