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Go ahead, make a ghoul of yourself

Email|Print| Text size + By Richard P. Carpenter
Globe Correspondent / October 9, 2005

Let us all shiver, shake, shudder, shriek, and scream because the Halloween season is here. Yes, it's time to scare up some October offerings:

New England is filled with frights, which is why the New England Inns and Resorts Association has filled its website with Ghoulish Getaways. A sample: The Beal House Inn in Littleton, N.H., has a package that includes an overnight stay; entrance for two to a Haunted Maze; a ghost-themed dinner with gory soup with eyeballs (pumpkin soup with pearl onions), Adams Family leg of lamb, gutsy chocolate cake, and skewered meats and things; a bottle of wine; and a full breakfast. Rates start at $199 double occupancy plus tax and tip. The offer is available this month and next.

Visit www.newenglandinnsandresorts.com and look for the Ghoulish Getaway icon that will lead you to this and several other spirited offerings.

Love can be a frightening concept. Accordingly, the Don CeSar Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach, Fla., has come up with a Hauntingly Romantic Halloween Package starting at $559 for two nights. In addition to a deluxe room, lovers join in a ghostly historical tour, a book about mysterious times at the Don CeSar, and access to a secret meeting place on the beach with a blanket for two and a bottle of wine. The offer is available Oct. 10-Nov. 11.

Call 800-282-1116 or visit www.doncesar.com.

Salem's Haunted Happenings, Oct. 6-31, have become world famous, causing crowds to pour into the Witch City, especially when big events are taking place. So it may be wise to leave your car behind and take other transportation, such as the MBTA train from Boston's North Station.

For events, accommodations, and advice, visit www.hauntedhappenings.org.

One activity not confined to October alone is an evening walking tour conducted by a costumed host who spins tales of Salem's sometimes dark history. Tickets are $12 for adults, $11 for seniors, and $7 for children. Tours last 60-80 minutes.

Call Hocus Pocus Tours at 781-248-2031 or visit www.hocuspocustours.com.

Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights are so scary that the theme park warns they may be too intense for younger children. The 15th annual festival of fright takes place at the Islands of Adventure park, which is transformed into an area of haunted houses and ''scare zones." Tickets are $59.75 plus tax and dates are Oct. 7-9, 12-16, 20-23, and 27-31. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and some, but not all, park rides will be operating as well.

Visit www.universalorlando.com or call 877-717-3318.

A kinder, gentler Orlando alternative is Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, with a new fireworks show, Mickey's Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, Mickey's Mouse-Ka-Rade costume parties, storytelling, live entertainment, and ''treat trails." Guests are welcome to wear Halloween costumes, which is something Universal doesn't allow. Dates are today, and Oct. 6-7, 11, 13, 16, 20-21, 23, 25, 27-28, and 30-31 from 7 p.m. to midnight. There is a separate admission of $40 plus tax for ages 10 and above, $33 plus tax for ages 3-9.

Save $5 per ticket on all dates except Oct. 31 by purchasing tickets in advance. Call 407-W-DISNEY (407-934-7639) or visit www.disneyworld.co. Click on ''parks," then Magic Kingdom.

Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge gets into the spirit on Oct. 30, 5:30-9 p.m., with Things That Go Bump in the Night. This year there will be trick-or-treating in the haunted historical village, a costume parade, a magician, a living gargoyle, and more than 1,000 glowing jack-o'-lanterns. In addition, there will be living scarecrows, Halloween games, and spooky stories. Admission is $10 for adults and youths; children under age 3 are free.

Visit www.osv.org/bump or call 800-SEE-1830.

Some say that ghosts aplenty stalk Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, and here's a chance to track them down. Depending upon the accommodations, a Ghosts & Legends Package costs $75-$280 per person per night, double occupancy, and includes a night at an on-site hotel, a length-of-stay ticket to the Historic Area, breakfast daily, a tavern meal, plus a Ghosts & Legends Tour. If you stay an additional night, a new Tavern Ghost Walk is free.

Call 800-HISTORY or visit www.colonialwilliamsburg.com.

Sleepy Hollow in New York's Hudson Valley naturally has to get into the act; after all, that's where the Headless Horseman chased Ichabod Crane in Washington Irving's ''The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze is scheduled Oct. 13-16 and Oct. 20-23. The highlight will be 3,000 jack-o'-lanterns blazing away amid the mysterious nighttime grounds of Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson. In addition, there will be a 3-D, Bottom-of-the-Sea Aquarium, a Scarecrow Avalanche, and several other terrifying treats. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for children, and free for children under age 5.

Visit www.sleepyhollowhalloween.org, where you'll also learn about Legend Weekend Oct. 28-30, or call 914-631-8200, ext. 618. Buying by phone or at the event will cost $2 more than ordering from the website.

You can take it with you One way to save while traveling is to avoid getting robbed. In response to our recent column on Hawaii, a Lynn couple writes, ''We have just returned from there, where our vacation wasn't so wonderful. On the second day . . . our locked rental car was broken into. This happened in a public place, in broad daylight, and in a span of less than 20 minutes. . . . Our losses (mostly from our locked trunk) were less than $500, but the thieves managed to steal our fun." The letter brought to mind an incident in Paris a couple of years ago, where every digital camera left on a locked tour bus was stolen while the tour participants dined. The obvious lesson is to leave nothing of value in a vehicle, locked or not.

Mohegan packages Mohegan Sun resort and casino in Uncasville, Conn., has introduced a variety of new packages. Among them: the Mystic Places Package, which includes luxury accommodations; $20 in food and beverage coupons for in-room dining or use at one of Mohegan Sun's 29 dining venues; and two tickets to either the Mystic Aquarium or Mystic Seaport. Rates start at $86 per person per night plus tax.

Call 888-226-7711 or visit www.mohegansun.com for this and other offers. Click on Hotel & Spa, then Special Packages.

Saving on gas Although the price of gasoline has dropped a bit, ''rebates" are still a popular incentive. For instance, through Oct. 21, the Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head, S.C., will reimburse guests for a tank of gas. Rates start at $175 for a three-bedroom villa.

Call 800-SEA-PINES (732-7463) or visit www.seapines.com.

When not included, hotel taxes, airport fees, and port charges can add significantly to the price of a trip. Most prices quoted are for double occupancy; solo travelers will usually pay more. Offers are subject to availability and there may be blackout dates. Richard P. Carpenter can be reached at carpenter@globe.com.

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