If you enjoy screaming, screeching, shivering, shaking, and so on, then your special month is about to begin. October brings Halloween, which nowadays is celebrated all month. So put on your skeleton costume, reach for a handful of trick-or-treat candy, and have a look at these ghastly goodies:
Connecticut's Litchfield Hills will once again host Count Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, the Wolf Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Phantom of the Opera. For the 40th year, life-size replicas of these creatures will adorn the Witch's Dungeon Classic Movie Museum in Bristol, which will be open for four October weekends . Displays are settings from classic scary movies and use figures based on the life casts of actors such as Lon Chaney, Bel a Lugosi, Vincent Price , and Lon Chaney Jr. The suggested donation is $1.
The Haunted Express, a double-decker bus, has already hit the road in Philadelphia, giving tours of more than 15 frights and sights. Participants learn about the ghosts that inhabit the Betsy Ross House, the dancing statue of Benjamin Franklin at Library Hall, and paranormal Pine Street. The tour visits the former home of Edgar Allan Poe and the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, where Bram Stoker wrote a portion of ``Dracula." Also seen are film locations from thrillers such as ``The Sixth Sense," ``Unbreakable," ``Twelve Monkeys," and ``Blow Out."
Tours are offered nightly starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are $24 for adults. Call 215-525-1776 or visit www.hauntedexpress.com. For lots of Philadelphia information, visit www.gophila.com or call 800-537-7676.
Newport, R.I., gets into the fun Oct. 21-31 with a costume ball, horror films, ghost and pirate walks, a murder mystery at Astors' Beechwood Mansion, and macabre tales at Fort Adams. Prices vary, but buying an R.I.P. Pass for $5 gets you discounts on events, shopping, and dining.
Salem, of course, is the epicenter of Halloween events. This year's Haunted Happenings kicks off with a Grand Parade Oct. 5. Throughout the month, there will be dozens of events, including the Bizarre Bazaar, the Boo-tiful Pets contest, Halloween at Hogwarts, children's events, costume balls, parties, and contests. The Haunted Happenings website lets you print a brochure.
Visit www.hauntedhappenings.org or call 877-SALEM-MA.
When it comes to Halloween at theme parks, Universal Orlando wins the macabre medal. This year is the Sweet 16 anniversary of Halloween Horror Nights, and there will be many new frights, from haunted houses to scare zones to shows. Universal warns that events may be too intense for young children and doesn't allow patrons to wear costumes. Events will be held on 17 nights in October, and tickets are $59.95 for one night; for the same price you can buy a Frequent Fear Pass, which admits you every Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, plus Halloween night. Unlike most other events listed in this column, there are no children's ticket prices.
Walt Disney World takes a different tack with Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on 15 October nights. Events begin at 7 p.m., after regular park hours, and each date features trick or treating and a fireworks show called Happy HalloWishes. Mickey's Boo-to-You Halloween Parade has been expanded, and some of the Magic Kingdom's most popular attractions will be open. You can save $6 a ticket for all event nights except Oct. 27, 30, and 31 by buying ahead of time. Advance tickets are $36.95 for ages 10 and above, $29.95 for ages 3-9. Day-of tickets and tickets for the Oct. 27, 30, and 31 event nights are $42.95 for ages 10 and above, $35.95 for ages 3-9.
Call 407-W-DISNEY or visit www.disneyworld.com/halloween.
In Portsmouth, N.H., Ghosts on the Banke takes place at the Strawbery Banke Museum Oct. 27-28 from 5:30-8 p.m. Youngsters can trick or treat from historic house to house on the 10-acre museum grounds , meeting wayward pirates, ancient mariners, and ghostly guests along the way. Admission is $6 for ages 5 and up. Call 603-433-1100 or visit www.strawberybanke.org. Come sundown on Halloween night, the annual Portsmouth Halloween Parade takes place, followed by New England Curiosities' first annual Halloween Costume Ball Gala at the Library Restaurant. Dinner, a costume contest, scary stories, and a one-hour ghost walk will all be part of the event. Tickets are $85 per person.
Call 207-439-8905 or visit www.newenglandcuriosities.com and click on Special Tours and Events.
Boston's streets are filled with amazing stories, and you'll hear many of them during the Ghosts & Gravestones Tour, presented by Old Town Trolley Tours every night through Oct. 31, at 6, 7, 8, and 9 p.m. The two-hour tour is hosted by a 17th-century grave digger and is sprinkled with costumed characters. Although the stories and sites reflect some of Boston's gravest moments, there is a lot of humor, too. Tickets are $32. Call 617-269-3626 or visit www.historictours.com/boston.
America is filled with fine places to hang out with ghosts, including many in New England. For instance, at the Golden Stage Inn in Cavendish, Vt ., a friendly spirit is said to often appear dressed in a traveling cloak and a large brimmed hat. The staff has named him George.
For a complete list, visit www.bedandbreakfast.com and click on Haunted B&Bs. Inn prices vary, but there is no extra charge for sleeping with spirits.
Old Sturbridge Village gets into the act Oct. 28 and 29 with Things That Go Bump in the Night. The event, from 5 to 9 p.m., includes trick or treating in the haunted historical village, a costume parade, a magician, a living gargoyle and living scarecrows, more than 1,000 jack-o'-lanterns, games, stories, and even an epitaph-writing contest. Admission is $10. Visit www.osv.org/bump.
You might expect Sleepy Hollow and surrounding communities in New York's Hudson Valley to have Halloween events, and you'd be right. The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze takes place the first three weekends in October at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, with 3,000 hand-carved, illuminated pumpkins. Tickets are $13.
From Oc t . 27 to 29, the Headless Horseman rides again. Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow will be lighted by candle lanterns and bonfires as goblins come out to greet the Headless Horseman. Meanwhile, ghouls, witches, pirates, assorted apparitions, and characters from folklore come to life, and Washington Irving's ``The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" will be dramatized. Admission is $13.
For either event, call 914-631-8200 or visit www.sleepyhollowhalloween.org.
Nine New England inns are participating in a Ghoulish Getaways promotion in which ghoulish delights will abound during your stay. At the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, you may meet Lydia Carver, the Ghostly Bride. Events and prices vary.
Visit www.newenglandinnsandresorts.com and click on Ghoulish Getaways.
In nautical New Brunswick, St. Andrews-by-the-Sea is home to many spirits and souls from long ago. The historic -- and, some say, benignly haunted -- Fairmont Algonquin is celebrating Halloween with rates of $89 per room, Oct. 27-29. The weekend will feature a Haunted Treasure Hunt, face painting, pumpkin carving, and a movie night.
Call 800-441-1414 or visit www.fairmont.com/algonquin.
Call 800-999-5050. For information on other tours, visit www.paragontours.com.
Call 800-443-6139 or visit www.springcreekranch.com.
The Hotel Telluride, a new boutique hotel in the Colorado ski area, is offering early season lodging deals starting at $99 a night for a room sleeping one or two. Guests get a complimentary breakfast and can order a 75-minute massage for $99, while saving 19.99 percent on ski or snowboard rentals. This special is available Nov. 24-Dec. 21 and requires a two-night minimum stay.
Call 866-468-3504 or visit www.thehoteltelluride.com.
American Airlines and United Airlines have a Kids Fly & Stay for Fee promotion to Crested Butte, Colo. The packages, based on two adults and two children under 12, start at $2,122 per family with AA and $2,441 with United, although prices from Boston will be somewhat higher. The four-night packages include flights, accommodations, and airport transportation, and are valid Jan. 3-Feb. 15.
Call 800-851-0473. For information on other packages, go to www.gunnisoncrestedbutte.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. Contact Richard P. Carpenter at email@example.com.