Picks of the Week: Autumnal oatmeal, outrageous cheekbones and pet parades to ‘spookify’ your Halloween


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Happy Monday, Berkeley! Hope you’re all surviving midterm season. This week, get ready to jump wholeheartedly into the fall spirit with our seasonal picks.

Start this week celebrating fall by cooking up some noms to last you the week. Make yourself a hearty batch of sweet potato oatmeal to heat up in the mornings for a comforting and autumnal start to your day. Be sure to also try out this instant-pot-friendly butternut squash and apple soup recipe, which only takes about half an hour from start to finish. Add a sweet seasonal crunch to your ravioli with a harvest succotash ravioli (bacon optional). And while you’re cooking, turn on a podcast — we recommend “Lore” or “Alice Isn’t Dead” for bingeable Halloween-appropriate listens.

Turning the focus back to campus, on Tuesday UC Berkeley’s Center of Excellence in Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health is hosting a screening of last year’s Oscar winner for best documentary short, “Period. End of Sentence,” at Berkeley Way West at 5:30 p.m. The film revolves around a group of women in Hapur, India who radically empower the women in their community by providing them with affordable and eco-friendly sanitary pads. A panel of MCAH researchers will follow the screening and consider matters of reproductive rights and economic empowerment more broadly. Stop by to see the film (but make sure to RSVP beforehand) and maybe even grab some Marugame Udon before you head in.

On Wednesday, treat yourself to a midweek movie night. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” a sequel to the 2014 original, isn’t supposed to be outstanding: “For a film that hinges on a curse, audiences are left waiting for Aurora to escape the curse of the corner her character arc was written into,” writes Daily Californian assistant arts and entertainment editor Areyon Jolivette in her review. But it might also be worth going just to witness (or rewitness) Angelina’s outrageous cheekbones — in which case, the film is playing at Regal UA Berkeley throughout that evening. 

Then on Thursday, hang out with some furry and feathered friends. The UC Botanical Garden will be having a “Fall Bird Walk” at 9:30 a.m. Former Associate Director of Collections and Horticulture Chris Carmichael will be leading on a search for seasonal visitors to the garden, including winter sparrows, warblers and thrushes. Then, that evening, make your way to the big city for an SF SPCA and Animal Care and Control-led block party, “A Beautiful Night in the Neighborhood,” in honor of their 30 years of collaboration. Come by for puppies, other miscellaneous small animals, tote bag screen printing, trivia and food trucks! The festivities are set to begin at 6:00 p.m. near the animal rescue’s headquarters at 201 Alabama Street.

As the week winds down and you start thinking about what to do with your Friday night and weekend, consider getting a bit spooky. With Halloween just around the corner, a plethora of Halloween-related festivities are scheduled throughout the Bay. On Friday, take a short walk to Downtown Berkeley (near the BART stations) for the free Halloween Hootenanny at 5:00 p.m., featuring live bluegrass music followed by a “Time Warp Dance” led by Rocky Horror Picture Show characters at 7:00 p.m.

Saturday presents an abundance of options to choose from. In Jack London Square, you’ll have the chance to judge the best doggy do-overs at Boo! Bark, Brews + Bites, a DogFest that’ll include a canine costume contest. If you’d prefer to hit San Francisco for your pet costume fill, check out Farley’s 30th Annual Pet Parade and Costume Contest at 18th Street and Texas Street. Then there are a few distinctive neighborhood celebrations in the city that you might want to stop by. The Castro Halloween “Glow in the Streets” Block Party is set to be a standout among them, with live DJs, a main stage (with the lineup including Chicago drag and burlesque star Otter Chaos and SF vogue legend” Jocquese Whitfield) and neon face and body paint. Tickets run from $10-25 and the festivities will begin at 4:00 p.m. at 2298 Market Street. 

On Sunday, keep the Halloween vibes going with the TreasureFest Halloween Market on Treasure Island. In addition to a costume contest and pumpkin carving, enjoy more than 400 autumnal vendor booths. Then make your way back to Berkeley in time for a free performance from the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra of “The Most Famous Symphony Ever Written,” a leap into Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, at 3:00 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Berkeley.

As always, shoot Ketki and me an email with any suggestions — especially Halloween-related ones! We’ll be as thrilled as this owl dancing to “Monster Mash” to hear from you. 

Monday, 10/21: Fall cooking day

Tuesday, 10/22: Period. End of Sentence,” Free, RSVP online, 5:30 p.m., Berkeley Way West, Berkeley

Wednesday, 10/23: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” $9.90-$12.40, screening throughout the day, Regal UA, Berkeley

Thursday, 10/24: Fall Bird Walk, $18-20, 9:30 a.m., UC Botanical Garden, Berkeley; “A Beautiful Night in the Neighborhood” block party, Free, RSVP online, 6:00 p.m., 201 Alabama Street, San Francisco

Friday, 10/25: Halloween Hootenanny, Free, 5:00 p.m., Downtown Berkeley BART

Saturday, 10/26: Bay Area Halloween festivals

Sunday, 10/27: The Most Famous Symphony Ever Written,” Free, 3:00 p.m., First Congregational Church, Berkeley

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