It's October – time to get ready for Halloween!  From Center City to the Jersey Shore, we've got your week covered. WHYY's Arts Calendar curator Robin Bloom searches hundreds of listings each week to find out what's happening in the Delaware Valley. Here are her picks: 

 

Picturing Poe at Brandywine River Museum

Edgar Allan Poe's macabre writings have long resonated with artists and his troubled life and mysterious death continue to intrigue broad audiences around the world. The Brandywine River Museum examines this phenomenon with "Picturing Poe: Illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe's Stories and Poems," featuring works by more than two dozen artists including Édouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, Horst Janssen (pictured), and more. From the seemingly straightforward to the abstract, each artist's work reflects his or her own time and personal interpretation of Poe's work on view through November 15 at U.S. Route 1, Chadds Ford, PA. Admission: $12 adults, $10 seniors 65+, $6 students and children 6-12, children 5 and under free. Museum admission is free Sunday mornings from 9:30am-noon (through November 18).

Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary

The annual "Terror Behind the Walls," the massive haunted house inside the castle-like walls of the abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary, is back with Hollywood-quality sets, custom-designed props, animatronics, digital sound effects and a cast of more than 200 performers in a theatrical production that consists of six haunted attractions including the "Gauntlet," "Lock Down," "Infirmary," "The Experiment," "Night Watch," and the new "Detritus," expanding into areas of the prison never entered by the public. Also new this year is the VIP Experience ALONE, a personal tour. Ranked among the top 10 haunted attractions in the country, "Terror Behind the Walls" runs on select evenings through November 10 at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue in Philadelphia. Tickets: $40 with discounts on ESP website.

Landscapes by William Trost Richards at PAFA

On display at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is "A Mine of Beauty, Landscapes by William Trost Richards," an exhibition of small-scale watercolors by the American landscape and marine painter, created between 1875-1885. The exhibition of a man hailed as "America's best known watercolor painter," documents both a friendship between the artist and his patron, Philadelphia collector George Whitney, that spans continents and decades, on view through December 30, North Broad Street, Philadelphia. Admission: Adults $15, Seniors 60+ and students with ID $12, Youth 12-18 $10, Children under 12 free.

 

Seek a Newer World with New City Stage Company

New City Stage Company presents "RFK," a historically accurate solo performance recounting the last four years of Robert F. Kennedy's life, from 1964-1968 with music, film and footage from the era, just in time for the 2012 presidential election, written by Jack Holmes, directed by Ginger Dayle and featuring Russ Widdall (HBO's The Wire) as RFK, onstage through October 21 at The Adrienne Theatre Second Stage, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.

Old City Seaport Festival

The Independence Seaport Museum's Old City Seaport Festival is this Friday, October 5 through Sunday, October 7 along the museum's waterfront. The event will showcase local tall ships including the Pride of Baltimore II, Gazela, Kalmar Nykel, as well as music, crafts, and food. A Parade of Boats opens the Festival on Friday and it all comes to a close with Sunday night's Pirate Battle, Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, $9-$65. While at the seaport, check out "Digging the City: Archaeological Discoveries from the Philadelphia Waterfront," an exhibit of artifacts uncovered during the construction on I-95, which bring to life the Native American inhabitants who lived in the area and shows the evolution of the land into the city's industrial era, on view through February 3.

Mural Arts Month

October is Mural Arts Month and Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program, the largest public art program in the U.S., celebrates with "Works of Progress," mural dedications, exhibitions, special tours, artist talks, and more throughout the month of October. Highlights include celebrations of four major projects: The Roots Mural Project, Philly Painting, Peace as a Haiku Song, and Aqui y Alla.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" takes to the stage October 5-20, at Eagle Theatre, the musical comedy telling the tale of six adolescent outsiders vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime. This production involves audience interaction, with "grownups" playing kids, nose picking, name calling, inappropriate word spelling, cheap jokes, and big laughs, for all ages at 208 Vine Street, Hammonton, NJ.

 

Cape May's Victorian Weekend

 

Learn about local Victorian heritage at Cape May's 40th Annual Victorian Weekend, Friday, October 5 through Tuesday, October 9, as the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities hosts events including living history programs, lectures, workshops, murder mystery dinners, the Chocolate Championship Tour & Tasting, and more, Cape May, NJ.

The 13th Annual Philadelphia Open Studio Tours

The 13th Annual Philadelphia Open Studio Tours is October 6-7 for studios west of Broad Street and October 20-21 for studios east of Broad Street, as hundreds of professional visual artists in every Philadelphia neighborhood open their studios to the public for the display and sale of their artwork, noon-6pm each day. Free. Create your own itinerary online, check out the venues in your neighborhood, participating artists, special events and more.
Participating venues include 3rd Street Gallery. Their Members Exhibition (pictured), is on view through October 28, 58 N. Second Street, Old City, Philadelphia.

The Revolutionary Germantown Festival

The Revolutionary Germantown Festival is celebrated Saturday, October 6, a day of historic entertainment beginning at 10am with tours, programs and activities at historic sites in Philadelphia's Germantown section, including the reenactment of the Battle of Germantown at Cliveden at noon and 3pm. The day closes with a traditional Oktoberfest at Grumblethorpe, a 1774 colonial German country seat, Germantown. Free.

Collingswood Book Festival

The 10th Annual Collingswood Book Festival is Saturday, October 6, beginning at 10am. Stroll more than six blocks of Haddon Avenue filled with nationally recognized authors/speakers for adults and children including Tony Auth, Amy Waldman, Liz Moore, Dan Gutman (pictured), and many more as well as booksellers, storytellers, poetry readings, workshops, exhibitors, kid-friendly activities, and entertainment for all ages, Collingswood, New Jersey. All events are free.

Wheaton Arts' Festival of Fine Craft

Wheaton Arts' Festival of Fine Craft is this Saturday and Sunday, October 6-7, 10am-5pm, with over 125 artists' booths, children's activities, demonstrations, food, and the annual glass pumpkin patch, 1501 Glasstown Road, Millville, NJ. $10 with discounts for seniors, students, and children.

"Rainforest Adventure" at the Delaware Museum of Natural History

Explore "Rainforest Adventure" at the Delaware Museum of Natural History, opening this weekend through January 6, a multi-sensory expedition that introduces visitors to tropical rainforests around the world, highlighting the challenges facing these unique ecologies. The exhibit features over 40 interactive components, computer games, opportunities to discover plant and animal life in different layers of the rainforest, become a scientist, climb through the rainforest canopy, explore a gorilla next and more, 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE. Admission: $9 adults, $7 children (3-17), $8 seniors, children 2 and under free.

Gutenberg comes to Act II Playhouse

"Gutenberg! The Musical!," comes to Act II Playhouse (a co-production with Montgomery Theater in Souderton) Tuesday, October 9, starring Tony Braithwaite and Steve Pacek as Bud and Doug, two musical theatre writers who are presenting their unintentionally hilarious musical about Johann Gutenberg, founder of the printing press, through November 4 at 56 E. Butler Avenue, Ambler, PA. Tickets: $27-$38.

"The Outgoing Tide" at The Delaware Theatre Company

The Delaware Theatre Company presents "The Outgoing Tide," by Barrymore Award-winning playwright Bruce Graham and featuring an all-star cast including Michael Learned of the TV series "The Waltons," Ian Lithgow, and Peter Strauss, directed by Executive Director Bud Martin, October 10-28, 200 Water Street Wilmington, DE. The production will then move to 59E59 Theaters, Off-Broadway, in New York for six weeks. Tickets: $35-$49.

Lar Lubovitch at Annenberg Center

World-renowned choreographer Lar Lubovitch presents two of his newest works, "Crisis Variations" and "The Legend of Ten" to Annenberg Center, Thursday, October 11, 7:30pm, Friday, October 12, 8pm and Saturday, October 13, 2pm and 8pm with a pre-show chat at 7pm on October 12, and a post-show talk with the company after the October 13, 2pm show, 2680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, $22-$50. These performances are part of Dance Celebration's 30th Anniversary season, presented by Dance Affiliates.

Philadelphia Orchestra free concerts

The Philadelphia Orchestra kicks off their season with the Free College Night, Thursday, October 11, 8pm. Full-time college students with a valid ID can enjoy a free program of Liszt, Saint-Saens, Al-Zand, and Prokofiev, followed by a party in the Kimmel Center lobby with free food and more live music. New this year, the Orchestra will hold the first ever free Season Preview Concert on Saturday, October 13, 8pm, featuring a program of Wagner, Beethoven, Liszt, Bach, Ravel, and Gershwin, Kimmel Center, Broad Street, Philadelphia. Free. Cristian Macelaru (pictured) conducts both concerts.

Merian Soto's SoMoS

Choreographer Merian Soto will transform a concrete parking lot into a performance space that bridges nature and urban life with "SoMoS." Presented as a part of Taller Puertorriqueno's "Café Under the Stars: Spotlighting the Arts in El Barrio" and as the culmination of Soto's 7-year Branch Dance Series, the performance fuses dance and seasonal audio/video installations in large tents to create a meditative nature carnival in the middle of the city, Friday, October 12, 7:15pm and 9pm in the Municipal Parking Lot at 2600-2624 North 5th Street at Huntington Street, Free.

"Four Quartets" at Marginal Utility

Marginal Utility presents "Four Quartets," an interactive installation of new works by the Philadelphia based artist Jeanne Jaffe, informed by T.S. Eliot's book of poetry by the same name. Based on the rhythm, time, and musicality of Eliot's poems, Jaffe's exhibit plays with those themes of time, paradox, recurrence, stillness, and the possibilities within them, and can be seen through October 21 at 319 North 11th Street, Philadelphia.

Other events in Philly:

<Fidget>, an arts organization dedicated to cross-disciplinary experimentation, hosts the Fall Experimental Music Festival, featuring three distinct musical compositions performed Friday, October 5, 8pm, and Saturday, October 6, 7pm and 9pm, at thefidget space, 1714 North Mascher Street, in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. Tickets: $5-$20. Weekend pass $25.

Temple University Dance presents "Reflection: Response" with the Ananya Dance Theatre performing Moreechika: Season of Mirage, the third work in a four-part investigation into violence, trauma, resistance and empowerment experienced by communities of color, Friday, October 5, 7:30pm and Saturday, October 6, 7:30pm, Conwell Dance Theater, Broad Street, Philadelphia. Tickets: $20, $15 students and seniors, $10 with Dance USA Philadelphia Pass, $5 with student OWLcard.

Midtown Village's largest Fall Festival is Saturday, October 6, noon-8pm. The block party includes food, a beer garden, arts and crafts, and shopping at the area's boutiques, 13th Street stretching from Chestnut to Locust Street, Philadelphia. Free.

Celebrate historic Fishtown at the 5th Annual River City Festival, Saturday, October 6, beginning at noon with a 5K fun run through Fishtown, followed by live local music headlined by the John Byrne Band with Wareika Hill, Rock to the Future, The Snails, and more. The whole family will be able to enjoy food, drinks, crafts, and other activities, Penn Treaty Park, 1199 North Delaware Avenue, Philadelphia. Free with donations to benefit Penn Treaty Park. Presented by the Fishtown Neighbors Association.

The 2nd annual Mid-Autumn Chinese Music Festival is Saturday, October 6, 6pm-9pm in the American Revolution Center, Third and Chestnut Streets, in historic Philadelphia. Presented by the Main Line Chinese Culture Center, the festival features multi-media entertainment and a musical program celebrating the Chinese Moon Festival and China's ties to Philadelphia. $10 donation suggested.

Philly Pride's biggest event of the year, Outfest 2012, is Sunday, October 7, noon-6pm, with over 140 vendors, groups, and flea markets for a full day of entertainment, 12th/13th and Locust Street, Center City, Philadelphia, Free.

The 8th annual DesignPhiladelphia Festival, in partnership with The University of the Arts, seeks to unite the region's dynamic creative community by bringing together individuals and organizations from across the design spectrum, placing a spotlight on Philadelphia's rich design history and creative industries at work. The Festival offers over 100 events with more than 400 participating designers and a mix of open studios, exhibitions, lectures, runway shows, tours, workshops, in boutiques, galleries, museums, universities, warehouses, city streets and more venues across the city, October 10-14. Many events are free and open to the public.

"Planetarium on the Parkway" provides a unique stargazing opportunity with an interactive, free event hosted by Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer at the Franklin Institute. Pitts, as part of the Association for Public Art's "Open Air" project, will use an iPad to direct the lights toward the stars and constellations above the Parkway. Bring your own telescope or view through two large telescopes provided by Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Astronomical Society, Friday night, October 12, 8:30pm, Eakins Oval, Ben Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia.

Germantown Avenue will be transformed into an outdoor arts marketplace on Sunday, October 14, for The Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival. Over 150 artists and crafters from across the country will display their work between Willow Grove and Rex Avenues in addition to live music, food, and children's rides and activities, 11am-5pm, Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill. Free. [This event has been rescheduled from Sunday, October 7, to Sunday, October 14.]

Onstage at Arden Theatre Company is "Next to Normal." Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt's Pulitzer Prize winning rock musical follows the Goodmans, a suburban family dealing with a mother's worsening bipolar disorder. Terrence J. Nolan directs the play, which kicks off the Arden's 25th Anniversary Season, running through November 4 at 40 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia. $15-$48.

Puccini's timeless, romantic "La bohème" is onstage at the Academy of Music, performed by the Opera Company of Philadelphia with soprano Norah Amsellem, tenor Bryan Hymel, baritone Troy Cook, and soprano Leah Partridge, with Music Director Corrado Rovaris conducting performances September 28 through Sunday, October 7, Broad Street, Philadelphia. Performed in Italian.

EgoPo Classic Theater's yearlong American Vaudeville Festival features prominent performance events of the American Stage from 1880s to 1920s and kicks off its new season with "The Assassination of Jesse James," directed by Brenna Geffers, through October 21, with an all-female cast at the Plays and Players Theater, converted into a Western Saloon for the performance, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia. $20-$50.

Onstage at Allens Lane Theater is "Childe Byron," by Romulus Linney, directed by Ellen Wilson Dilks, the story of Ada Byron Lovelace's search to know more about her father, Lord Byron, through October 13 at 601 West Allens Lane, Philadelphia. Single tickets $18 with reservations, $20 at the door.

The Inis Nua Theatre Company presents "A Slow Air" at the Off-Broad Street Theater in the First Baptist Church. David Harrower's drama revolves around the relationship between Athol and Mona, two siblings who became estranged after the 2007 Glasgow Airport terrorist attack, through October 21, 1626 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. $20-$25.

PA Suburbs & Delaware

The 21st Annual Delmarva Folk Festival is Friday and Saturday, October 5-6. The music begins at 7pm on Friday with the conclusion of this year's Folk Hero contest, followed by a night of folk performances, continuing from noon-10pm on Saturday. This year's lineup includes the Philadelphia Jug Band, Honey Badgers, John Flynn, Trini, and more. Craft vendors, food vendors, kids' activities, and guitar workshops will provide entertainment for the entire family. Presented by the Delaware Friends of Folk, 352 Downs Chapel Road, Clayton, DE. $5-$25.

The annual Highlands Craft Show is October 6-7, 10am-5pm on Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sunday, with a preview party Friday, October 5, 6pm-9pm, with more than 60 juried artists exhibiting jewelry, ceramics, clothing, and much more at the Highlands Mansion and Gardens, 7001 Sheaff Lane, Fort Washington, PA. Admission: $8. Download coupon online for $1 off admission.

The Mennonite Heritage Center holds its 39th Annual Apple Butter Frolic Saturday October 6, 10am-5pm, with authentic Pennsylvanian German food, crafts, a baking contest, silent auction, and a unique look at Mennonite life 100 years ago, 565 Yoder Road, Harleysville, PA, $8-$14 with discounts available for children.

Quiet Valley's 38th Annual Harvest Festival is Saturday and Sunday, October 6-7, 10am-5pm, focusing on "Going Green," and showing how early settlers reused and recycled everyday items, in addition to food, crafts, and other activities, 347 Quiet Valley Road, Stroudsburg, PA, $10 for adults, $5 for children.

Hagley Museum and Library celebrates the fall season with "October Hayrides" Saturdays, October 6, 13, 20, and 27, 11am-4pm, with tours of the beautiful fall foliage, family activities, live music and more including a gunpowder explosion, the roll mill in action, working nineteenth-century machines, and the steam engine. Rides leave on the hour and half hour. Activities are included with admission: $11 adults, $9 students and seniors, $4 children 6-14. Free for members and children 5 and under. The Hagley Craft Fair is Saturday, October 20, 10am-5pm and Sunday, October 21, 10am-4pm in the Library and Soda House. Admission $3 for members and $5 for non-members. Use Hagley's entrance off Route 141, Wilmington, DE.

Winterthur hosts a "Truck and Tractor Day!" Saturday, October 6, 10am-4pm, with the opportunity to explore antique tractors, the Winterthur Fire Truck and more at 5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52), Winterthur, DE. Included with general admission: $18 adults, $16 seniors 62+ and students, $5 children 2-11, children under 2 and members free.

Rockwood Park and Museum hosts Ghost Tours on Saturdays in October: Ghost Tour I, 7pm-8:30pm includes tours of the mansion seeking paranormal experiences, while guides relate stories documented by those who have worked and lived there in the past, 1.5 hour tour, $20 ages 12 and up; Ghost Tour II, 9pm-12am, with instruction and hands-on use of paranormal investigative equipment, 3 hour tour, $40, adults only, October 6, 13, 20, 27 at 4651 Washington Street Extension, Wilmington, DE.

City Theater Company presents "Murder at the Mansion: A CTC Rock'n'Roll Mystery" at Bellevue Manor, Saturday, October 6, 7pm-10pm. Delve into the murder of a legendary rocker with music, cocktails, hors d'ouervres, and fun, Bellevue State Park, Wilmington, DE, $40, $75 per couple.

The Delaware Symphony Orchestra offers a night of romantic melodies with "The DSO Strings: the Most Beautiful Music in the World." The string-centric program will feature Mozart's "Divertimento for Strings No. 3," Beethoven's "String Quartet Op. 59 No. 3," "Three Minuets for Strings" by Puccini, and Gershwin's "Lullaby for String Quartet," Tuesday, October 9, 8pm, The Grand, N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE, $60.

Other events in New Jersey:

Ocean City's Fall Block Party and Fireworks Spectacular is this Saturday, October 6, with over 400 crafters and vendors from 5th to 14th Streets on Asbury Avenue from 9am to 5pm. The Block Party leads into the boardwalk Music Festival which starts on Saturday at 4pm with 2 stages of continuous music until 11pm and fireworks at 9:30pm. The music continues on Sunday, October 7 from 1pm-9pm, Ocean City Boardwalk, Ocean City, NJ, Free.

Oktoberfest comes to the town of Smithville, NJ this Saturday, October 6, 10am-5pm, with over 100 crafters showcasing their products, an international food court, live music, and activities for children, Route 9 and Moss Mill Road. Free.

The Wildwood Seafood and Music Festival is Saturday, October 6, 11am-7pm, a street fair with live music on two stages, crafts, food, pie eating contest, children's activities and more, on Atlantic Avenue between Wildwood and Schellenger Avenues, Wildwood, NJ. Free.

The Cape May Wine festival is Saturday, October 6 and Sunday, October 7, noon-5pm, two days of entertainment, food, and, of course, wine. Adults can sample wines from over 20 different wineries, while children can enjoy the Kids Zone. Live music will be provided by Jingo Jive on Saturday and Funktion Band on Sunday, Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal, Cape May, NJ. $25-$40, $20 in advance.

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra hosts a family-friendly night of music and activities dedicated to Asia with its Second Annual "Festival of Music and Art," Saturday, October 6, noon-5pm. Rossen Milanov conducts the Orchestra in selections from Zhou Tian's "The Grand Canal," Saint-Saen's Bacchanale from "Samson and Delilah," and Borodin's Polovtsian Dances" from "Prince Igor." Before and after the performance, the museum will offer family activities including a scavenger hunt and calligraphy, Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ. $10.

The 21st Annual Blackwood Pumpkin Festival is Sunday, October 7, 11am-4pm, offering food, games, live music on four stages, a pumpkin carving contest, pony rides, hayrides, and more than 200 vendors at Blackwood Rotary Library, 15 South Blackhorse Pike, Blackwood NJ. Free. Rain date is Sunday, October 14.


To submit an event to be considered for the Weekly Entertainment Guide email Robin Bloom at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Brett Rader contributed reporting to this week's guide.