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Houston Haunts: The 2013 Houston Halloween Guide

All the events of the spookiest season of the year.

This year, Halloween falls into the awkward category of the almost-weekend, but you can make it work with help from some of your local museums, restaurants, parks and bars. Whether you're going for the tried-and-true classics like zombies, vampires and superheroes; doing your best Miley at the VMAs; or bringing Bryan Cranston's Walt from Breaking Bad back to life, one of these events is sure to fit your needs.

THROUGH OCTOBER

Children's Museum of Houston

1500 Binz, 713-522-1138

www.cmhouston.org

From October 12 through 31, the Children's Museum will be transformed by its newest residents — monsters. They will set up lairs, roam the halls and happily greet visiting children. The experience will include a number of activities, such as the opportunity to trick-or-treat every day, examine monsters' slime deposits in the Crazed Chemist Lab, play mix and match with monsters' expressions, and paint pumpkins, among other things. On Halloween itself, children will get to party with a DJ during Moe's Monster Mash Bash.

Haunted Trails and Nature's Nightmare

11500 Antoine Dr., 1734 N. Sam Houston Parkway, 713-618-3323

www.thehauntedtrails.com

Every weekend in October, as well as on the two Thursdays leading up to Halloween and all of Halloween week, thrill-seekers can experience the pleasure of facing their nightmares by visiting one of two locations, Haunted Trails or the more recently opened Nature's Nightmare, where they will roam through constantly changing trails in a deep, dark forest worthy of any horror movie. Keep in mind that the events are all outdoors, so weather problems can lead to cancellation. General admission for each attraction is $17, a speed pass may be obtained for $23 and the VIP survival package costs $35. There are also package deals available for those who wish to visit both attractions. The fun begins at 8 p.m. and ends at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and at approximately 10:30 p.m. on other days, excluding Halloween, when the attractions will be open until 11 p.m.

The Health Museum

1515 Hermann Dr., John P. McGovern Building, 713-521-1515

www.thehealthmuseum.org/skeletons

From October 1 through November 3, The Health Museum will host its fifth annual Siege of the Skeletons, an art project that exhibits contributions from across the Houston community. This year's theme for the papier-mâché skeleton display is "Super Skeletons," a very broad topic that allows for skeletons to be superheroes, super scary or super silly, so there should be quite a variety this time around. Visitors will vote for the skeleton to be awarded the Visitor's Choice Award, and judges will select winners from each of the school levels as well as from the open category. All winners will receive a $50 gift certificate and a membership or guest pass to the Health Museum. The hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Houston Haunted Houses

1500 Elton St., 713-946-2266

www.houstonhauntedhouses.com

For the 15th year in a row, Houston Haunted Houses is open to provide chills and thrills to its visitors with six haunted houses — the Castle of Doom, La Casa de la Llorona, Industrial Nightmare, The Graveyard, the Texas Chainsaw Maze and the Sanitarium, all of which boast movie-worthy monsters. In fact, the new La Casa de la Llorona ties into the legend employed in the soon-to-premiere horror film Her Cry, and the stars of the film will be on location on October 11 to sign autographs. Other new attractions include the Paintball Zombie Shoot and the Scream Factory, both of which allow visitors to shoot at attacking monsters. Entertainment includes live concerts and stage shows, entry to Club Blood (for of-age visitors) and free vendor booth spaces. The fun takes place from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. except on Sundays, Thursdays and the night before Halloween, when the attractions close at 10:30 p.m., and Halloween, when the fun ends at midnight. Cost is $29.95 per person for general admission, which provides access to all attractions in the park, although an additional charge of $10 is required for the paintball-based attractions in order to rent the marker and balls; bringing your own paintball equipment is not permitted.

Houston Zoo

6200 Golf Course Dr., 713-533-6713

www.houstonzoo.org

Zoo Boo at the Houston Zoo is back this Halloween. Children can dress up in their favorite costume and show it off in the costume parade, paint a jack-o-lantern at the pumpkin patch, trick-or-treat at candy booths and enjoy music from a children's DJ. The event will be open on Saturdays and Sundays, October 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on October 11, 18 and 25. Special attractions will include the Tatzoo Parlor, where kids can get a temporary tattoo, the Monster Mural, where they can paint to their heart's content, the Candy Cave, where kiddies can feast their eyes (but no other body parts) on larger-than-life pieces of candy, the game stations at the Festival of Fun, and the Monster Mashquerade, where children can sing and dance around the Reflection Pool before joining in for the costume parade. Also included this year are the Zoo Boo Mystery Boxes, into which brave zoo visitors can place a hand while trying to guess what the box contains. All Zoo Boo activities are included with paid zoo admission. Zoo Boo is free for zoo members. Regular admission is $14 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and $10 for children ages two to 11. Children two and younger will be admitted at no cost.

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