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Grab your broom and go!


Don't sit around and molder this Halloween

October 27, 2000
Web posted at: 3:02 p.m. EDT (1902 GMT)

In this story:

Horror, American style

Fright nights

RELATED STORIES, SITES Downward pointing arrow

(CNN) -- Is the old house feeling more like a crypt these days? Are you feeling more dead than alive as daylight dwindles? Does the wind rattle your bones? Perhaps you need a change of scenery.

Granted, the clock is ticking if you want to hit the road in search of some haunts in time for the Tuesday holiday -- but it's not too late for some, and others offer up chills year-round.

Let’s start in the heart of this dark holiday: the Transylvania region of Romania, a mountainous area Bram Stoker made famous in "Dracula," the timeless story of one man’s search for love and blood - not necessarily in that order.

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California-based Transylvania Tours takes bloodthirsty travelers to a party at the Brasov Castle -- generally associated with the Dracula story -- and the house where the real-life inspiration for the nocturnal count, Vlad the Impaler, was born. Yes, Vlad did come by his nickname honestly …

Frankenstein? Although Mary Shelley placed her infamous monster and his creator elsewhere, a very real Lord Konrad Dippel von Frankenstein lived in a castle in Darmstadt, Germany. According to legend, he was found dead with foam coming from his mouth, surrounded by body parts stolen from nearby cemeteries.

His old stomping grounds are the site of the Frankenstein Castle Festival, where 90 actors roam the property and attempt to scare the wits out of visitors. A word of warning: If you visit Herr Doktor’s abode, leave the kids at home.

Horror, American style

Can’t get to Germany? Transylvania too far? Think about Transylvania County.

Yes, there is such a place the mountains of western North Carolina. Prepare to be impressed, not impaled, because this Transylvania is more scenic than scary. But at least you can tell folks you've been there.

Hey! Here's an original idea! Why not go to Burkittsville, Maryland, and find out where those crazy filmmakers got offed by the Blair Witch?

Actually, the residents of Burkittsville would rather you didn't, given the throngs of slackers -- Dude, like, where’s the witch? -- who have traveled there to see where "The Blair Witch Project" was made. The town’s Web site says it succinctly:

"Visitors come to town searching for witches or some validation that the legend is true," according to a statement at "It can be quite uncomfortable for some, who were raised here in a Christian community, to be asked about witches and murders."

Fright nights

OK, stay away from Burkittsville. Instead, check out the amusement parks across the United States that are catering to your inner ghoul through the end of the month.

How about Universal Studios in Orlando, which is touting its Halloween Horror Nights? The Florida park has a haunted house, naturally, and a funhouse, too -- but there’s more: Try venturing into its virtual-reality world, a place where everything goes terrifyingly awry; or take a ticket on the subway trip to hell. And you thought you had a bad commute…

If you're a West Coaster, Universal Studios Hollywood highlights its own Horror Nights with beasties that really go bump in the night -- "Jurassic Park in the Dark." Once you've had enough of that, join the revelry at the Festival of the Dead Parade. The theme this year? "Bloody Playthings."

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, is transformed through the 31st into Knott's Scary Farm. Come see hostess Elvira, Mistress of the Dark! Step into the Festival of Freaks Theatre! Marvel at the Day of the Dead Native American Procession!

How about Arania’s Nightmare? It’s featured at Fright Fest, the screamer offered by Six Flags Over Texas. Just who is Arania? According to the breathless folks at Six Flags, she’s “the Black Widow Bride … on a manhunt for husband No. 14.” If you feel restless, step on over to the Monster Mash Bash and rock out to such curdlers as “I’m Your Boogieman.”

Looking for something more, well … restful? A holiday, perhaps, where you don’t have to run for your life?

If you want a more down-home Halloween, head for Anoka, Minnesota, a small place with a big claim: the Halloween Capital of the World. Seems the town near Minneapolis was the first to sponsor a celebration in an effort to discourage pranksters from soaping up windows, stealing gates and turning cows loose. Such hooliganism!

This will be Anoka’s 78th festival, and it will have the traditional favorites -- the Pumpkin Bowl football game, a haunted house, bingo and horseshoes.

Oh yes, and there’s that little race: the 5K Grey Ghost Run.

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Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce
Knott's Berry Farm - Official Webpage
Transylvania Tours: Travel a Legend - The Dracula Myth.
Universal Studios
Six Flags
Transylvania County, North Carolina

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