Though the official night for tricking and treating may still be a few weeks away, a host of Halloween activities are already underway to help you get into the creepy holiday spirit.
Kinda like dolls, puppets have always given me the heebie-jeebies anyway, which is one reason why the Center for Puppetry Arts' SPOOKY PUPPET ... THE BEGINNING is a performance I won't attend alone. A prequel to its cult hit The Spooky Puppet Horror Show, this show explains why Psycho Bunny went mad, what made She Devil so tawdry and the cruel tricks of one Queen Fang. $14-$20. Wed.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 8 and 11 p.m. Through Oct. 31. 1404 Spring St. 404-873-3391. www.centerforpuppetryarts.org.
Over at Dad's Garage, THE WEIRD (shown) is a collection of six pulp-horror shorts that includes Bloody Mary, The Play About Rosemary's Baby and Insect Love. The only laughing you'll be doing is the nervous kind -- you know, like when you're trying not to be scared at a haunted house. $13. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m. Through Oct. 30. Dad's Garage Top Shelf Theatre, 280 Elizabeth St. 404-523-3141. www.dadsgarage.com.
NETHERWORLD HAUNTED HOUSE (shown) seeks to scare the bejesus out of you with three separately themed houses. If the supernatural horrors in "Spirits of the Dead" aren't enough to get your heart pumping, then perhaps the evil clowns of "Very Scary Tales in 3D" will have you thinking twice about visiting the techno-industrial nightmares of "Oblivion." $14-25. Sun.-Thurs., 7-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. and Halloween, 7 p.m.-midnight. Through Oct. 31. Georgia Antique and Design Center, 6624 Dawson Blvd., Norcross. 404-608-2484. www.fearworld.com.
If you've always wondered what it's like to be one of the characters in a horror movie, step into the CHAMBERS OF TERROR. Touting movie-style special effects, these folks have rushed 18-wheelers out of the darkness at scared-silly visitors and taken them on white-knuckle rides inside a full-sized bus in the past. This year's theme is "Buried Alive." Consider yourself warned. $15. Fri.-Sun., 8 p.m.-midnight. Through Oct. 31. 4475 Shackleford Road, Norcross. 770-935-7001. www.chambersofterror.com.
Zombies, skeletons and psycho killers, oh my. CRYPT OF TERROR and NIGHTMARE HAUNTED HOUSE offer just these, with the undead lurking about the crypt and living horrors murking about their home. $15-$23. Sun.-Thurs., 7:13-11 p.m.; Fri-Sat., 7:13 p.m.-12:30 a.m., Through Oct. 31. 600 Wharton Circle. 404-696-5064 or 404-696-5024. www.thecryptofterror.com or www.nightmarehauntedhouse.com.-- Layla Bellows
Few events appeal to people regardless of their religious or political orientations (or lack thereof). On OCT. 17, AIDS WALK ATLANTA supports a cause that nearly everyone (or at least the 14,000 expected people) can get behind. Through its 13-year history, the event has raised over $14 million, enabling Georgia-based service organizations to support victims of HIV and AIDS through prevention and medication. Registration begins at noon. Piedmont Park, 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue. 404-876-9255. www.aidswalkatlanta.com.-- Andrea O'Rourke
Vincent van Gogh died thinking of himself as an abject failure (he only sold one painting during his lifetime). However, his paintings -- defined by a use of color that astounds even today -- are some of the most recognizable and beloved in art history. On OCT. 19, 22 of van Gogh's paintings and drawings headline the High Museum's exhibition, VAN GOGH TO MONDRIAN: MODERN ART FROM THE KRÖLLER-MÜLLER MUSEUM, featuring 84 works from artists such as Seurat, Picasso and Mondrian, all culled from the collection of a Dutch art patron. $8-$15. Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., through Jan. 16. 1280 Peachtree St. 404.733.4550. www.high.org.-- Felicia Feaster
October 14 - Thursday
Who would have thought that a war hawk could be the star of a quasi-musical? Decatur-based mezzo-soprano Perri Montane recites THE POETRY OF DONALD RUMSFELD, a lighthearted selection of Rummy's direct quotes set to music. Free. 7:30 p.m. Decatur Presbyterian Church, 205 Sycamore St. 404-378-1777. (Michelle Yoon)
October 15 - Friday
If you can't go to Brazil's Carnival, then Carnival must come to you. BALè FOLCLORICO DA BAHIA returns to the Rialto with the dances of Brazil: samba, capoeira (a Brazilian martial art), African slave dances, and enough Carnival capering to get you forming samba crews in the aisles. $32-$56. 8 p.m. Also scheduled to appear Oct. 16. Rialto Center, 80 Forsyth St. 404-651-4727. www.rialtocenter.org. (Thomas Bell)
October 16 - Saturday
There is nary an Atlantan who is not planning on attending the GREAT DECATUR BEER TASTING FESTIVAL and entrance is limited to the first 5,000 to arrive. But it's worth braving the crowds to sample from brews local and international. Plus, with the new roster of Abbey ales now allowed throughout Georgia, there's a real reason to celebrate. $30. 1-6 p.m. Decatur Square. 404-370-4100. www.decatur-ga.com. (Layla Bellows)
October 17 - Sunday
We like PILOBOLUS because their name is fun to say, sounding like a kind of cloud or monument or organism. Fitting, since this playful collective of contortionist-acrobat-dancer-performance-artists interlock their bodies to make beautiful multi-person kinetic sculptures -- which is kind of organic and monumental. $35-$45. 5 p.m. Ferst Center for the Arts, 349 Ferst Drive. 404-894-9600. www.ferstcenter.gatech.edu. (TB)
October 18 - Monday
While Common added more sense to the MC game in Chicago, The Roots were fertilizing Philly with actual instruments and a live hip-hop show. Beginning today, the week-long NU JAZZ FESTIVAL brings both true-school artists to town -- and with De La coming the next day, it's not a question of if you should go, but for which show. $25. 8 p.m. EarthLink Live, 1374 W. Peachtree St. 404-885-1365. www.earthlinklive.com. (T. LaGon)
October 19 - Tuesday
If your knowledge of German music is restricted to Rammstein and Wagner, hit reset on your internal cultural-assumptions machine with an earful of MOUSE ON MARS. The outfit's attempts to combine avant-garde electronica with poststructuralist philosophy have made them one of Germany's biggest musical exports. $10-$12. 9 p.m. Echo Lounge, 551 Flat Shoals Ave. 404-681-3600. www.echostatic.com/echolounge. (Cary Jones)
October 20 - Wednesday
Two locally based all-stars -- celestial funk maestro Cee-Lo and titillating songstress Tweet -- come home and hit the stage together for SEAGRAM'S GIN LIVE 2004. Opening up is New Orleans up-and-comer, Neo-soul singer/songwriter Teedra Moses. $25. 9 p.m. Insomnia, 5920 Roswell Road. 404-257-0160. (Tabriceia Nealy)