As befits a city that counts Edgar Allan Poe among its favorite sons, Baltimore puts on quite the show every Halloween. Whether it's through late-night tours of the Westminster Burial Ground catacombs or costumed revelers hopping from one Fells Point bar to the next, Charm City's ghosts and goblins savor their annual time in the spotlight. Happily, venues throughout the area are more-than-happy to accommodate them.
As a ghoulish public service, we've scared up a handful of other ideas, some aimed squarely at young trick-or-treaters, others at revelers too old to demand free candy but still determined to get their fright on this weekend. Some might seem hauntingly familiar, while others suggest new ways to give yourselves and your loved ones the creeps.
Hauntingdon Avenue: Remington gets all spooked up for its third annual Halloween block party, featuring face painting, games, interactive activities, trick-or-treating and who knows what else. Best of all, many of the residents along the 2900 block of Huntingdon Avenue are transforming their front porches into scary movie sets. And new this year, the Black Cherry Puppet Theatre will be performing, along with Hula Hoop master Spilly, stilt walking from Paco Fish and local musicians Ricky and Lennon La Ricci. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. griaonline.org.
Great Halloween Lantern Parade: This may be Baltimore's coolest Halloween tradition, so it's no surprise the folks at Highlandtown's Creative Alliance are the brains behind it (with a lot of help from the restlessly creative minds at Nana Projects, of course). Beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, hundreds of lanterns, built and carried by your friends and neighbors, will be carried through Patterson Park. If that isn't visually spectacular enough, there will also be praying mantis stilt walkers, talking sunflowers, a giant wavy caterpillar lantern and more. Plus music by Sac Au Lait, Mambo Combo's Escola de Samba, West Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore All Stars and others. It's all centered on the Pulaski Monument, Eastern and Linwood avenues. Free. 410-276-1651 or creativealliance.org.
'Lemony Snicket's The Composer Is Dead': Oh tragedy! A composer has died, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra needs your help figuring out whodunit. With music by the BSO, narration by Timothy Marrone and the promise of prizes for the best costumes, this has all the potential to be a truly classic(al) Halloween. The performance begins at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Meyerhoff, 1212 Cathedral St. Tickets are $12-$20. 410-783-8000 or bsomusic.org
B&O Halloween Bash: Ghosts and goblins running amuck under the giant dome of the B&O Transportation Museum roundhouse -- now there's a "rail" good time waiting to be had. Plus, with all those enormous locomotives scattered about, who knows where the next ghoul will be hiding? Organizers promise food, games, crafts and music; all you need supply are the costumes. Noon-2 p.m. Saturday at the museum, 901 W. Pratt St. Tickets are $5 per child age 2-12, plus paid museum admission ($8-$14). 410-752-2490 or borail.org.
Clark's Elioak Farm Halloween Weekend: Farms are made for Halloween celebrations, with their hay rides, pumpkin patches and (at least in this case) petting zoo, with doubtless a black cat or two running around. But at Clark's Elioak Farm, you get the added attraction of a bunch of gloriously retro theme park attractions rescued from the old Enchanted Forest on Rte. 40 in Ellicott City (ask your parents or grandparents about this place, a staple for Baltimore kids for some 30 years). The party runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with costume contests set for 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. both days at the farm, 10500 Route 108 in Ellicott City. Admission is $5, with extra charges for some activities. 410-730-4049 or clarklandfarm.com.
Kim's Krypt: Deliciously twisted Kryptkeeper Kim Yates has spent most of her life happily spooked, and the deliciously demented results are on display at this Dundalk haunted house. There's an "Exorcist" room (Kim's favorite), several coffins and a guy named Scary Jerry (who certainly lives up to his name). There are also pipe organs, ancient surgical instruments, dead animals preserved in jars -- all the comforts of home, provided Boris Karloff or Freddy Krueger was your interior designer. Open 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m. through Sunday at 1748 Merritt Blvd. Tickets are $8-$13. 410-391-7726 or kimskrypt.com.
Bennett's Curse: In its first year at Blob's Park, Bennett's Curse continues a tradition of scaring the living daylights out of anyone fearless enough to step inside. Keep an eye out for The Freak, a puppet about twice the size of a man of whom owner Allan Bennett is particularly proud. Open 7 p.m.-11 p.m. through Sunday at Blob's Park, 8024 Max Blobs Park Rd. in Jessup. Tickets are $20-$35. bennettscurse.com. For a similarly horrifying outdoor experience, try Creepywoods Haunted Forest (which Bennett also runs) at 11898 Philadelphia Rd. in Kingsville. Open 7:30 p.m.-11 p.m. through Saturday, 7:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15-$25. 410-538-6461 or creepywoods.com.
Bedlam in the 'Boro: That would be Lineboro in Carroll County, where the local volunteer fire department delights every year in creeping out as many visitors as possible. Many swear by the three-mile-long haunted hayride, which promises to pass by "the darkest, spookiest and scariest parts of Lineboro" (which has got to be a pretty freaky place to live up to this kind of billing). There's also a House of Horror that encompasses "3,200 square feet of bone-chilling terror." Sounds like quite the town! Hours are 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m. through Saturday at the Lineboro VFD, 4224 Main St. 410-239-4467 or lineborovfd.com.
Halloween Dance Party: Food! Prizes! Costumes! Dancing! And in case you need any more persuading, how about a "Thriller" dance contest, where zombie Michael Jacksons will be prancing to one groovy beat, with prizes awarded to the most convincing ghoul. Runs 8 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday in the dining hall at Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Pkwy. in Arnold. Free. 410-777-2043 or aacc.edu/studentlife/halloween.cfm.
Zombie Halloween Costume Party: Zombies have never been more in, which could make this all-ages show at Ram's Head Live the undead place to be Sunday night. Appropriate music will be provided by headliners God Forbid and Diecast, with help from 10th Hour, Chopper Trike Rebels, Tolerance for Tragedy and the Banished. Don't skimp on the costumes: Prizes will be awarded for Sexiest Zombie, Goriest Zombie, Best Bmore Zombie and Music Legend Zombie. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. at Rams Head Live, 30 Market Place in Power Plant Live. Tickets are $12. 410-244-1131 or ramsheadlive.com.
Halloween Bash: Organizers promise a good dose of Halloween karma (provided there is such a thing, and that it can be good) when Telesma headlines in Overlea Saturday night. Look for face painting (perfect if you haven't gotten around to making a costume), a costume contest, cash bar and maybe a psychic reading or two. Additional music by Sahffi, Alison Chase Radcliffe and Allen Holmes. Tickets are $30, $25 online. 7 p.m.-2 a.m. at the Overlea Event Center, 6809 Belair Rd. 410-446-2569 or karmafest.com.
Dead Celebrities Ball: Sure, you could disguise yourself as one of the old fallbacks: Elvis, Marilyn, Jimi Hendrix, maybe even John Wayne. But why not pay tribute to one of the recently departed? You could be Tony Curtis as the slave boy from "Spartacus," "Golden Girl" Rue McClanahan -- even Mr. C. ( Tom Bosley) or June Cleaver ( Barbara Billingsley). The possibilities are near endless, but whoever your famous face is, show it off at Gutter Magazine's second annual Dead Celebrities ball, with music by The Jennifers, Squaaks, Sick Sick Birds and Sal Bando. 9 p.m. Saturday at Metro Gallery, 1700 N. Charles St. Tickets are $5. 410-244-0899 or themetrogallery.net.
Tilted Torch's Halloween Spook-a-Rama: The folks at Creative Alliance note "Hot attire preferred," and given that this night of Halloween burlesque includes fire eaters, they just may mean that literally. Part sideshow, part ghoulfest: Miss Joule and Malibu's "sinister fire play," a "haunting bellydance" by Mavi, "wicked" pasties from Little Luna -- what's not to love here? 8 p.m. Friday at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave. Tickets are $15, $13 for alliance members and students. 410-276-1651 or creativealliance.org.
Creepy Crawl 2010: Power Plant Live will play host to what organizers say is Charm City's biggest free Halloween party on Saturday, complete with $7,500 in prize money and drink specials at every bar. Costume Prizes will be awarded for Most Original, Best Couple or Group and Sexiest Female; the top five entrants in each category will be called up on stage, with the winners being decided by a group of celebrity judges (taking into account audience reaction, of course). The crawl starts at 8 p.m. and runs through the night at Power Plant Live, 34 Market St. powerplantlive.com.
Heroes and Villains Costume Ball 2: Baltimore's most gleefully twisted bookstore, Hampden's Atomic Books, are responsible for this one, so expect things unexpected. Here's what we know: There'll be a costume contest (with $400 cash prizes for the best hero and best villain); music from DJ Miracle Ear and the debut of a new Atomic TV video. Beyond that, you're on your own. Runs 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday at the Windup Space, 12 W. North Ave. 410-662-4444 or atomicbooks.com.
Find more Halloween events, costume ideas, recipes and more at baltimoresun.com/halloween.