The Halloween party preparations have begun. All over town, cobwebs sprout on porches, pumpkins decorate front stoops and gobs of candy are being amassed in cupboards. But as any good horror director will attest, you can’t skimp on the soundtrack. Luckily, Halloween might be the most musically underrated holiday, and this year marks the return of live shows that will get you in the haunting mood and inspire your party playlists. Here’s a roundup of spooky musical events in the greater Baltimore area that might just make a chill run down your spine.
BSO Fusion: ‘Skull and Bones’
“Skull and Bones” is the first installment of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Fusion series helmed by conductor, composer and arranger Steve Hackman. To create these concerts, Hackman takes “modern musical techniques from the popular music world such as mixing and mashups, and applies those techniques to classical repertoire.” Later programs feature pairings between Brahms and Radiohead, Mahler and 2Pac, but “Skull and Bones” has a particular Halloween twist. The music of Dukas, Holst, and Shostakovich are on the program — but in the style of a Halloween rave, remixed with electronica, rap and rock. The concert also features spoken word artist Wordsmith and vocalist Malia Civetz — and an outdoor preconcert party with food and drinks.
8 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. Tickets start at $10. Info: https://my.bsomusic.org/16933/17132
Baltimore Rock Opera Society: ‘Monster World Zoo Quest’
The Baltimore Rock Opera Society is never shy of extravagant productions, and its “Monster World Zoo Quest” promises to deliver all their trademark flamboyance and interactive fun. In partnership with The Maryland Zoo, BROS presents a “monster safari,” where attendees can quest around the zoo to spot infamous creatures from previous BROS performances — such as Wooly Bully, Mama Nog and the Rat King. Meanwhile, the zoo’s Waterfowl Pavilion hosts a Halloween party, complete with carnival games and a costume contest. The night caps off with performances from local bands performing a selection of rock, R&B, funk and electronic music.
5 p.m. Oct. 28-29 at The Maryland Zoo, 1 Safari Place, Baltimore. Tickets start at $25. Info: https://www.baltimorerockopera.org/
Mount Vernon Virtuosi: ‘Autumn Tales’
Cellist and Peabody instructor Amit Peled founded the Mount Vernon Virtuosi in 2018 with two goals in mind: to keep Maryland-trained musicians in the state, and to provide high-quality classical music to the public for free. Their upcoming program, “Autumn Tales,” is guaranteed to get you in the Halloween spirit. The Virtuosi will give a mini tour of the concert to venues in Baltimore, Silver Spring and Rockville, where they’ll play a movement from Mozart’s “Dissonance” quartet, Britten’s “Simple Symphony,” and an arrangement of Bernard Herrmann’s score for the Hitchcock thriller Psycho. The Sunday performance in Rockville includes candy and a pizza party for younger attendees. Concertgoers need not dress up: Peled stressed the importance of bringing “classical music to people in a way that is not like stepping into a museum.”
12 p.m. Oct. 29 at Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore; 4 p.m. Oct. 30 at Spencerville Church, Silver Spring; 11 a.m. Oct. 31 at Bender JCC, Rockville. Free. Info: https://www.mountvernonvirtuosi.com/
U.S. Naval Academy: Halloween/All Saints’ Day Concert
What’s Halloween music good for if it doesn’t include some pipe organ? For decades, the U.S. Naval Academy’s chapel organist Monte Maxwell has presented an annual concert that’s drawn hundreds — and sometimes thousands — of listeners. This year’s program “celebrates the triumph of good over evil,” and features works from multiple genres, along with a light show, drama and dance — but organ purists need not worry: Also promised is a rendition of J.S. Bach’s famous “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.”
7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Oct. 29; 7 p.m. Oct. 30 at USNA Chapel, Annapolis. $36 for adults, $8 for children. https://www.usna.edu/Music/signature/halloween.php
An Die Musik Live: ‘Hand Through The Veil’
An Die Musik LIVE, Baltimore’s beloved classical and jazz venue, expands its offerings this year by staging its first play. Written by Sean Coe and directed by Chris Cotterman, “Hand Through the Veil” is a supernatural period drama set in the Spiritualism movement of the 1920s. The Baltimore-based cast weave a story about seances and mediums, and features historic figures Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini. But no visit to An Die Musik is complete without some music: The shows span three days, and each one opens with a different performance by musicians, cabaret artists and magicians.
8 p.m. Oct. 29; 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Oct. 30-31 at An Die Musik LIVE, 409 N. Charles St., Baltimore. Live tickets are $20, streaming $10.
Baltimore Concert Opera: ‘The Medium’
Those wishing to extend the Halloween weekend a little longer will find their hopes satisfied by the Baltimore Concert Opera and their November presentation of Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Medium.” This two-act opera about a séance gone awry will be presented in a semi-staged format and features the talents of vocalists Amanda Sheriff and Jenni Bank, among others. According to BCO’s artistic and general director Julia Cooke, Menotti “has a keen eye and ear for storytelling, and also for music that makes a listener feel they can understand it” — making this a perfect show for opera newcomers and die-hards alike.
7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 and 3 p.m. Nov. 14 at The Engineers’ Club, 11 W. Mount Vernon Pl., Baltimore. Tickets start at $29. Info: http://www.baltimoreconcertopera.com/the-medium