Houston Haunted Houses

Houston’s haunted houses have come a long way from the neighborhood community center’s bowl of cold pasta labeled “Witch Guts.” Now in its seventh year, ScreamWorld, the ever-expanding scream park (their pun, not ours), boasts five separate attractions at its location in North Houston, including the elaborate “Haunted Hotel,” the Shining-inspired “Maze of Maniacs” and new addition “The Tobias Strange Family Cemetery” (which we’re guessing consists of more than just tombstones and wreaths).

And ScreamWorld is just the tip of Houston’s professional-grade haunted house iceberg; Phobia boasts a somewhat irreverent approach to fright (sample attraction: “3D Clown Phobia”), while Nightmare on the Bayou, located “directly next to Houston’s oldest graveyard,” claims to be legitimately haunted. And if you’re having trouble this Halloween deciding between going to a haunted house or a strip club, you’re in luck: the 18-and-up Haunt XXX (co-sponsored by Rick’s Cabaret and Carmen’s Boutique) attempts to combine the two worlds into something that is, to say the least, rather unorthodox. Things have certainly come a long way from mislabeled tubs of spaghetti.

ScreamWorld opens at 7:30 p.m. today, October 25, October 28 to 30, 8 p.m. October 26 and 27. 2225 North Sam Houston Parkway West. For information, call 713-914-1313 or visit www.screamworld.com. $22 to $30. Phobia opens at 7 p.m. today, 8 p.m. October 25 and 26, 7 p.m. October 27 to 30. 18777 Highway 290. For information, call 713-526-DEAD or visit www.darke.com. $12 to $40. Nightmare on the Bayou opens 7 p.m. daily. 1515 Studemont. For information, call 713-868-3344 or visit www.nightmareonthebayou.com. $25 to $35. Haunt XXX opens 9 p.m. today and October 25 to October 28. 2720 Southwest Freeway. For information, call 713-291-2923 or visit www.hauntxxx.com. $25 to $35.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; Thursdays, Sundays, 7:30-10 p.m.; Mon., Oct. 29, 7:30-10 p.m.; Wed., Oct. 31, 7:30-10 p.m.; Nov. 2-3, 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Starts: Sept. 21. Continues through Oct. 28, 2007

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