Halloween may be a week or so away, but the spooky season has already started in Santa Barbara. Plus, there are so many options that it’s absolutely -- scary.

'Boo at the Zoo'

The Santa Barbara Zoo transforms into a trick-or-treat wonderland for “Boo at the Zoo,” a safe, traffic-free, three-night event. This popular Halloween activity is perfect for little ghouls and boys, and not too scary, except for the Scare Zone (recommended for ages 10 and over).

More than 70 characters are professionally costumed and made up, including stilt walkers and aerialists, and populate spooky vignettes, including a haunted cemetery, country carnival, mining camp and princess pavilion. Over 20 treat tables are hosted by community partners and the zoo’s hilltop features mazes and games, a dance party with live DJ, creepy crawly encounters and more. The Zoo Choo Choo train (separate ticket) travels to Neverland, where pirates and Captain Hook await.

Hours vary Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, so check the website for details. Buy tickets online to avoid lines at entry. Adults are $17, kids aged 2 to 12 are $11. (962-5339, www.sbzoo.org)

Feed your senses

On Sunday afternoon, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is dedicated to an exploration of art through the five senses in a free “Sensory Studio” from 1 to 4 p.m. Inspired by the exhibition “Valeska Soares: Any Moment Now,” there are a number of playful yet artistic sensory activities.

Watch impromptu dances inspired by Soares’ work “Tonight” and look deeper into the art during Docent Talks at 1, 1:30 and 2 p.m. Hear a soulful sax played on the front steps and retro romantic stylings in the back plaza. Make hands-on watercolors and photo collages. Sip samples of botanical blends of spice, flower and fruit at the Botanical Juice Bar. Match a scent to a personal experience and join the Art and Olefactory Society. (963-4364, www.sbma.net)

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Centennial concert

As part of the Santa Barbara Public Library’s yearlong celebration of its 100th birthday, the Santa Barbara Music Club presents a free concert Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Library’s Faulkner Gallery. The focus is American music spanning the past 100 years, with a special nod to ragtime, including piano works by Scott Joplin and several modern-day American composers who have been inspired by him. Also performed are Leonard Bernstein’s ebullient Overture to “Candide” arranged for two pianos, and Aaron Copland’s “Duo” for flute and piano. (www.sbmusicclub.org)

Oldies but goodies

Some of Santa Barbara’s best professional musicians and singers are featured in Saturday’s concert “With a Song in My Heart II” at 1 p.m. at the Marjorie Luke Theatre (in Santa Barbara Junior High School). This benefit for the Center for Successful Aging is an encore of a similar show last April, but with a new set of classic songs from the 1940s and '50s. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for kids, all general admission. (800-838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com)

Julia McHugh can be reached at southon101column@yahoo.com.

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