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SPOOKY SPOTLIGHT

The Houston Press guide to all things Halloween

Don't look now, but that noise behind you is growing louder -- and closer. It's the season to jump at every shadow and run from every black cat. You can drown your fears in drink or amuse yourself by scaring the naive around you. Whether you want to dress like a slut or take the kids for some treats, we have an event for you. -- Melissa Richter

ONGOING

3D Haunted Houses

2720 Southwest Freeway, 713-218-8019, www.3dhauntedhouses.com

3D Clown Terror and 3D Monster Madness. These childhood fears cause grown-up-size scares. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through October 25, then daily through October 31. $12 for one person; $20 for two.

Boo on the Boardwalk

Kemah Boardwalk Halloween Festival, Kemah, 281-334-9880, www.kemahboardwalk.com

Visit Kemah any day in October to celebrate the spooky season with activities for the whole family such as trick- or-treating and pumpkin decorating. Halloween costume contests take place on October 21 and 28, with prizes for the top 10 best-dressed kids. Free, times vary.

Discover Houston Tours Ghost Walks

713-222-9255, www.discoverhoustontours.com

Get into the Halloween spirit on this leisurely two-mile stroll and MetroRail ride featuring urban legends and true tales of deceased Houstonians. Look for "ghost" signs on old buildings and learn the trials and tribulations of the Allens, Houston's founding family. 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. October 13, 14, 21, 27 and 28. $20; advance reservations required.

The G.R.A.B.

809 Pierce, 713-655-0707

Join in the fun at the 3rd annual GRAB Halloween Bash. Halloween-themed parties every weekend in October. Come dressed to dance and party. Spooky specials and frantic fun all month long. Costume contest Saturday, October 28. No cover.

ScreamWorld

2225 North Sam Houston Pkwy. 713-914-1313

Now open, rain or shine, though October 31. Attractions include three haunted houses and the Maze of Maniacs. Open 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Open 7 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. General admission $18 for all three attractions. Sunday is family night, with $3 off general admission.

Fear Haunted Houses

2720 Southwest Freeway (between Kirby & Buffalo Speedway) and

402 Northwest Mall (290/610 @ W. 18th St.), 713-864-FEAR, www.fearhouston.com

Houston's Best Haunted Houses! This year featuring four haunts. At Northwest Mall, visit the "Northwest Morton Manor" and "The Knacker's Yard" - a real butcher's shop. At the Kirby location, check out the "Carn-Evil-3D Freaks & Clowns" and "The Passages of Death." Open Fridays through Sundays through October 15; Thursdays through Sundays through October 19, and October 25 through Halloween.

Nightmare on the Bayou

1515 Studemont, 713-868-3344, www.nightmareonthebayou.com

Nightmare on the Bayou is Houston's only haunted house that is really

haunted. If you don't believe us, just ask the workers. The Bayou includes four haunted attractions. Open rain or shine. Price for all four haunts $20; two haunts $15; children under 48 inches $18; VIP tickets $30, includes front-of-the-line access and free parking; Sunday and Thursday specials, $15 for all four haunts. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. every day. Open as long as the crowds keep coming.

Phobia Haunted Houses

18777 Highway 290, exit West Road between Beltway 8 & FM 1960, 713-526-DEAD, www.darke.com

Operating since 1996, Phobia has earned the reputation as the scariest, most high-tech thrill in Houston. Phobia operates five separate haunted attractions at one killer location, including: The Darke Institute, where no one can see you scream in the dark; Asylum, the mental hospital where patients rule; 3D Clown Phobia, the visually stimulating clown haunted house; Simon Fowler Woods, where you can stroll the path of the 290 killer; and Claustrophobia, where floors twist and tilt. Tours start at 8 p.m. Prices start at $12 for one attraction; $20 for two; $30 for three; $35 for four; and $40 for all five attractions. Discounts available at darke.com.

Rainforest Café

53rd and Seawall, on the grounds of The San Louis Resort, Galveston Island, 409-744-6000

River of Doom Haunted Ride. During the Halloween season, this ride is transformed into the scariest haunted house on the water, where ghosts and goblins await adventurous visitors. This interactive ride aboard a six-person raft offers a chilling Halloween journey, with frightening surprises, skeletons and screams. You never know what waits in the fog around the next turn. 4 p.m. to close Mondays through Friday; noon to close Saturdays and Sundays. $8.

Houston Zoo

1513 N. MacGregor, 713-533-6500, www.houstonzoo.org

Houston's largest Halloween celebration returns when the Houston Zoo presents Zoo Boo during two great weekends in October. Enjoy safe Halloween trick-or-treating fun with a "naturally wild" twist. From noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, October 21, 22, 28 and 29.

FRIDAY,

OCTOBER 27

Armand Bayou Nature Center

8500 Bay Area Blvd., Pasadena, 281-474-2551

A family-oriented Halloween alternative. Guided night hikes through the woods with talking animals, storytelling, face painting, hayrides, a barn show and more. Advance reservations required. Members $8; non-members $10. Two and under free. 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Houston Museum of Natural Science

One Herman Circle Drive, 713-639-4629, www.hmns.org

For a real fright this Halloween, skip the haunted houses and party under the truly terrifying jaws of vicious prehistoric carnivores. Houstonians can do the monster mash with mummies under the watchful eye of the T Rex at the Spirits and Skeletons Bash from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., with live music from the Fab 5. Come in costume and dare to stroll by an Edmontosaurus with its razor sharp teeth in the Hall of Paleontology as you make your way to the cash bar and enjoy free appetizers (insert evil laughter). Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for Museum members, and include an IMAX¨ movie. No identification is required.

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