Haunted Houses Back In St Louis To Kick Off Halloween Season

Kicking off Halloween season, haunted houses around the United States are opening their doors to brave travelers who come to experience spooky, scary things that go bump in the night. Between now and October 31, a variety of events around the country make for a great weekend diversion or road trip. Centrally located St. Louis is an easy drive from most mid-west states and offers Scare Fest, a trilogy of terror with three haunted attractions known as some of the best across the nation.

The Darkness is a two-story haunted house in downtown St Louis. Now in its 19th year of screams and scares, The Darkness has flying and flesh-eating zombies, Hollywood-quality sets and animated zombie effects and more. Included is admission to their Monster Museum and TerrorVisions 3-D, one of America’s first 3-D haunted houses featuring freaky crazed clowns in a 3-D environment where the walls appear to be moving, floors are floating and everything is right in the face of visitors.

The Haunting of Lemp Brewery takes visitors several stories below ground into real caves and caverns, just a block away from the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. In an interactive pre-show, sprits and ghosts of brewery founder William Lemp come back from the underworld to warn visitors of demons that haunt the caves under the brewery.

The Screampark in Fenton has the longest maze of scare inducing “hauntings” in the country that last more than one hour and feature more live actors than any other haunted house. New this year are Twisted Torture 3D, Demons Dominion, Grisly’s Gore Zone, the Zombie Town theme for the haunted hayride and the world’s largest Famous Faces Pumpkin Display.

Find zombies, ghosts, haunted houses or more at HauntWorld, a site that has listings for the United States and Canada as well as international attractions in the UK and other parts of the world.

[Flickr photo by dehub]

Halloween on 6th Street in Austin: the sounds and lights

If New Orleans’ Bourbon Street has a little sister, it is, at least sometimes, 6th Street in Austin. Both streets are main attractions, teeming with boisterous activity. Both streets are usually embraced by tourists and, perhaps just as usually, eschewed by locals. And both streets are worth walking, no matter who you are or where you are from, on certain days of the year, namely, costumed days. Austinites can’t shine a light to New Orleans on Mardi Gras, but Halloween? Just maybe. From what I have seen, the people in the batty city of Austin take Halloween seriously. After receiving an underwhelming reaction to my Westboro Baptist Church Member (I do not condone their actions, I find their actions frightening and despicable, and thereby suitable for Halloween) Halloween costume last year on Austin’s 6th Street, I decided to give the 6th Street walk a go again last night–I was a dead Olympic swimmer this time.

One of the immediate connections I made to Bourbon Street when I first walked the obligatory walk down Austin’s 6th Street last Halloween was that both streets are party streets. Bars and clubs line each of these streets, nearly all of these bars and clubs exist with their doors open, with their internal music becoming externally audible. The rhythms and melodies escaping from these doors come together in the air over 6th Street, forming the sonic equivalent of a strobe light. And the beams from actual strobe lights fly freely from the windows and doors, creating an army of strobe lights–an army that conjures up images of a Potter vs. Voldemort wand dueling in my mind.

%Gallery-138100%But the sounds on 6th Street aren’t limited to the continual onslaught of music, nor are the lights on 6th Street limited to the bouncing beams of strobe light. If you can transport yourself enough to imagine the sounds of 6th Street on Halloween night, here they are for the imagining:

  • The music, yes, the music, we discussed this already. Thumping beats, the kind you feel in your chest as they plummet out of their respective speakers. Hanging hooks, the kind you can’t kick out of your mind’s jukebox, no matter how hard you try. The mixing of several of these, resulting in a collective off-beat, inharmonious soundtrack for your night. For Halloween, the addition of ‘spooky’ music comes rolling into play. Filtered vocal tracks cushioned with the sounds of rushing wind, children screaming, and maniacal laughter.
  • The chatter. There are people holding sober conversations, and, on average, these conversations are muted by the drunken conversations, which oftentimes involve a steadfast sense of conviction in the speaker’s tone. There are cops giving stern warnings, as well as directions. There are bouncers and club managers shouting the nightly special out to each passerby, “100 shots for ONE DOLLAR! Ladies drink free!”. For Halloween, the chatter evolves. It’s not just personal anymore; much of the chatter is in character. A J.K. Rowling Dementor is flapping his gigantic, black wings. A flock of sheep ‘baaa’ as they nose through the crowd. The Founding Fathers speak with accents that match their pristine-looking white wigs. The dog trapped in the skeleton costume whines more than he might on a costume-free evening. A saxophonist plays as he walks slowly through the crowd.
  • The vehicles. Much of 6th Street is closed for Halloween (and other big events, like SXSW) to motor vehicles. But you hear them anyway, coming from barricades’ boundaries. The honking, squealing of breaks, blasting of Slayer. Inside the quarantined area designated for stumbling zombies and the like, pedicabs are limitless and racing through the crowd. Many of the pedicabs employ their own sound systems and on a night like Halloween night, that means mostly one thing: more blasting, scary music. Bicyclists’ tires swoosh through puddles of spilled beer (during this kind of Texas drought, you can count on the street puddles being from just about anything other than rain). A helicopter circles overhead, its lights drawing chins toward the horizon and eyes toward the Austin sky, which looks as though it’s been tie-dyed with navy and rust orange.

Keep your mind fixed on this recreation of 6th street and focus on the kinds of lights to be seen on a night like Halloween in a town like Austin.

  • The strobe lights, we know about them. They are dancing incongruously, bolting from paved street to brick wall to starry sky to dusty window glass and bouncing off the glass to begin the chaotic circle of light again.
  • The club lights aren’t all strobe lights, though. One club is black-light-lit, another is dressed up in red lights. Bands or DJs are playing on every stage on a night like Halloween night, and just about every bar or club on 6th Street has a stage. In fact, I can’t think of any that don’t. Each performer has their own approach to lighting–a film playing on a screen behind the band, a rainbow colored expanse of lights illuminating the DJ.
  • The bicyclists and pedicabs fly by with their red and white lights blinking out of sync as they pedal.
  • The cops have flashlights, and sometimes they are on. But on a night like Halloween, it’s tough to tell the Halloween Cops from the Everyday Cops. But even the non-official flashlights emanate an apparent, even if fleeting, white light.
  • Food trucks are scattered throughout the street and their tiny work areas are thankfully alight; their signs are blinking.
  • The Halloween costuming on 6th Street represents an Austin attraction in and of itself. A man stands stationary in the middle of the street while juggling glow sticks; plenty of other people are simply wearing glow sticks. A robot’s lights twinkle throughout, no doubt indicating computation. An aviation duo appears. The man is dressed as an air traffic control tower and the woman is dressed as a flight attendant adorned with bright runway lights. I quickly scan the immediate crowd, but I see no plane.

These are sounds to be heard, these are lights to be seen. Austin’s 6th Street might very well be Bourbon Street’s little sister sometimes, but sometimes it is something else entirely, not even of the same blood. There’s a fine line between the Spooky City and the Weird City, but the distinction can be made, especially on a night like Halloween.

Colonnade Hotel offers Halloween discounts

Halloween night can get a little, well, creepy. Before you set out on the streets of Boston looking for something ghoulish and gaudy to participate in, make sure you have a place to call home at the end of the night. Boston’s Colonnade Hotel is offering all guests who arrive in costume on the weekend of Oct. 31, 2010 a 10 discount on room rates.

But for those who like a little trick with their treat, The Colonnade is upping its ante.

For the more competitive enthusiasts, The Colonnade Hotel will offer guests the chance to compete for 31 percent off of the room rate. If your costume is deemed the funniest, the scariest or the most original, your nightly room rate just got 31 percent cheaper. Since The Colonnade is a pet-friendly hotel, pets can dress up and also join in on the fun for a chance to win.

Need a few suggestions? No problem! If you’re coming to Boston for Halloween weekend, consider dressing up as one of these hometown favorites:

  • Ted Williams (with or without ice)
  • Any one of the New Kids on the Block (a good family costume idea)
  • Samuel Adams (with or without the beer)
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Paul Revere
  • Donna Summer (sequins required)

Happy Halloween!

SkyMall Monday: Top 5 Halloween Decorations

Can you believe that we’re less than two weeks shy of Halloween? It seems like just yesterday that we were saying farewell to summer. But here we are, stocking up on candy, finalizing party plans and coordinating costumes with our friends. There’s just one thing that we forgot to do here at SkyMall Monday headquarters: decorate. You can’t celebrate Halloween without properly decorating your home. I’m not talking about a few fake cobwebs, a lame scarecrow and some childish ghosts hanging from your trees. No, when it comes to decorating for Halloween, you need to do things bigger, better and scarier than anyone else in your neighborhood. Unless you want kids egging your house, you better act like you know what you’re doing when it comes to everyone’s favorite scary holiday. Thankfully, SkyMall knows just how to turn your home from charming to chilling. This week, we’re taking a look at the Top 5 Halloween decorations in our favorite catalog.1. Chuckles the Clown (pictured above)

Clowns are inherently frightening. Fake clowns that stand 61″ inches tall are even more terrifying. Add in the fact that it “shakes slightly” and has “Realistic Taxidermy Eyes,” and you’re going to be providing the neighborhood kids with some real nightmare fuel. Even more bizarre: the motor requires a 9V battery. They still make 9V batteries? Scary.

2. Skullduggery Toilet Bowl Brush

Halloween decorations aren’t just for the outside of your home. Some haggard trick-or-treater will surely need to evacuate his bowels after a long night of asking strangers for candy (or clean up after pooping his pants upon seeing Chuckles the Clown). Make sure that he lets out a blood-curdling scream when he finds your bathroom. This brush will also ensure that even the scariest nut-filled nougaty messes don’t stain your toilet.

3. Peter Rottentail Costume

For a truly interactive decorative experience, you will need to have someone manning your yard at all times. Suit them up in this Peter Rottentail costume and you’re sure to keep people buzzing about how scary you’ve made your home. Plus, you can’t deny that that is one handsome vest. Vests are the best part of fall attire. They keep your core warm but allow a full range of motion for touch football games, long walks in the park and big leaps into piles of leaves. Yep, vests are pretty awesome. However, the lack of pants do make this costume a tad vulgar. Perhaps a pair of corduroys would complete this ensemble. Cords are probably the second-best article of fall clothing. They have ridges, just like the best potato chips. They make that cool sound when you walk. They remind you of your childhood. Get this rabbit some corduroys and he’ll be scaring people in style.

4. Creepy Cathy Animated Prop

I’ll defer to the product description on this one:

Her face is very scary and she pivots at the waist as she screams and groans…

Sounds like some of the girls I brought home from bars back in my younger days. Of course, those girls were taller than this 4′ little lady. Plus, “Her body is all latex – her entire torso, head, full length of arms and legs – not just plastic tubing or skinny metal armature.” Sit back and enjoy the looks on your friends’ faces when you tell them, “I only buy latex girls.”

5. Spinning Head Baby

Seriously, this thing is just creepy. No joke. Just unsettling.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts

The best travel themed Halloween Costumes of 2010

Halloween is a great time of year to dress up in a costume that fits your lifestyle – if you travel a lot, you may want to use the opportunity to dress up as a flight attendant and tell people they need to close their damn laptop and listen to to the safety briefing. Others may want to relive the day when Steven Slater freaked out and made himself famous for a few weeks.

So, we’ve picked some of the most appropriate travel related outfits for 2010 – some of which may be best suited for a private Halloween party in your bedroom, with others making the perfect costume for the office dress-up party.

Planning to dress up in something travel related this year? Let us know in the comments section below!