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Get paranormal with familiar haunts and a conference

Dale Roe, Go-To Guy

Staff Writer
Austin 360

You'd think with modern technology and all, things would be able to go bump in the daytime, too, right? Especially at indoor events such as haunted houses, where nighttime is as easy to emulate as flicking a switch. Yet here we are in 2011, and a scan of upcoming scary events proves that, as in the Audrey Hepburn movie "Wait Until Dark," you mostly have to, umm, wait until dark.

Maybe we need that anticipatory, twilight commute to really set our nerves on edge. Perhaps the fall of darkness helps to signal the switch from children's events to more terrifying, more adult fare.

Whatever your age and placement on the FTI (Fear Tolerance Index), you'll find an event below to deliver as many scares as you can stomach.

Central Texas Paranormal Conference

The first Central Texas Paranormal Conference will feature speakers from paranormal television shows such as Dustin Pari and the Klinge Brothers. Other speakers include Aron Houdini and Jeff Belanger. The conference will also include paranormal investigations and vendors, aura photography, tarot and palm reading, jewelry, candles, gifts, paranormal investigation teams and ghost hunting equipment.

Location: Norris Conference Center (in Northcross Mall), 2525 W. Anderson Lane

Years in operation: This is the first.

Dates and times: Opened Saturday, continues 9 a.m.-7 p.m. today

Cost: $50-$165

Recommended ages: All ages welcome, but because of some content, the recommended age range is 13 and older

Signature scare: "Ghost hunt" at Neill-Cochran House Museum. You can ghost hunt with the celebrities from the paranormal TV shows.

Website: www.ctparacon.com

Information:413-9114, ctparacon@gmail.com

‘Night of The Living Dead'

Weird City Theatre Company is bringing back its stage version of the classic zombie film.

Location: Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Road.

Years in operation: Four

Dates and times: 8 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 29

Cost: $20 adults; $15 students/seniors

Recommended ages: 15 and up

Signature scare: Zombies surround the audience

Website: www.weirdcity theatre.com

Information: Patti@Weird CityTheatre.com

The House of Torment

Besides its two haunted houses, "The Reckoning" and "Cursed," the House of Torment has just added a zombie shooting gallery and a shop for scary souvenirs. The Travel Channel ranks this as one of America's scariest haunted houses.

Location: 523 Highland Mall Blvd.

Years in operation: Nine

Dates and times: 7 p.m.-midnight Thursday-Oct. 31

Cost: $19.99-$29.99

Recommended ages: Adults and teens; younger children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian

Signature scare: Organizers claim the attraction makes scores of people lose control of their bladders every year.

Website: www.thehouse oftorment.com

Information:407-9449, info@houseoftorment.com

Scare for a Cure: Carnival of Lost Souls

Be ready to run, crawl and get dirty in this intense haunted house. In other words, don't wear your good clothes — especially if you opt for the super-scary "Red Level Ticket." Proceeds benefit the Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas.

Location: 7400 Coldwater Canyon (off City Park Road)

Years in operation: 5

Dates and times: 7:30-11 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, 30, 31; 7:30 p.m.-midnight Friday, Saturday, Oct. 21, 22, 28, 29

Cost: $25-$30; available only through the website.

Recommended ages: 12 and older

Signature scare: Fireballs

Website: www.scarefor acure.org

Information: 669-2581, info@scareforacure.org or volunteer@scareforacure.org

Doc Avery's Haunted House

If you're looking for a haunted house that's not over-the-top frightening, here's one option. Doc Avery's Haunted House is designed to entertain all ages. The event benefits Capital Area Food Bank and other local charities.

Location: 14413 Mowsbury Drive in the Avery Ranch subdivision

Years in operation: Eight

Dates and times: Opens at dusk Oct. 28-31

Cost: $5 per person, or $4 with a food donation.

Recommended ages: All

Signature scare: Vortex tunnel

Website: www.docavery.com .

Information: 238-0677; docaveryhaunt@aol.com.

Fright at the Museum

Who says an educational event can't be creepy? Scientists introduce you to bugs, snakes and other creatures. The event also includes a blood drive with the Blood Center of Central Texas.

Location: Texas Memorial Museum, 2400 Trinity St.

Years in operation: Four

Dates and times: 1-4:45 p.m. Oct. 30

Cost: Free

Recommended ages: All ages are welcome, but the event is geared to kids ages 3-10

Signature scare: According to the event website, they'll "be serving up a variety of creepy, crawly insects for everyone's culinary delight!" Gulp.

Website: www.utexas.edu/tmm/events/fright/index.html .

Information:232-5509, ccid@austin.utexas.edu.

droe@statesman.com; 912-5923