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Happy Halloween

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6 real-life haunted houses scarier than theme parks

Most major Halloween scare attractions are running, ready to weird out otherwise functioning adults via mason jars of eyeballs. We love a good traumatic stroll, of course. But the truth is, plenty of things in life are scarier than a deranged carnival barker chasing you down a boardwalk. Here are six ideas for haunted houses that might outdo even Leatherface.

What's new at Halloween Horror Nights, Howl-O-Scream

What's new at Halloween Horror Nights, Howl-O-Scream

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Where the local scares are around Tampa Bay

Where the local scares are around Tampa Bay

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Where the non-spooky events for kids are

Where the non-spooky events for kids are

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  1. Spooky tours get into the spirit of Safety Harbor

    Events

    SAFETY HARBOR

    This quaint little town, incorporated in 1917, isn't known for eerie pre-Civil War mansions or creepy moss-covered cemeteries, but it does have enough purported paranormal activity to warrant a ghost tour.

    Laura Dent stands outside the Hotel Frances. Through her business, Safety Harbor Ghost and History Tours, she offers day (history) and nighttime (ghost) walks along and around Main Street, which are meant to educate, entertain and enlighten.
  2. Mark the date — if you dare — of top Halloween events coming to Tampa Bay this year

    Events

    Here are some of the top Halloween events coming to the Tampa Bay area worth lurking for:

  3. Halloween haunts: Zoo, aquarium, Disney and other attractions tone down scares for kids

    Events

    FAMILY FRIGHTS

    Many attractions tone down the gore for Halloween parties aimed at kids under 12. Here are the biggest ones:

    NEW Creatures of the Night

    Cousins Reagan Kelly, left, and Taylor and Madison Cloversettle take a trick-or-treating break to watch sharks.
  4. Halloween haunts: Here's where the local scares are around Tampa Bay

    Events

    You don't have to drive far to find a place to get scared in Tampa Bay. But after seeing the price tag and long lines of big thrills like Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream and Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, you may just want to stay in town, save some many and check out local frights.

    LOCAL

    Actors emerge from a simulated farmhouse at the center of the Infected haunted house at Scream-A-Geddon in Dade City. (Saturday, September 26, 2015.) [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  5. Halloween haunts: What's new at Halloween Horror Nights, Howl-O-Scream this year

    Florida

    The most wonderful time of the year isn't when the halls are decked with holly, but when they're home to ghouls, ghosts and garish creatures lurking around the corners. Halloween in Tampa Bay means sweating through a toasty Pumpkin Spice Latte, early sunsets on the beach and making room on the calendar for haunted …

    Universal's Halloween Horror Nights is now open at Universal Orlando, with nine haunted houses including one based on 'American Horror Story.' The event also features five scarezones with dozens of  scareactors and two live shows. Photo via Universal.
  6. Things to Do Planner: Labor Day weekend parties, Dog Days at the Rays, Halloween at Disney

    Events

     

     

    It's Labor Day weekend, and once again funky Gulfport will be all decked out for its annual GeckoFest, right. And Shephard's Beach Resort, below, on Clearwater Beach brings an EDM dance party to its Labor Day Beach Weekend.

    Shephard’s Beach Resort’s annual Labor Day Weekend party features several EDM performers.
  7. Dining Planner: Dunedin Orange Festival and celebrating Tampa Bay's best diners

    Food & Dining

    LIQUID GOLD: DUNEDIN ORANGE FESTIVAL

    Slice of orange
  8. Dress like you came to play on the Fourth of July

    Blogs

    Last weekend, I took part in the storied tradition of discount shopping suburbanites everywhere. I got stuck inside Super Target during a rainstorm. Scholars shall write volumes on it as a study in human behavior. Chapter One will chronicle the soaking wet toddler I saw dive headlong into a display of iced tea.

    She's cute.
  9. Temple Terrace ready to show off amenities on holiday

    Events

    TEMPLE TERRACE — Mayor Frank Chillura describes the Temple Terrace Fourth of July parade as an amenity that perfectly plays into the community's "Amazing City" tagline.

    Students from Terrace Community Middle School display their patriotic spirit during last year’s parade.
  10. Lutz takes the cake — and more — when it comes to the Fourth

    Events

    LUTZ — A 60-plus unit parade, a 5K race, a 1-mile family fun run, games, activities, a cake contest and the election of the next Guv'na of Lutz are part of the annual Lutz Independence Day Celebration.

    Layer and sheet cakes themed for the holiday will be auctioned.