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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Get a Jump on Halloween

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Halloween is still a couple of weeks away, but we suggest you get a head start on all of the spooky, scary, scream-worthy happenings this weekend. Be sure to check out our Halloween Guide. It's packed with info on haunted houses, pub crawls, ghost tours and family fun events.

On Friday, we suggest a visit to Nightmare on the Bayou. (If you've ever wondered what causes all those traffic jams on I-10 and Studemont, Nightmare on the Bayou is why.) It's a ridiculously scary haunted house located right next to an old graveyard and is known as Houston's only actual haunted house. As in, this place is known to have some real spirits lurking about, along with those freaky actors. Lines wrap around the building as Halloween inches closer, which means you should probably check it out this weekend. Just watch out for the ice-cold hands; it'll be hard to tell whether the thing that grabbed you is still rocking a steady heartbeat or lacking a pulse. Either way, it's a guarantee that you'll be shaking in your boots for days after a visit to this haunted house.

7:30 to 11 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until October 26; , 7:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. daily from October 27 until November 1. 1515 Studemont. For information, visit nightmareonthebayou.com. $20 to $40.

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Looking for a proper ghost tour this Halloween season? Well, you're in luck. Galveston's haunted history is brought to life daily, including Saturdays, by the nationally recognized paranormal expert Dash Beardsley and his able assistants on the Original Ghost Tour on The Strand. (Beardsley leads the tour on October 25 and November 1) The tour includes a stop at The Tremont House -- the very haunted sister property to the Hotel Galvez -- and offers a Secret Society Cemetery Tour, Restless Spirits Tour and Jack the Ripper Mystery Island Tour for ghost enthusiasts. No matter the theme, there's bound to be a tour on The Strand that'll suit your ghost-lovin' fancy.

8 p.m. daily. For information, visit ghosttoursofgalvestonisland.com. $20.

Should you want to purposely find yourself lost in a maze of bloody chainsaws, brain-swilling zombies and whatever other terrifying images you can conjure up, you can always head to Phobia, Houston's mega-­screampark, open every weekend through Halloween including this Saturday. This place is three bone-chilling attractions in one, and while you can opt to dare yourself into all three, we suggest you take it slow. Phobia is not for the faint of heart.

Phobia is open 8 to 12 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 8 to 10 p.m. Sunday. Extended hours October 23 to November 1. 18777 Hwy. 290. For information, visit darke.com. $15 to $40.

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One of the coolest things about Galveston is the island's haunted history. Those spine-chilling anecdotes about the historical area's hauntings are what makes Galveston the perfect Halloween destination. And when it comes to spirits, Hotel Galvez knows a thing or two (it's been featured on the Discovery Channel's Ghost Lab and Travel Channel's Ghost Stories). The hotel hosts annual Ghosts of the Galvez tours, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. On the hour-long tour, the Hotel Galvez concierge guides guests through the historic hotel detailing each known ghost sighting (watch out for the hotel's Ghost Bride) and paranormal occurrence. Participants are encouraged to bring any spirit-hunting gear along on the tour. The full package includes a ghost tour, dinner and a deluxe guest room. Opt for the Halloween Night Ghost package which includes an especially spooky tour, a copy of How to Hunt Ghosts - A Practical Guide, a ghost meter, dinner and a deluxe guest room. Don't blame us if you can't sleep. You've had fair warning about the chilling visitors that hang around those parts.

Ghosts of the Galvez tours start at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Through October 31. Hotel Galvez 2024 Seawall, Galveston. For information, call 409-765-7721 or visit wyndham.com. $229 to $349.

Olivia Flores Alvarez contributed to this post.

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