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Haunted Houses, Parks, Ships, Even a Haunted Bank

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My high school drama club participated in our local haunted house, and we were merciless. One woman had to be taken away in an ambulance after an actor concealed in a hole in the ground grabbed her foot. So these things really freak me out. I don't believe in zombies and monsters, but I do believe in unpredictable aspiring actors.

THE BIG ONES:

Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights looked so intense I turned down an offer to attend their opening night for free. Four themed mazes, the Terror Tram, and Hillbilly Freaks that randomly jump out at you and make you totally lose your shit. 7pm every Fri and Sat night this month, plus Oct 28th and 31st. Not recommended for children under 13. Prices vary per night $39. - $51.

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As if the rides at Magic Mountain weren't scary enough, Six Flags Fright Fest provides the usual mazes and roaming zombies. Then to mix things up, they add the "Wheel of Fright" a la Fear Factor where you can spin to eat a cockroach, worm, or something equally horrible to get to the front of the line. Maybe I'd eat a bug for a million dollars, but for the front of the line? Or you can lie in the "Coffin of Fear" and get covered with mealworms to win a prize. Probably the coolest thing is that they run Colossus backwards. Also, their website has a defacer you can use to monster-makeover any uploaded photo. Fri. Sat and Sundays, plus Oct 29th and 31st. Unlike the other parks, which stay open til midnight and 1am, it looks like Magic Mountain closes at 10pm and it is not a separate admission. $59.99 (Pre-sale $29.99)

(More Haunted House Listings after the jump!)

The Queen Mary's Shipwreck: 13th Annual Halloween Terrorfest transforms the ship with mazes, live bands and dance parties. The maze is open 7pm - midnight Every Fri and Sat this month, plus the 30 & 31st. Entry: $35 Parking: $15 Pre-purchasing from Ticketmaster is recommended, as they limit the number of guests each night.

Tonight is "Freak Friday" at Knott's Halloween Haunt with Butch Patrick, DJ Poorman, and some other semi-celebs (Go to Burger King and get a $10-off coupon for tonight). Their new Beowulf maze, freakshow, re-worked Log Ride o' Fear (OK, I made that name up), dolls, clowns, spiders, asylums, axe-murders, the creepy kid from the Grudge, and anything else you have ever been afraid of figure prominently. Costumed characters jump out and fuck with you, even in Camp Snoopy. It's so wrong. Wednesdays thru Saturdays starting at 7pm. $51. Pre-sale $46.

LA Live Steamers Railroad Museum in Griffith Park presents their Ghost Train 6:30pm - 10pm Fri, Sat and Sundays, then Oct 29, 30 and 31st. And we all know now that Griffith Park is cursed.

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The Northridge Fashion Center will be presenting The Haunt, with live bands, a Harvest Festival, and three haunted houses: Nightmare Factory, Extreme Madness and ZombieVille. It is the only haunted maze that advertises its wheelchair accessability. Proceeds will benefit the Special Olympics. 7pm October 12-15th, 19-22nd, 26-31st.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA HAUNTS
Most of these houses are a little farther away, but look pretty scary. I have to give kudos to the author of the backstories. Make sure to read the "history" before you go; each one is so detailed and believable:

Spookyhouse in Chatsworth manages to make orange groves and children's parties scary. Open Fri, Sat, Sundays the every night from the 24th thru 31st. $20. Children's less-scary matinees available.

Old Town Haunts in Pasadena takes place in and under an old bank building. Tales of hidden catacombs and the ghosts of bank robbers are hardly neccessary when they have scored such a creepy location. $13.50 Children's matinee available.

"The Fearplex" in Pomonafeatures a familiar theme - The Mangler's Haunted Asylum. What's with all the asylums? I guess it's more fun to play an out-of-control madman than a simpering ghost. They also have some lucky locations here, with old cement tunnels and the sheer remoteness of the area. Fridays and Saturdays, plus the 28th, 30th and 31st. $12.50

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Seaside Haunt at the Ventura County Fairgrounds has a more original theme with a haunted, burning lighthouse. Ghostly sailors have scared me ever since I read Tales from the Crypt comics. Too bad they couldn't do it at Point Fermin. That would be really creepy. 7pm Fri, Sat and Sundays, then every night the 25th thru 31st. $13.50

NEIGHBORHOOD HAUNTED HOUSES:

Thousand Oaks' Reign of Terror is created by a truly serious hobbyist with the help of friends and neighbors. A more traditional house with a spooky Victorian parlour, electric chair, bodies and skeletons. Less chainsaw murderers in your face. 7pm-10pm Oct 27, 28, 29, and 31st. Donations appreciated.

Satan's Chop Shop in Hawthorne was created by special effects guys out to get a little gory. 7pm-11pm Oct 27, 18, and 31st.

Malice in Wonderland in Burbank may have the theme that will finally get me back into a haunted house as a victim instead of a crew member. Although previous years show the usual butcher shop - graveyard stuff. started by one family, Rotten Apple pays for their own overhead, and all donations are given directly to charity. 7pm-10pm Oct 27, 28, and 31st

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Here are some more to check out.

CANCELLED OR UNCERTAIN:

The 13th Annual Haunted Maze in Buena Park was a result of the joining together of a group of smaller, family-run haunted houses. Featuring a maze, death row, execution chamber, butcher shop and clown room. Oct 27, 28, 29, 31st. (Their website has not been updated since 2005, and their Myspace has not been checked since Dec 2006. If anyone knows if they are open this year, let us know.

The Whitecliff Road Haunted Manor, a small family-run attraction in Thousand Oaks, will NOT be holding their annual haunted tunnel this year.

The Haunted Shackin Torrance will not be open for 2007.

Scare the Children in Studio City, a graveyard scene, is on hiatus while looking for a new home.