Since the day he was hired as music director, Robert Moody has lobbied the Portland Symphony Orchestra to create a fun, family-friendly music program.

He gets his wish on Sunday, when the PSO presents a Halloween-themed “Symphony Spooktacular” at 2:30 p.m. at Merrill Auditorium in Portland.

Moody hopes children and adults show up in costumes. They won’t be alone if they do: All musicians will be dressed up, including Moody himself, who will lead the orchestra as Count Dracula.

Music will range from Gounod’s “Funeral March of a Marionette” to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” On the latter number, dancers from Portland Ballet will lead the audience in zombie dancing.

Sunday’s show is part of the orchestra’s Discovery series, designed to introduce new fans to orchestral music.

“I’ve been campaigning for this concert, and this concert series, since the day I was hired,” Moody wrote in an e-mail. “Reaching the young (and the young at heart) with exciting Discovery programs is a key area of outreach that we have yet explored. Now is the time.

“Live concerts for the kids and their families are fun. They engender incredible excitement about the live music experience. Youngsters come to these concerts and then begin to choose to play an instrument themselves. And they become both the musicians and the audience of the future.”

The orchestra has kept this concert affordable to encourage the best possible attendance. Tickets cost $10, or $6 for groups of 10 or more.

As Count Dracula, Moody will lead a tour of the orchestra. One hour before the concert begins, the Merrill lobby will be open with all sorts of activities, including a musical petting zoo where children can play various orchestra instruments, a 10-minute conducting lesson by Moody and a “Thriller” dance primer led by Portland Ballet.

There will also be face painting, coloring and other activities. The orchestra will host costume contests for the kids in the audience and the adults in the orchestra on stage.

“People can expect all sorts of Halloween craziness,” Moody wrote, “with some fairly incredible music as well.”

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

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Twitter: pphbkeyes