The Annual Haunted House Guide Speak No Evil -- Live It!

by Julie Weaver I don't just like Halloween, Ilove Halloween. For a variety of reasons, yes, but one being the fact that it's the one day of the year that no one looks at me side- ways because of the way I dress - everyone looks like a freak. But people, I've noticed a disturbing trend the last couple of years - you're not dressing up! I mean, really - my boyfriend and I were the only ones in costume at the haunted house I went to last year. What is up with that? Have you lost your creativity, your spontaneity, your childhood abandon? Well, if you're going to act like the walking dead, at least dress up like it. Besides, don't you realize that if you put on your spookiest "do" that you can scare all those haunted house workers right back? It's fun, believe me. Look, we've got some great choices of haunted abodes this year; so now's your chance. Get out there and be scared and be scary! At least put on some grease paint, please?!

CACTUS JACK'S TRAIL OF FRIGHT HAYRIDE, 13233 Hwy71 W., 8 mi. from the "Y" at Oak Hill. The hayrides run October 20-22 & 27-31, running continuously from dusk to 11pm. Rates are $6 per person ($5 per person for groups of five or more). Call 263-2388 for more information.

GRUSEUM, Westgate Mall, W. Ben White &
S. Lamar.
Sponsored by the Austin Children's museum, the Gruseum is a "not-too-scary fun house" for kids ages three to eight. Gruseum goers will be able to stroll down "Treat" street and tour zany houses. The end of the tour includes the "Fun Room" where kids can make and take fun Halloween crafts, enjoy face painting, and more. The fun house is open October 20-22 and 27-29. Hours are Fridays,
4-8pm; Saturdays, noon-8pm; and Sundays, noon-5pm. Cost is $3 per person. Call 472-2499 for more information.

HAUNTED HAYRIDES, Rolling Oaks Mall, 1604 Nacogdoches, in San Antonio. If you want to get out of town for the holiday, Haunted Hayrides is a great annual stand-by. Beginning at dark, ghosts and goblins pop out at hayriders at every turn, as well as plenty of other spooky surprises. Reservations are necessary, and tickets are $9.95 for adults; $5.95 ages 5-12; and free for ages 4 and under (snacks are included in the ticket price). Call 210/651-5666 for reservations.

NIGHTMARE FACTORY, 2101 W. Ben White. Back for yet another year, NF is becoming an annual tradition here in Austin. Central Texas' largest haunted house, the factory features almost 6,000 square feet of dark mazes, horrifying monsters, and cutting-edge special effects, all to the cataclysmic background of a digitally mastered, custom soundtrack. Over a half-a-dozen new scenes have been added since last year's production, and they've even included a gruesome graveyard using a collection of tombstones from the films Texas Chainsaw Massacre and My Boyfriend's Back. The house is open every night, now through October 31, 7:30pm-midnight. Admission is $7 (Sundays are family nights w/admission at $4). Discounts are at Half Price Books and DoubleDave's Pizza. Call 445-FEAR for more information. To get a sneak peak of the house, check out NF's Web Page at http://www.io.com/~nightime/

PIONEER FARM, 11418 Sprinkle Cut-Off Rd. A wonderful Austin treat for the kids (and adults alike, for that matter), the farm will present its annual holiday shenanigans for three nights only. Participants can explore a dark haunted barn, jump on a hayride where you can see the spirits of lost cowboys ascending from "boot hill," and witness a driverless stagecoach attempting to escape a band of ghost robbers. Scary stories and a mad scientist show are also a highlight. A variety of snacks will be featured. Admission is $4 adults, $2 children 3-12. All proceeds benefit ongoing projects at Pioneer Farm, and with the latest cut-backs in city funding, they could really use our support! Oct 27-28 & 31, dark-9:30pm. Call 837-1215 for more information.

SCREAM IN THE DARK, Ol' Burnet Opry House, on the Square in Burnet, TX, 512/756-2217. You'll have to drive a bit, but this one sounds worth it. With over 30 years of experience in the fine art of horror, creators Robin & Helen Stevens have put the finishing touches on this special haunted house and are ready for guests. The venue features 17 rooms of interactive terror, including a forest of ghosts, a graveyard where nothing stays buried, a morgue filled with bodies that won't let you out, and Earthquake Tunnel that spins you around, a spaceship filled with aliens, and much more. The house runs October 21, 1-3pm & 6:30-9:30pm; Oct 22,
1-3pm; Oct 27-31, 6:30-9:30pm (on Oct 28 & 29, the house is also open from 1-3pm). Tickets are $6 adults, $4 seniors and children under 12, with $2 discount coupons available at many Hill Country businesses in and around Burnet. Call 512/756-2217 for more information.

WELLS BRANCH HOMESTEAD, 2106 Klattenhoff. The Homestead is putting on a Halloween Haunted House and Trick or Treat Trail, and all are invited. The event will be held Tue, October 31, from 5:30-8:30pm, so get the kiddies dressed up early! No phone number was given, so just show up in your finest spooky digs. n

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