In a bit of a scheduling shake-up due to Halloween falling on a Friday this year, savvy event planners have opted to spread the fun of everyone’s scariest holiday, and the ever-popular LGBT Pride Festival and Parade, over two consecutive weekends. Ghosts and goblins of all ages are cordially invited to one of the Palm Springs Valley’s largest free and family-friendly events on October 31 on Palm Springs’ Arenas Road. Entertainment starts at 6:30 p.m. and the always highly anticipated annual costume contest—hosted by valley icon Bella Da Ball—begins at 8:00 p.m. Cash and prizes will be awarded for the best of the best! And if history tells us anything, costumed party people will be roaming the desert the entire weekend.

As for the wee ones, they can start the dress-up a little early at the Rancho Mirage Library from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m., where they’ll be treated to entertainment and a costume parade! www.ranchomiragelibrary.org.

The following weekend is awash in all things rainbow-hued, with the annual Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival and Parade taking place from November 7 – 9. A multitude of events bring tens of thousands of LGBT revelers and their friends and families to the desert to celebrate pride and equality in a festive atmosphere. You’ll find pool parties, drag shows, ladies’ events, the 5K Run & Stride, tea dances, and for the first time, a free two-day multi-block Pride Festival in the heart of Palm Springs on Palm Canyon Drive, open to all!

Friday night offerings include the free Stonewall Equality Concert on Arenas, featuring Jeremiah Clark, and the LGBT Community Center of the Desert’s Center Stage fundraiser hosted by comedian Kate Clinton, with musical entertainment by the talented singing string quartet Well-Strung (www.thecenterps.org). One of the highlights of the weekend is the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Garden Party, held this year on Saturday afternoon at the midcentury modern former estate of actor William Holden (www.hrc.org). But few things compete with the most popular event of the weekend, the Greater Palm Springs Pride Parade, with thousands of participants—not to mention desert high school marching bands, local and national celebrity honorees, and enough feathers and flounce to put a smile on the most serious of parade-goers. This is a must-see! Speaking of which, I’ll see you on both of these weekends… Happy Halloween. Happy Pride.