GHOSTS AND GOBLINS are gathering all over town: at the zoo, the science center, in malls and school halls.
As the Great Pumpkin gets ready to make his annual visit, Halloween revelers will be appearing almost everywhere in the next few days. Some of these events are planned as alternatives to trick-or-treating; others in addition to the ritual.
The Baltimore Zoo is focusing on safe trick-or-treating during its Howl-O-Ween Spooktacular Saturday and Sunday. Children are invited to wear costumes and make the rounds of various zoo booths that will be handing out candy and other treats donated by area businesses. There will also be a haunted barn to visit, a puppet show, face-painting and scarecrow-making contests.
The "spooktacular" continues from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. both days and is included in regular zoo admission.
The Towson Jaycees have moved their haunted house, but the spooks will surely found their way to the Towson Market Place Mall for the fun. They will be there each night through Halloween with 11 different scary scenes and mazes. Each visiting goblin will take home a goodie bag, and there will be a costume contest with prizes Halloween night.
Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children 4 to 12. To register for the costume contest, phone 821-6469.
And there's more. The libraries are offering a frightful number of story hours and other Halloween activities; their events are listed in the Kids section of the Accent Plus calendar. Below is a sampling of more Halloween activities for children:
* Mission From Mars. Halloween coloring-contest display, mall trick-or-treating and costume contest are scheduled for Wednesday beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Towson Town Center. M&M;/Mars is sponsoring the fun. Entries in the coloring contest are due Sunday at the mall. For more information, phone 494-8772.
* Maryland Science Center party. The Science Center's annual party features an appearance by the center's dinosaur, special showings of IMAX and planetarium shows, tarot card readers and a costume contest for all ages. Tickets are $3 for Science Center members, $9.50 and $7.50 for non-members. The party, co-sponsored by WYST, is from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. To reserve tickets, phone 685-2370.
* After-school party. The city's Office of Adventures in Fun is sponsoring a party for children 14 and younger at the Recreation Pier, 1715 Thames St. John Carrington will present a magic show and there will be games, refreshments and a costume contest from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday. Admission is 50 cents. Call 396-9177.
* Scary stories. Storyteller Lawanda Russell will entertain with frightening tales at 1 p.m. Sunday at The Walters Art Gallery. A free gallery-sketching workshop will follow the story hour. Call 547-9000.
* Hallo-marine Spooktacular. Costume party with entertainment by song-and-dance man Billy B. and refreshments, including a witch's brew is set for Tuesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the National Aquarium. Kids will be able to haunt the galleries, too. Admission is $13, $8 for members. For reservations, call 727-FISH.
* Cloisters Children's Museum parties. The Cloisters will have two Halloween parties featuring performances by "the Kinderman," John Taylor. The first is Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. with hourly performances as well as face-painting and a visit from the Great Pumpkin. Pre-schoolers are invited to join the fun Wednesday from noon to 3 p.m. Admission is $4, $3 for members. Reservations must be made in advance for the Kinderman's shows. Phone 823-2551.
Haunted dungeons. The Edgemere Sparrows Point Recreation Council is offering a spooky trip through its dungeons at 9500 North Point Road in Fort Howard. The dungeons will be open from 7 to 11 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Additional hours are scheduled for Nov. 1-3. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children. Phone 887-7529.
* Pumpkin carving. Oregon Ridge Nature Center is sponsoring the fun for all ages from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday. Phone 887-1815.
* Railroad revelry. Haunted railroad station will be open for young children and their families at the B&O; Railroad Station Museum in Ellicott City Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Admission is $1. Phone 461-1944.
* Haunting experience. The Essex Recreation and Parks Council is opening its haunted house nightly through Tuesday. Hours are 7 to 10 p.m. weeknights and 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is $1.75. The house is at Cox's Point Park. Phone 887-0251.
* Festival fun. Come in costume to the fall festival at Ruxton Country School. There will be a witch's den, games, crafts and a bake sale from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the school on 1402 Berwich Road. Phone 823-2271.
* Cardinal Gibbons social. The Cardinal Gibbons School will have its annual social and haunted house from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the school. Haunted tour and refreshments are among the activities. Tickets are $4; children younger than 10 are admitted free. Phone 644-1770.
* Safety first. The Anne Arundel County Executive is throwing a safety party Sunday afternoon. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will entertain, and there will be a costume contest for children up to 12. The party is from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Arundel Center North Plaza in Glen Burnie.
* Annapolis get-together. The children of Annapolis are invited ta Halloween parade and party Sunday. Everyone is invited to parade in costume from Lawyers' Mall to the Naval Academy beginning at 1:45 p.m. Phone 1-301-263-7940 for more information.
* Afternoon fun. Anne Arundel Community College is opening its annual student association party to children 1 to 12 years old from the community. The party will include a costume contest, dance, games and refreshments from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the college's cafeteria. Anyone planning to attend should call the student association, 541-2218, as soon as possible.
* Haunted forest. Spooky Greenthumb, a friendly ghost, will visit Woodstock Farm Nursery in Ellicott City this week. Children can see the story of Spooky unfold along a path in the haunted forest. The nursery is at 5505 Woodstock Road. For more information, phone 465-1195 or 465-1681.
Harriet in Harford. The Harford Dance Theatre will present a special performance of "Harriet's Happiest Halloween" at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Chesapeake Theater at Harford Community College in Bel Air. Youngsters are invited to wear costumes as they join Harriet on her trick-or-treat adventures. Tickets are $3 and are available at the theater box office. Phone 879-8920, Ext. 340.
* Tales of terror. Storyteller Cindy Guthrie will share chilling ghost stories at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Spoutwood Farm in Glen Rock, Pa. On Saturday, children and adults will be able to make witch's wreaths -- for good luck -- from herbs and flowers. The farm is four miles southwest of Glen Rock off routes 216 and 851. For more information, call 1-717-235-6610.
Trick-or-treat safety tips
For those ghosts and goblins -- and Simpsons and Supermen, zTC too -- who will be taking to the streets for Halloween, here are some safety tips from the Automobile Club of Maryland:
* It is best to trick-or-treat while it's still light outside.
* If you do go out in the dark, wear a costume that is light in color and use reflective tape on costumes so drivers will be able to see you.
* Carry a flashlight to help you see and be seen.
* Be sure you can walk and see easily in your costume.
* Wear makeup instead of a mask.
* An adult should accompany all children.
* Plan your trick-or-treat route ahead of time, picking well-lighted streets and letting someone at home know where you are planning to go.
* Cross streets only at corners.
* If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
* Wait until you get home to sort, check and eat your treats.