It's funny how big a deal we make of Halloween. Some folks choose to stay in, answer the door to a couple of trick-or-treaters and rent a few scary movies to help drown out the sound of incessant fireworks. After all, Halloween is merely a noisy stop-gap between the end of summer and the build-up to Christmas, right? Wrong. It's actually a pretty fun holiday.
And with a range of events taking place across the capital over the next week -- from big gigs and storytelling sessions, to special film screenings and haunted walking tours -- there's no excuse not to enjoy it. Here are just some of the many ways you could celebrate Halloween 2012 in Dublin ...
Who: American guitar hero goes solo
Where and when: The O2, Wednesday October 31
How very fitting that, on Halloween night, a rock 'n' roll star -- who could easily pass for an extra in a Tim Burton picture -- comes traipsing into town with not one, but two separate backing bands (one all-male, the other all-female).
And they like to play dress-up. Expect some White Stripes and Raconteurs songs, as well as tracks from Jack's critically acclaimed debut solo release, Blunderbuss. He might even decorate the place with pumpkins and cobwebs. Tickets from €39.05 are available now from Ticketmaster outlets or at www.ticketmaster.ie.
> IFI Horrorthon 2012
What: Scary movie festival
Where and when: Running at the Irish Film Institute until Monday, October 29
The annual film festival at the IFI in Temple Bar makes a welcome return with a rich line-up of horror classics (1966's Dracula: Prince of Darkness is in there) and gory newcomers (Detention of the Dead, which the programme describes as The Breakfast Club meets Shaun of the Dead'). Popular US 'scream queen' Danielle Harris of the Halloween film franchise will also be making a special app- earance as she presents her directorial debut, Among Friends. Festival day passes start at €40. See www.ifi.ie for more information.
> Monster Ball Halloween Weekend
at the Wright Venue
What: Halloween-themed club nights
Where and when: The Wright Venue, Swords -- tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday
Ah yes, the old reliable fancy-dress party. Three of them, in fact. There are prizes for best-dressed couple, too, and for 'hottest horror'. Let's not forget about the 'spooktacular' cocktails, either (a 'scare on the beach' might be tasty). Admission costs €10. Over 21s only. See www.thewrightvenue.ie.
> Howlaween at Howl at the Moon
What: More Halloween-themed club nights
Where and when: Howl at the Moon, Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2 -- until Sunday
Starting today at 5pm, Howlaween (clever name ... no, really) promises to keep the scary festivities going all weekend, wrapping up with a fourth and final night this Sunday. Again, you can expect prizes for best costumes (€100 and a bottle of bubbly, apparently) and spooky cocktails and potions. Admission is free all night tonight, Friday and Sunday. You can reserve a table now at www.howlatthemoon.ie.
> Bram Stoker
My Name is
What: Inaugural festival celebrating the life and work of the legendary Irish novelist
Where and when: Dublin city, running until Saturday
This three-day festival has many wonderful plans lined up for the weekend, including writing workshops, Stoker-themed theatre, walking tours and "lively discussions on all things vampire". But it's a special screening of Nosferatu at Meeting House Square on Saturday night that promises to be a real highlight. Nosferatu: A Not-So-Silent Symphony & Cinema Event will see Dublin-based collective 3epkano provide a live soundtrack for the 1922 silent classic. Visit www.bramstokerfestival.com.
> Hidden Dublin Walks and Tours
What: "The only company in Ireland who dares bring you to the Hellfire Club"
Where and when: Running now all over the city
The Northside Ghost Walk. Haunted Hellfire excursions on Halloween night. The Gravedigger Ghost Tour. Indeed, these are just some of the fantastic, character-based tours on offer at www.hiddendublinwalks.com. That Gravedigger jaunt claims to be Dublin's scariest ever bus ride (I always thought that honour went to the now defunct 78A).
> Hallowfest 2012
What: Major Halloween festival
Where and when: All over south Dublin until October 31
According to its website, Hallowfest 2012 is a "magical celebration taking place in South Dublin County this October." Which doesn't sound too frightening at all. But then, Hallowfest is a festival for all the family, complete with fancy-dress parties, arts and crafts, workshops and spooky walks, and a whole lot more. Visit www.hallowfestdublin.com for the full schedule.
> The Spook of the
What: Experimental folksters
Where and when: Whelan's, Wednesday October 31
Sounds like a Hollywood horror movie, right? Or an old ghost story. Instead, The Spook of the Thirteenth Lock (named after a poem about a haunted canal lock) is an experimental folk outfit based in Dublin. The band released a warmly received second album earlier this year, and this gig is being billed as a Halloween special. Though whether or not the lads will arrive in costume is anyone's guess. Tickets priced €10. Visit www.whelanslive.com.
> Halloween in Wax
What: Wax museum gives lessons in make-up
Where and when: The National Wax Museum Plus, Foster Place -- running until Wednesday, October 31
The National Wax Museum Plus kick-starts its Halloween celebrations this weekend with an exciting venture which sees a number of make-up experts from the Belvedere Academy ready to transform visitors of all ages into terrifying monsters.
There will also be storytelling sessions involving Count Dracula and Frankenstein's monster. Sounds scary. Though not nearly as chilling as the museum's plans to introduce their Jedward waxworks by the end of the year. Visit www.waxmuseumplus.ie for more.
> Halloween at the
What: The scariest thing involving leprechauns since that awful Jennifer Aniston movie ...
Where and when: Running at the National Leprechaun Museum, Jervis Street, until November 4
This year, the National Leprechaun Museum invites us to enter a world of hostile fairies and dark spirits for an evening of frightening performances and storytelling (the evening shows are for adults only, though there are day-time events for the whole family). Visit www.leprechaun-museum.ie.