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Published: Wednesday, 10/6/2010

Houses that go ‘Boo!' in the night

BY ROD LOCKWOOD
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Boo!

OK, that's not really scary, is it?

What you're most likely in the mood for this time of year are things that go bump in the night. And bloody, ghoulish, macabre creatures that wait behind doors in dark, foggy places where tortured shrieks and screaming are pervasive and all around.

You know, a haunted house.

Except, of course, the screams are those of your friends getting scared senseless, not by anything real. And the “creatures” are actors paid to jump out, give you a good fright, then slip back under cover so they can scare the folks following behind you.

It's Halloween and that means one of human nature's weirder contradictions gets exercised: We like to play around with the idea of being scared as long as we're never really in danger.

“The haunted house is such a big part of popular culture, not only at festivals and fairs but more importantly around Halloween,” said Matt Donahue, a professor of pop culture at Bowling Green State University. “It's a cool opportunity for folks to suspend disbelief and have fun and play upon their fears.”

But why?

Donahue believes it has to do with the fact that daily life is just not scary for the most part.

“Life can be pretty mundane and boring, and the opportunity to have that moment of fear and exhilaration is something a little different from the daily routine,” he said.

Plus, the ritualistic aspect of the whole thing is fun: waiting in line with your friends on a cool fall night, thinking about what might happen in some place called Terror Town or the House of the Dead, seeing iconic images from horror movies you enjoyed, having a good scream, and then leaving and talking about how fun it was.

With that in mind, here's a rundown of some area haunted houses open now until the end of the month:

• HalloWeekends at Cedar Point in Sandusky. Four indoor haunted houses, five outdoor scare zones, kids' areas and other park attractions. Hours 6 p.m. to midnight, Fridays; noon to midnight, Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 10; noon to 9 p.m. other Sundays. Open until Oct. 31. Cost: $45.99 for all-day passes Saturdays and Sundays; $34.99 on Saturdays after 5 p.m.; $29.99 on Fridays and Sundays after 5 p.m.; $19.99 for one-day passes for senior citizens and anyone under 4-foot. Children 2 and younger are free. Information: 419-627-2350 or halloweekends.com.

• Ghostly Manor Thrill Center, 3319 Milan Rd., Sandusky. Two indoor haunted houses and 3-D simulated motion ride. Hours: 7 p.m. to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays; 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sundays. Cost: $11 for adults and $7 for children under 10 for each haunted house, or $17 for adults and $13 for children for a combo ticket to both attractions. Information: 419-626-4467 or ghostlymanor.com.

• Haunted Hydro Dark Attraction Park, 1333 Tiffin St., Fremont. Two haunted houses. Hours: 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 31; and 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Oct. 28. Cost: $11 per haunted house, $16 for a combo deal. Friendly Monster matinees on Sundays (includes a lights-on tour of the houses) $8 for an adult, includes a free ticket for a child between the ages of 2 and 10, and $5 for each additional person. Information: 419-332-7380 or thehauntedhydro.com.

• The Haunting at Lenawee County Fairgrounds, 602 North Dean St., Adrian. Two indoor haunted attractions and a paranormal magic show by Stuart MacDonald. Hours: 7 p.m. to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays; 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays; 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 26-28. Cost: $20 for a combo pack that includes both houses, the paranormal magic show and a free concession; $12.50 for both houses; $5 for the paranormal magic show only. Information: 517-264-1941 or myhaunting.com.

• Leaders Family Farms, one mile west of Napoleon, south off State Route 24 on Township/County Road 16 in Henry County. ScreamAcres haunted cornfield and PanDEMONium Project. Hours: Both open at dark Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Oct. 31; close 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 9 p.m. Sundays. Cost: $12 for ScreamAcres and $16 for ScreamAcres and PanDEMONium. Information: leadersfarms.com.

• TerrorTown at the Lucas County Fairgrounds, 1406 Key St., Maumee. Two attractions — House of the Dead and the Black Hole — with live music from a KISS tribute band Oct. 22 and 23 and an Alice Cooper tribute band Oct. 29 and 30. Hours: 8 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays; 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays; 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 21 and 28. Cost: $17 adults, $10 children 10 and younger. Information: terrortown.net.

• Train of Terror and Haunted Engine House, 11600 County Road 99, Findlay. Haunted house and train ride. Hours 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays until Oct. 30. Recommended for teens and adults only. Cost $7 for both attractions. Information: 419-721-1175 or nworrp.org.

Contact Rod Lockwood at rlockwood@theblade.com or 419-724-6159.



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