One of the activities we talked about doing in my goth meetup group was going on a tour of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA. I remember last going there years ago, probably when my son was around six or seven; adults paid about $13 each, children were less, and we could roam around the house on our own. They had guided tours as well, but it was more fun just to wander randomly through, and there were signs in most of the rooms that gave information about various aspects of the house and related incidents that occurred while Mrs. Winchester was living there. However, when I checked their website last week, the only tours they offer now are guided, wandering is no longer allowed, and the basic mansion tour is $33 per person. Like so many other forms of entertainment offered these days, this is NOT affordable for many in our group, including yours truly. :-(
After snarling about this for awhile, I decided our group needed to come up with some fun yet inexpensive events. Using events already scheduled and then picking my own brain, here is a list I've come up with of some goth-type activities that are accessible to most budgets:
1. Have a cemetery picnic. Admission is free, you don't have to make reservations, and most cemeteries are open from dawn to dusk, so this can be a fairly spontaneous activity with minimal planning required. As long as you're respectful of both the graves and other visitors, you shouldn't have any problems. We've got one scheduled in September at a cemetery that actually has picnic tables.
2. Movie nights are fun, especially when the movies are handpicked for the audience! Gather at someone's house for a double feature of horror and/or campy fun, like Bruce Campbell's "Bubba Ho-tep" and "Alien Apocalypse", or "Bram Stoker's Dracula" followed by "The Crow". Serve M&Ms, popcorn and sodas, or if you're in a more down-home, baking mood, how about some bat-shaped chocolate cookies served with red-dyed milk? ;-)
3. Go clubbing as a group. Most goth clubs (at least in my area) are actually pretty inexpensive, with covers anywhere from $3-$9 per person, depending on the place. Get there early for the cheaper cover charge if they offer one, stay away from the expensive drinks, and you can have a really good time for very little cash. Carpool if you can, and split any bridge tolls between the passengers; this will save even more. (And if you go to Death Guild in San Francisco, bringing a dead, stuffed squirrel will get you in for free!)
4. Do you have any Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivals in October or November in your area? If so, they are perfect for goths! An entire festival of music, dancing, special foods and goodies for sale that center around death and remembering one's ancestors is just our cup of tea! Most of them have no admission fee, as they are usually outdoor street festivals. Of course, the food, drink and goodies aren't given away, but if you can't or don't want to spend, you can always bring your own.
5. Have a Goth Glamour Party. I got talked into hosting a Mary Kay glamour party, and decided to invite my goth friends and gear it to our own special needs and interests. We'll be dressing (of course!) in black, and I'll decorate with a gothic theme and figure out appropriate refreshments (like those chocolate bat cookies). I'll also talk to my MK rep about using darker, cool colors for everyone rather than warm or neutral colors. And afterwards, if everyone's schedule allows, maybe we'll go somewhere to show ourselves off!
6. Is there stuff you'd like to create or customize but aren't sure how? Organize a DIY craft day (or night)! You can either choose something that everyone wants to do/make, or have each person bring something they're working on or would like to do. People can share ideas, give advice, and/or teach others how to do something. Put on some great music, have each person bring a snack and their own drink, and you're set.
Okay, now I'd love to hear YOUR suggestions!