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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.

Jimmie's Place

2803 White Oak, 713-861-9707

Live music with Big Jim's Wife for Halloween weekend.

Maria Selma Restaurant

1619 Richmond Ave., 713-528-4920

Join in the Halloween costume party from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. No cover all night long.

The Meridian

1503 Chartres, 713-225-1717, www.meridianhouston.com

Live music with Pete Yorn.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28

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.

Beer Island

2631 White Oak, 713-862-4670

Costume contest with cash prizes. $100 for first place and $50 for second.

Corkscrew's

1919 Washington Ave., 713-864-WINE

Hallo-Wine Party featuring Vampire Wines with costume contest, Seanse and DJ. Starts at 8 p.m.

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.

Fitzgerald's

2706 White Oak, 713-862-3838

Black Light Ball and costume contest with live music from 30 Foot Fall, Peelander-Z, The World's Most Dangerous Band and Last Few Days. 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. $10.

Jimmie's Place

2803 White Oak, 713-861-9707

Live music with Steven Reynolds and The Texas Two for Halloween weekend.

JP Hops House

2317 S. Highway 6, 281-496-0623

Annual Halloween party with live music from Shake Russell & the Spooks.

MECA

1900 Kane, 713-802-9370

Day of the Dead Festival. Día de los Muertos is a traditional Latin American holiday that honors and celebrates the lives of family and friends who have gone before us. A playful mockery of death and a reaffirmation of life are demonstrated through music, dance, theater and visual arts. Performances by Houston Balalaika Society, Gabriella "La Tempestad" and Del Espadín Baile Español, The Jive Sisters, Ambassadors International Folkloric Ballet, Second Generation Dance Company, Kuumba House Dance Theatre, Sirrom School of Dance (belly dancers), Michelle Brangwen Dance Ensemble, Vantress Tillman as Tina Turner, Cleola Williams, Colombian Folkloric Dance Troupe, Trio Guadalajara, Sister Sister, Lucy Salazar the female Elvis, Mariachi MECA and MECA Intermediate Mariachi, MECA Ballet Folklórico -- Adult and Youth Groups. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Commit for life by donating blood to the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Meridian

1503 Chartres, 713-225-1717, www.meridianhouston.com

Upsidedownhouse.com presents RENT's Halloween party.

Red Star

2606 Fannin, 713-665-7827, www.clubmonkey.com

This is Houston's best Halloween party, the 10th Annual Pimp & Prostitute Ball. Round up your bitches and grab yo' gold; it's time to be fly. Lost Boys will be playing live with multiple DJs spinning through the night. $4,000 costume contest with prizes going to Pimp of the Year, Classiest Ho and Best Overall. You must sign in by 10 p.m. to be part of the contest. Tickets $15 in advance; $20 at the door.

Rich's

2401 San Jacinto, 713-759-9606, www.richs-houston.com

Mausoleum tricks and treats with internationally acclaimed DJ Mark D from XM Satellite Radio 81. Anita Bump presents the costume contest upstairs, with loads of prizes and giveaways. Get your picture taken in a real coffin. $2 Hallow-weenies all night. No cover before 11 p.m.

Sherlock's Pub -- Westheimer

10001 Westheimer Rd., 713-977-1857

Two Halloween costume contests with cash prizes. No cover all night, with live music by Rat Ranch.

Sherlock's Pub -- West Gray

1997A West Gray, 713-521-1881

Costume contest with cash prizes. There will be two contests, with live music by the Stripperlie. No cover all night.

Sherlock's Pub -- Humble

228 West First St., 281-446-0407

Two Halloween contests with cash prizes. No cover all night, with music by September Sun.

South Beach

810 Pacific Ave., 713-529-SOBE, www.southbeachthenightclub.com

Pirates on Pacific Street, The Curse of Halloween outdoor street party and costume contests. DJ Brett Henrichsen of MasterBeat direct from Los Angeles. Advance tickets $15, including VIP line entrance. On sale at JR's, South Beach, MaleUWear, M2M Fashions and Hollywood. 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 29

MECA

1900 Kane, 713-802-9370

Day of the Dead Festival. Día de los Muertos is a traditional Latin American holiday that honors and celebrates the lives of family and friends who have gone before us. A playful mockery of death and a reaffirmation of life are demonstrated through music, dance, theater and visual arts. Performances by Houston Balalaika Society, Gabriella "La Tempestad" and Del Espadín Baile Español, The Jive Sisters, Ambassadors International Folkloric Ballet, Second Generation Dance Company, Kuumba House Dance Theatre, Sirrom School of Dance (belly dancers), Michelle Brangwen Dance Ensemble, Vantress Tillman as Tina Turner, Cleola Williams, Colombian Folkloric Dance Troupe, Trio Guadalajara, Sister Sister, Lucy Salazar the female Elvis, Mariachi MECA and MECA Intermediate Mariachi, MECA Ballet Folklórico -- Adult and Youth Groups. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Meridian

1503 Chartres, 713-225-1717, www.meridianhouston.com

Round Two of Bodog Music's Battle of the Bands.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 30

The Meridian

1503 Chartres, 713-225-1717, www.meridianhouston.com

Live music with Norma Jean, Between The Buried and Me, and Fear Before The

March Of Flames.

Sherlock's Pub -- Clear Lake

2416 Bay Area Blvd., 281-461-4702

Halloween costume contest with cash prizes. Two contests and no cover all night, with live music by Pirate Radio.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31

Baker Street Pub & Grill -- Rice Village

5510 Morningside, 713-942-9900

Halloween costume contest with cash prizes. No cover all night long.

Baker Street Pub & Grill -- Willowbrook

17278 Tomball Pkwy. 281-517-0828

No cover all night, with live music by A Rival. Participate in the costume contest and receive cash prizes.

Baker Street Pub & Grill -- Sugar Land

15970 City Walk St., Sugar Land, 281-494-0774

Party Halloween night to live music with Sophie Fire. Halloween costume contest with cash prizes and no cover all night long.

Cue and Cushion

510 Shepherd, 281-704-8001

Swing by this Halloween and enjoy free pool for anyone in costume; great happy hour specials. Best Pool Hall, Best of Houston®; 2006.

Dog House Tavern

2517 Bagby, 713-520-1118

Drink specials all night long including $2.75 pints, $2.75 wells and $2.25 domestic long necks.

El Matador Bar & Grill

12797 Westheimer, 281-759-9100

The pianist Rodney Raspberry hosts this Halloween event. Costume contest; the first-prize winners get fajitas for four; second place, fajitas for two. Starts at 8 p.m., with no cover all night long.

Sherlock's Pub -- Clear Lake

2416 Bay Area Blvd., 281-461-4702

Halloween costume contest with cash prizes. Two contests and no cover all night with live music by The Jack Tripper.

Sherlock's Pub -- Westheimer

10001 Westheimer Rd., 713-977-1857

Two Halloween costume contests with cash prizes. No cover all night with live music by Shinolah.

Sherlock's Pub -- West Gray

1997A West Gray, 713-521-1881

Costume contest with cash prizes. There will be two contests with live music by The Ruse. No cover all night.

Sherlock's Pub -- Humble

228 West First St., 281-446-0407

Two Halloween contests with cash prizes. No cover all night with music by Cross Check.

South Beach

810 Pacific Avenue, 713-529-SOBE, www.southbeachthenightclub.com

Pirates on Pacific Street, The Curse of Halloween outdoor street party and costume contests. DJ Brett Henrichsen of MasterBeat direct from Los Angeles. Advance tickets $15, including VIP line entrance. On sale at JR's, South Beach, MaleUWear, M2M Fashions and Hollywood. 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Watson's House of Ales

14656 Grisby Rd., 281-920-2929

No cover for our Halloween event.

COSTUMES AND DECORATIONS

Arne's

2830 Hicks St., 713-869-8321

From costumes to candy, you'll find everything for the celebration in this two-story warehouse.

Bedrock City Comic Co.

Multiple locations, 713-780-0675, www.bedrockcity.com

Annual Halloween sale with 20 to 50 percent off everything in all the stores. The greatest thing since sliced flesh. Friday, November 3, through Sunday, November 5.

Leather Forever

604 Westheimer, 713-526-6940

Tired of generic plastic costumes? Want to really stand out this year? Looking for the perfect leather accessory or adult novelty to add the finishing touch to your Halloween look? If you can't find what you're looking for in-store, they also do custom garments.

Nooky's Erotic Bakery

10140-C S. Highway 6, Sugar Land, 281-568-4800

If you can think it, Nooky's can create it. Halloween cakes and candies that are deliciously gory and graphic.

Party Boy

1515 Studemont, 713-861-9080

Make one stop for your Halloween fun and get costumes and decorations for your event.

Simply Irresistible Funwear

12260 Gulf Freeway, 713-944-3223

Choose from a large selection of sexy costumes and accessories.

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