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Kid fare to frightful, fall scares for Halloween

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If you are looking for some Halloween fun, there are plenty of places to take it in, whether you’ve got the trick or treat set or you are a bunch of crazy frat boys. Some of the haunted attractions have “no-scare” alternatives during the day for younger revelers. And if you like to be scared witless, you have plenty of places to choose from!

For the elementary set

For those of you in town with little ones, you need look no further than ZooBoo at Como Zoo in St. Paul. It’s a trick or treat delight with more than 200 costumed characters that form a “storybook paradise.” Come find your favorite character – hugs for everyone! There are activities, including pumpkin bowling, crafts and more. Everyone is encouraged to wear costumes. Bring your trick or treat bag. This gets underway this weekend and runs through Oct 24. You can find discount advance tickets at Cub Foods. Hours: Oct 16-17 – 4:30-7:30pm; Oct 22-24 – 4:30-7:30pm. Cost is $7 at the gate. Rain or shine event. There is a park and ride for this event at Snelling Ave and Como, directly across from the MN State Fair Grounds.

One location that is splitting the difference is Valley Scare Haunt at Valley Fair Amusement Park in Shakopee. Valley Scare Haunt offers attractions during the day on Saturdays are suitable for all ages, including The Boogie Monsters, Strolling Magician Scott Nichols and Frogwarts Wizards Academy . There’s more family fun with Pumpkin Hollow. It’s a “scare-free” attraction and includes a trick or treat trail and the Boogie Monsters.

But when the sun goes down, it’s an entirely different deal. The adult festivities include scary attractions such as Mazes with themes like Carnevil, sure to turn you off clowns for good; The Mangler Asylum, Mr. Cleaver’s Bloodshed and Chateau de Damme; Scare Zones such as Blood Creek Cemetery; Outdoor Mazes such as Carnage at Crimson Isle (Jack Sparrow lives!) and Hellside Farm. Haunted farms seem to be a prevalent theme this year. There are also several shows, including Mick Mangler’s Madness and Mayhem Show, and Fangs. Vampires, anyone?

There’s an all-you-can-eat Fright Feast Buffet from 5pm to 6:30pm every Saturday. Attractions are open 7pm to midnight Fridays through October; Noon to midnight on Saturdays through October and 6-11pm on Sundays through October, with special weekday hours on Oct 20 and 21 (7pm to midnight).

Prices start at $39.99 for all-day admission. Starlight admission is available for $28.95 after 7pm on Fridays or Saturdays and Sundays after 6pm. Several package discounts are available and group discounts are also offered for 15 or more. Coupons for $3 off Starlight admission or $10 off all-day admission on Saturdays are available at Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Sonic.

For Adults Only

The Haunted Basement is serious stuff. Like, there’s a waiver form. Absolutely no one under 18 is admitted. It’s a theatrical tour of a freaky basement, with a new terror behind every turn. This year’s theme is “Distortion.” Ghouls, monsters and raving lunatics populate this ride. They’re gunning for every phobia you’ve ever imagined. This takes place in the Soap Factory gallery every Thursday through Sunday during October. Extra shows on Wed Oct 20 and Wed Oct 27. Advance tickets are recommended, as nights do sell out. Admission is in timed groups, with groups of six admitted every four minutes. 6pm to midnight, 514 E. 2nd St, Minneapolis. Tickets are $20, book early.

There are also ‘Fraidy Cat Tours offered during the day, with the lights on and under 18s allowed. It’s a guided tour of the project. Sunday, Oct 24 and Sunday Oct 31 noon to 2pm only. Tickets at the door, $10, no advance sales.

For outdoor fun, there’s Trail of Terror in Shakopee. With 13 attractions, including Hollywood Horror Corn Maze and the Haunted Hayride, there’s 25 miles of scares. There’s even an indoor heated maze. This funfest also offers a Phantoms Feast, a five-course meal with entertainment, for $55. This runs Oct 15-17, 22-24 and 29-31 from 7-11pm. That’s Thursday through Sunday, folks. Tickets are $18.95 for adults, $12.95 for children, with discount tickets available at Walgreen’s. It’s 3 miles south of Shakopee on Hwy 69. Free parking.

And the old stand-by, the Nightmare at Trout Air, has moved. It is now Nightmare Hallow-Scream Park, in its 19th year, with Cornstalkers Revenge, the Horrific Hayride Trail and Haunted House, Cage Maze, Twilight Zone and more. The Haunted Hayride is a mile long. This now takes place at Running Aces in Columbus, exit 129 on I-35. The scare started last weekend and from Oct 13, they go until Sunday, Oct 17, then they take a break and run straight through from Oct 20 to Halloween. Runs from 6:30pm to 10pm Sundays through Thursdays, and Fridays and Saturdays it goes 6:30pm to midnight. Tickets are $16.37 with ages 10 and under $15.44 (plus tax). Check out the website for how to get tickets. They will take the Happenings Books coupons at the new location. Coupons are also available at White Castle and Ace Hardware stores.

Check out this previous article on Fall Festivals for information on Buck Hill’s Frightmares and Sever’s Corn Maze. There is also a list of Preferred Links on the bottom right of the screen on this page – check there for corn mazes and haunted happenings throughout the Metro.

What's your favorite haunted attraction, and why? Leave your comments below!

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