Halloween in Toluca Lake 2012

I’m crazy backlogged on my blog posts due to the craziness of work, but I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t mention celebrating Halloween in Toluca Lake.

To start, yes I dressed up at work. And yes, I got my boss to dress up as Lamb Chop to my Shari Lewis. You can see he’s even holding a mini Lamb Chop in the photo.

After work I met up with friends and fellow bloggers (Kelocity). You can see their costumes are very topical: Mikayla is not impressed, and the Nasa JPL scientist with the mohawk with their little martian. Note the attention to detail with the spaced out stroller. After photos it was time to explore Toluca Lake and all the holiday festivities.

This year Mark Cherry had a superhero theme. He always does an awesome display of celebrity or topical skeletons in funny situations. This year’s super hero theme was very clever.

The Toluca Estates neighborhood goes all out. It’s so impressive. It also gets packed, so if you plan on visiting in 2013, go there early to see it before that made rush of people.

So elaborate!

This pirate ship is practically life size. It’s HUGE!

Yup, lots of people came out in costume.

So many people!

There was a group of people in costume who would jump on a golf cart and ride around the neighborhood and would do a Gangman Style dance mob.

When the golf cart pulled up to one house, they projected the Gangman Style video on their house.

Next year, if you’re looking for a fun neighborhood to walk around dressed up for Halloween check out Toluca Lake. If you’re looking to get candy, you’ll have to wait in lines at each house, but if it’s about the atmosphere and creativity, Toluca is you place!

ColLAboration Winterfest: Cancelled

I feel it’s my civic duty to let you know that ColLAboration Winterfest (which I wrote about HERE) is cancelled because of the wind storms the other night. I’m as bummed as you are and hopefully it will be rescheduled very soon. I found this out because I went to Tony’s Darts Away last night and saw this sign. But I am getting ahead of myself, let me start from the beginning.

After work I decided to hit up the Toluca Lake Open House on Riverside which is always a fun community event. While I was waiting for friends to get out of work and join me, I walked long Riverside to taste free goodies the restaurants were giving out and got a glimpse of santa and some real snow. When I reached Priscilla’s Gourmet Coffee (which was giving out free hot chocolate) I ran into my friend Jamie. We got our hot chocolates and were catching up when a group of older (40’s?) men walked by, one of which said to Jamie “I’ll take that” gesturing to her drink. She shook her head saying “this is mine” and he jokingly was still insisting on having her drink. Then a man in the group said “Kato Kaelin is trying to steal hot chocolate!” and they all laughed. And yes, this man was Kato Kaelin. It was a random funny moment from the night. After that I continued walking along Riverside to meet up with Lindsey and we got to explore more of the holiday open house. It was a good time.

From there we continued on to Tony’s Darts Away where when I went up to order they handed me back the mustache that I had left on the table last Tuesday night for their Movember event (more about that HERE). Only at Tony’s do they remember who you are and save things for you… man, that place is awesome. It was packed there last night with people playing board games (as it should be).

Weekend Guide Dec. 2 + 3 + 4

Happy December! One more month until 2012, are you as excited as I am? Since I missed last weeks Weekend Guide, due to Thanksgiving and all, I figure I should post the weekend guide a day early to give you extra time to plan.

FRIDAY December 2, 2011

There are three fun events happening this Friday, all around the same time so choose wisely. One of my favorite holiday events is Toluca Lake’s Open House (from 6-9p), where local restaurants and vendors plant themselves on the sidewalk along Riverside and hand out free samples and hot cider. They have a bus that goes up and down Riverside with carolers singing classic tunes. It’s a festive celebration that really pulls out the community (and also adorable doggies in costumes). HERE is the Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce website that talks about more community events. HERE is the Open House info.

Another holiday fair happening  on the same night, from 7-9p, is the Sunset Junction Holiday Party and Scavenger Hunt. Get ready for live music, drinks, and local shops. It’s another great way to get to know your neighbors, get off your butt and experience something different. This neighborhood has some great restaurants, so I say check out the party, shop local for unique Christmas gifts and then hit up a new restaurant. For more info and a map showing local venues check out more info HERE.

If you’re sick of holiday crap, and want to have a laugh, check out the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre on Friday Night at 6:30 to see Nick Kroll (The League, Fabrice Fabrice) as Jorge Luis Borges and of course Paul F Tompkins as HG Wells in Dead Authors Reading. The money goes to support 826LA, get your tickets before they sell out HERE.

SATURDAY December 3, 2011

Unique LA is holding their holiday event on Saturday and Sunday from 11a- 6p (both days) and tickets ahead of time are $10. 10% of ticket sales go towards 826LA. With the price of admitance, you get a cotton tote bag, entry for both days, free drinks, workshops and crafts, free portraits at the Oh Snap Photo Booth, acess to Amoebas Pop-Up Shop downtown, and 2 different cafe areas. This event is similar to the Etsy craft fair, with designers creating original goods that will make you look extremely artsy and sophisticated when you give out our gifts at Christmas time. So get your ticket (online is cheaper), help a local charity (826LA) and buy one of a kind Christmas gifts (boost the economy). Win. Win. Win. The event is located at The California Market Center (110 East Ninth Street, LA, CA 90079).

ColLAboration is celebrating the holidays with their Winter Wonderland event at Golden Road Brewing in Atwater, from 12p-5p on Saturday. ColLAboration is a group that holds craft beer events at different locations throughtout the year around LA. For those of you who’ve never been (that’s including myself), you pay $15 for a beer glass that essentially buys you a membership to future events. You keep the glass and reuse it at all the ColLAboration events. Once you have your glass you need to buy beer tokens which allow you to taste different beers when you are at the event. I hope to be here this Saturday, so Ill report back about it. I have been to Golden Road Brewery before (see that post HERE), but I’ve been meaning to explore other craft breweries that team up with ColLaboration.

SUNDAY December 4, 2011
The cute little Larchmont Village is having their Holiday Open House on Sunday from 12p-5p. I haven’t gone in past years, but I’ve gotten to know the neighborhood and expect it will be adorable. They have a great market/deli within Larchmont Village that is known for their sandwiches and a fun farmers market on the weekend. If you’re free you should come check it out.
** If you aren’t interested in any of these special events, message me and I can tell you about more things that happen around LA every weekend. These weekend guides are meant to highlight unique events, but I know of plenty of great walks, hikes and bars you should visit.

Halloween Recap

Halloween 2011 was spread out over 4 events for me: a costume party at Ambers on Friday night (which I’ve talked about), the Long Beach Zombie Parade (Saturday evening), The Nightmare Before Christmas (late Saturday night), and walking Toluca Lake on Halloween. So needless to say, I’m a little Halloween’ed out.

The Long Beach Zombie Walk IV was a lot of fun. To get there I decided to take the metro down to Long Beach and assumed that others on the metro would be in costume and boy was I incorrect in that assumption. The blue line down to Long Beach is not one I would recommend taking at night or alone. I did get to see the Watt Towers from the metro, but I also saw people getting arrested. I was also accosted for money many times along my journey to Long Beach. After an hour and a half I was in Long Beach and heading to a small gathering before the parade. The couple throwing the pre-zombie party went all out. They made Dracula fangs out of chocolate, carved a loaf of bread into a coffin/spinach dip holder, and baked delicious red velvet cupcakes with “bloody knives”. After snacks and Halloween themed beer (pumpkin spice!) we set out on our walk. Unfortunately, we went to the location where the walk was held in 2010, which was not where it was being held this year. As Nancy Drew, I put my detective skills to work and became suspicious when zombie bicyclists were headed the opposite direction. When we realized the error we headed to the promenade where it was being held this year.. in a way we crated our own Zombie Parade!

The Zombie Walk featured local bands playing on a stage and vendors selling tee-shirts and other zombie paraphanalia. We walked as a part of the parade and then planted ourselves to watch the other zombie costumes. People get REALLY into their zombie characters and take their zombie-ing very seriously.

Around 9p, we decided to head up to Hollywood to the El Capitan Theater to see The Nightmare Before Christmas in 4D! I’ve never been to this theater before and had a really great experience. I screwed up and bought tickets for Friday night and they happily swapped them for Saturday night without any additional charge. This was not only my first 4D movie but also my first 3D film. They gave us the glasses and we picked out our seats in a theater, which looked like an old opera house. They had a man playing the organ on stage while people were finding seats. When a manager came out to introduce the movie they even raffled off LACMA tickets to their Tim Burton Exhibit. The film itself is a classic, so no surprises there but the 4D effects were really fun. When the film is in Christmas town you could smell the gingerbread and we felt every gust of wind and even the snow falling at the end of the film. It was just a really fun activity and only $12 tickets on Goldstar. Score.

The Golden Girls!

On Monday, of course I came to work as Nancy Drew because cool people dress up at work. Of course I was one of the only people on the lot dressed up, oh well. At night I drove right to Toluca Lake to experience the madness! There were 1000’s of children running around… cars parked illegally which created single lane roads. It was truly madness. Candy lines stretched down blocks. One guy was walking around with a chainsaw scaring people. Toluca Estates had several big attractions and the entire street was covered with people. Mark Cherry had a spooky television themed display set-up. He had many female comedic characters as skeletons with soundbites playing on stereos (like the Golden Girls, Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, and Luclie Ball). Another house had a life sized pirate ship on their front yard,  it looked like a movie set. We even got to see Steve Carell (who lives in the area) which was cool.

Eventually, it was all too much (so many people and kids hopped up on sugar) so we escaped to Tony’s. Tony’s Darts Away was having a 2 for 1 deal for everyone in costume and also a costume competition. Our group snagged a booth and spent the night playing Apples to Apples. It was a really fun night. The winner of the costume contest was “Weird Al” who really did fit the part.

What did you do to celebrate the holiday? Is there a different neighborhood I should check out in 2012? Well this sums up my Halloween 2011 adventures and now on to bigger and better holidays (aka Thanksgiving in Denver!).

Weekend Guide Oct 28+ 29+ 30

TGIF Baby!! I need to start by telling you, 2 new LA books arrived in the mail today: Secret Stairs by Charles Fleming and LA Bizarro by Anthony Lovett and Matt Maranian. Expect exciting posts to come!

Now I know on Wednesday I put together a bunch of potential cool events for tonight and you can check that previous post HERE as well as LAWeekly’s article about Halloween events around LA, HERE. If those don’t tickle your fancy, here’s some more cheap events happening this weekend. Keep in mind it’s Halloween weekend so traffic is going to be wild so take the metro if you can!

FRIDAY Oct. 28

As I promised, I must report back about Delusion off of the 10 freeway. My friend went on Wednesday and she’s normally afraid of these haunted houses and said it was awesome. Spoiler alert: a cast member ‘died’ on her lap at the end of the night. Get there early, there will be a line.

SATURDAY Oct. 29

Skylight Books in Los Feliz is celebrating their 15th Anniversary with events all weekend. I suggest you hit them up Saturday 3pm-5pm for their Wine and Cheese party where they will be raffling off a Chris Ware special edition print at 4pm (get a ticket when you spend $40+). They are also having a special deal, that when you purchase your books at the register, you pick a card out of a bowl and get whatever discount is written on the card. How fun is that!

Saturday night at the Long Beach Promenade is the Zombie Walk! Take your Halloween costume out and dab some paint on your face and become the zombie version of your costume. I’ll be going as Zombie Nancy Drew! Parking will be a problem so be sure to carpool.

SUNDAY Oct. 30

If  you need a break from Halloween fun, check out Meltdown Comics for their backroom Nerdist Panel (presented with 826LA) where Tom Lennon (The State, Reno 911) and Seth Grahame-Smith (Dark Shadows) will discuss writing for film and television. Doors open at 4:30 and it starts at 5:30pm on Sunday, and if you get there early you can check out their large selection of comics (if you’re into that type of thing). Tickets are $15 and you can get them HERE.

DeadHaus is having a free party Sunday night at 9pm (RSVP through Thrillist HERE). They are describing it as a “balls-to-the-walls haunted house party”. The party is actually taking place at the site of the Woodward Family Murders that happened over 50 years ago. Wear a costume and get ready to roll into Halloween with a frightening FREE dance party with Rapture, Paul Devro, Derek Allen and Benzona!

MONDAY Oct. 31 

I normally don’t include Monday in my weekend guide, but seeing as it’s Halloween on Monday, you deserve to know what’s happening around town.

Obviously you know about West Hollywood’s wild Halloween Parade happening on Monday. Lola’s, the martini bar I wrote about on Thursday, is in WeHo and having specials on drinks ($6 Pumpkin martinis all night!) and offering prizes for best costume. When you’re done with the parade, hop over for a drink. Bar 107 is also having a Halloween party that night (they have a photo booth!). I say hit both!

If you’re not into the wild street parades that WeHo has to offer, then join me in the Valley for a more family-friendly Halloween. Toluca Lake goes all-out on Halloween. I’ve gone on walks in the neighborhood this week and every day people are bringing out more and more decorations. Haunted Houses are being set-up and even one house has a giant pirate ship on their front lawn. I can’t wait! Park near Riverside or Moorpark and follow the crowds that will be going up and down the streets and enjoy!