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20 area Halloween events for every taste

Why waste a great Halloween costume on just one night of fun? With these 20 exciting Halloween events including creepy-crawly creatures, scary-good performances and kooky costume parties for a variety of tastes and ages, you're sure to have a goulish good time this Halloween season.

1. 'Cabaret Macabre' at Theatre Project

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Venture into the dark, odd mind of artist Edward Gorey, who inspired this story of gothic romance presented by Happenstance Theater. If you're in need of a departure from all the Halloween costume parties, enjoy theatrical amusement instead. On stage now through Nov. 2. 45 W. Preston St. $12-$22. theatreproject.org.

2. Happy Healthy Halloween at the Y of Central Maryland

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For tips on keeping it healthful when tempted by all that Halloween candy (hey, give it a shot), Family Center YMCA locations are hosting events promoting happy, not-as-sugary fun. Among the offerings: games, nutritious snacks and costume contests. Running Friday and Saturday (Oct. 24 and 25); times and activities vary by location. $5-$10; free for Y members. ymaryland.org.

3. HallowRead in Ellicott City

Authors and fans of the paranormal, the fantastic and the horrifying unite in Ellicott City for this annual book festival. Events at various locations include nightly ghost tours, children's Halloween story times, author panels and free viewings of frightening film classics like "The Shining." The Howard County Historical Society Museum (8328 Court Ave.) is also getting involved Saturday, Oct. 25, with its Dead of Night at the Museum event from 5 p.m.-5 a.m. ($35), where guests can participate in a paranormal investigation of the possibly haunted building. Events run Friday through Sunday, Oct. 24-26. Tickets packages range from $25 to $75. hallowread.com.

4. Halloween Comicfest at Third Eye Comics and Atomic Books

Lovers of comics and candy should drop by Third Eye Comics in Annapolis or Atomic Books in Hampden on Saturday, Oct. 25. Atomic Books is giving away free copies of more than 12 different comics, including "Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special" (11 a.m.-5 p.m.). Third Eye Comics is celebrating with free comics for early guests, and will also be hosting creator signings for "Tara Normal" comics and more. 11 a.m-9 p.m. Third Eye Comics: 2027 West St., Annapolis. thirdeyecomics.com. Atomic Books: 3620 Falls Road. atomicbooks.com.

5. Spooky Science at the Maryland Science Center

Conduct creepy chemistry or catapult a pumpkin at the science center's Halloween-theme day. Events include trick-or-treating and a live animal show with snakes, cockroaches and bearded dragons. Noon-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25. Events free with admission ($15.95-$18.95; free for members). 601 Light St. mdsci.org.

6. Great Halloween Lantern Parade and Festival

Artists and community members light the sky over Patterson Park for this annual favorite. This year, the parade celebrates color with its theme, "Kaleidoscope," and the evening's festivities include live music, costumes and the parade's giant illuminated lanterns. After the parade, adults can head to the Glow Ball, featuring a dance party and costume contest. Festival at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, parade at 7 p.m. Free festival and parade. Glow Ball at the Creative Alliance, 3134 Eastern Ave., starting at 9:30 p.m. $9-$12. creativealliance.org.

7. Hallowmarine at the National Aquarium

Bring your costume for a weekend full of fun Halloween activities like themed crafts, creepy-crawly animal encounters and a costume parade. Bonus: watch an underwater pumpkin carving demonstration by some of the divers in the Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit (11 a.m. and 2 p.m. both days). 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 25 and 26. Activities free with admission ($21.95-$34.95). 501 E Pratt St. aqua.org.

8. ZooBOOO! at the Maryland Zoo

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Dress up as your favorite animal and mingle among the real things. The Maryland Zoo is celebrating the 30th anniversary of ZooBOOO! with trick-or-treating, children's costume contests, carnival games and a hay maze. And don't forget to check out the elephant pumpkin smash. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday-Sunday (Oct. 24-Oct. 26. Events free with admission ($13-$18; free for members). Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, Waterfowl Lake. marylandzoo.org.

9. Trick or Treat at the Square in Belvedere Square

Do you have an adorable costume planned for your pet? There's a pet costume contest! Oh, and the kids can come, too. Highlights: trick-or-treating with Belvedere Square retailers and a performance of "Thriller" presented by the White Marsh School of Ballet at 2 p.m. Noon- 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26. Free. York Road and Belvedere Avenue. belvederesquare.com.

10. Free Fall Halloween Celebration at American Visionary Art Museum

AVAM is celebrating Halloween with free museum admission, a lantern-making workshop and an outdoor screening of "Ghostbusters" on Federal Hill. Attendees are encouraged to dress up in "ghostbusting costumes" and bring a little cash for the food trucks. 800 Key Highway. 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 30 (movie starts at 7). Free. avam.org.

11. 'Dark Minds and Psychopathy' at Enoch Pratt Free Library

Have nightmares about Hannibal Lecter or skin suits? Want to know what makes a serial killer tick? Baltimore artist and art history professor Susan Lowe, a John Waters acting favorite, will satisfy and terrify with her discussion of all things Bundy and Dahmer. Nothing like exploring the minds of serial killers to help you get into the spooky spirit. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 30. Free. Light Street Branch, 1251 Light St. prattlibrary.org.

12. Halloween Concert at Towson University

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Enjoy the sounds and songs of Halloween with the Towson University Percussion Ensemble, joined by students and faculty from the Towson University Voice Division. This themed concert will include the familiar sounds of Halloween like "screeches, howls, and things that go bump in the night." Attendees can win prizes for costumes. Harold J. Kaplan Concert Hall, Center for the Arts, off Osler Drive. 8:15 p.m. Oct. 30. $5-$10. events.towson.edu.

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13. Halloween at Power Plant Live

Power Plant Live is dishing out the cash this year for the best-costumed Halloween party-goers. A Halloween Rally on Oct. 30 will feature live entertainment and all-access bar passes ($25) at eight bars with up to $2,000 in cash prizes. The venue's Haunted Carnival Halloween, starting at 8 p.m. Oct. 31, will feature prizes for categories like "best couple" and "best group." 34 Market Place. powerplantlive.com.

14. Halloween Baltimore Pub Crawl

Creepy-crawl your way through Baltimore's best bars and pubs. Those of legal age and sound liver are invited to meet at The Point in Fells Point to receive their official crawl map, cup and wristband. For $20, participants can enjoy three full days of all-access crawling, or for $8, you can enjoy the fun on Halloween night. Bar crawls run Oct. 30-Nov. 1 nights until 2 a.m. The Point: 1738 Thames St. pubcrawls.com.

15. Mall-O-Ween at Eastpoint Mall

Eastpoint merchants are participating in the annual trick-or-treating event around the mall for children 12 and younger. Interested families can pick up an official trick-or-treat bag at Burlington Coat Factory before roaming the halls in search of sweets. 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Oct. 31. 7839 Eastpoint Mall. eastpointmall.com.

16. Federal Hill-O-Ween

Head for Fed Hill and celebrate among Baltimore's gals and ghouls. It's a big costume party, so show off your best garb as you enjoy a brew or two. Federal Hill restaurants and bars will offer food and drink specials for the night and prizes like Ravens tickets, bar tabs and gift cards for the best costumes. 6 p.m.-midnight. Oct. 31. Register at Mother's parking lot, 1113 S. Charles St. Tickets are currently $12; tickets increase in price as event nears. lindypromo.com.

17. 2014 Halloween Bike Party

Ever seen a zombie ride a bicycle? Baltimore Bike Partiers will be celebrating Halloween on Oct. 31 by zipping through the streets in their favorite costumes. The night's route will start at St. Mary's Park (598 Maryland 129 in Seton Hill) at 6:30 p.m., roll out at 7 p.m. and will end at the Baltimore Museum of Industry (1415 Key Highway), followed by an after party at Little Havana (1325 Key Highway) with a costume contests and "epic prizes." baltimorebikeparty.com.

18. Glitterween!!!! at Metro Gallery

Could your Halloween use a little more sparkle? The Glitter Thighs queer dance party series is holding a Halloween "gay-thering," complete with a photo booth. Prizes will be given out for costumes and there will be performances by DJ LDP, Chanan Delivuk and Masisi. Come watch a few ghosts get their groove on. 9 p.m. Oct. 31. $7-$10. 1700 N Charles St. themetrogallery.net.

19. 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' action

It's time to Time Warp! Harford Community College will offer a live cast performance and a screening of the cult film favorite. As always, costumed audience participation is key. 8 p.m. Oct. 31. $8. Not for children under 17. APG Federal Credit Union Arena, 401 Thomas Run Road, Bel Air. harford.universitytickets.com. In case you can't get enough "Rocky," Spotlighters Theater is also holding on-stage performances now (Friday and Saturdays) through Nov. 9 for $16-$20, with a special late-night show at 11 p.m. Oct. 31. And the Creative Alliance will be screening the film 9 p.m. Oct. 30 for $9-$12. Spotlighters: 817 St Paul St. spotlighters.org. Creative Alliance: 3134 Eastern Ave. creativealliance.org.

20. Halloween in Fells Point

Fells is readying its streets once again to allow zombies and vampires to roam free. This infamous annual Halloween celebration draws some of the coolest and creepiest costumes seen in the city, and area bars support the Halloween spirit by holding costume contests. What might we see this year? "Game of Thrones" costumes by super fans? More Minions? Drop by and find out.

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