Credit: Stock image

OK, this year I decided to break out the Halloween decorations. I used to do a lot of spooky things to the front yard and porch, but recently there just haven’t been as many kids coming to the door for trick-or-treating as there used to be. Most of the people in my neighborhood are college students or professors with grown children, so we just don’t have a lot of little witches and goblins running around.

John Akal

But I got inspired with a trip to the local Halloween store. It had this huge motion-activated jumping spider marked down to half price and it had everyone in the store startled and squealing. So, now one of them is on my porch terrorizing the poor mailman and delivery drivers. Hopefully we’ll get some folks dropping by on Oct. 31 to see it, along with the howling wolf and life-size human skeletons, ghosts, assorted other smaller spiders, a few bats and scary lighting. I stopped short of putting the corpse with hedge clippers stuck in its back under the bushes again. The thing looked so real that the last time I did that, someone saw it and called the police to report a dead body. Of course, leaving it out there until December might have contributed a bit to their confusion.

Yes, I’m feeling that October vibe again, and just to let you all know, by the time you read this, my birthday should be happening. This is the year that I will find out the answer to that age-old question…Will you still need me, will you still feed me?

OK, enough about what’s going on at my house. Let’s take a look at what’s going on at the local playhouse. Miners Alley Playhouse, to be exact. It has a couple of new productions starting this month and some other really exciting news.

So, in case you haven’t heard, Miners Alley is in the middle of doing a huge expansion by creating the Miners Alley Performing Arts Center in the heart of Golden, transforming the former Meyer Hardware building from one community hub into another. That was called Act 1, and it will be opening for visits this month.  Now it’s time to build Act 2, which will be additional space to host community events, meetings, receptions, recitals, education, expanded children’s theatre and a lot more. So, stay tuned to this column for more information on the progress.

But for right now, Miner’s Alley has a new production of a classic play called “The Cherry Orchard.” This was Anton Chekhov’s last full-length play and they will be presenting it with a new translation by master dramatist Stephen Karam. The story follows an impoverished landowning family, unable to face the fact that their estate is about to be auctioned off. Lopakhin, a local merchant, presents numerous options to save it, including cutting down their prized cherry orchard. But the family is stricken with denial. The Cherry Orchard charts the precipitous descent of a wealthy family, and in the process creates a bold meditation on social change and bourgeois materialism. At least, that’s what is says about the play on the Miner’s Alley website. I’ve never seen it, so I’m anxious to check it out.

Performances will still be at the regular Miners Alley Playhouse, located at 1224 Washington Ave. here in Golden. The show runs now through Nov. 5 with shows at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays-Saturdays as well as Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets run from $32 to $47 with discounts available for students and seniors.

In addition to that production, the playhouse will present its classic Halloween performances featuring Ichabod Crane and the infamous Headless Horseman. Yes, it’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” for the Miners Alley Children’s Theater on Saturdays with performances at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. from now through Nov. 4. Those will also be at the regular Miners Playhouse location and tickets for them run $12 for adults and children.

You can find out a lot more information about these productions, order tickets as well as check out the new Performing Arts Center by visiting

So, put that stuff on your fall calendar. Then, if you haven’t already done so, get your own Halloween decorations up and running. It doesn’t take much. Just stuff some old clothes with newspaper, add a pair of boots, stick a wig on a soccer ball and add that face down on top with some hedge clippers stuck in the back. Put it under the bushes. Just remember to take it down before Christmas. Trust me on that one!

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multimedia production. He can be reached at

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