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Critics were asked to rate Haunted Houses Old-School Halloween (witches, goblins, ghosts) or New-School Halloween (movie monsters such as Jason and Freddy).

Then they rated the following categories using the 1 to 5 skull rating system:

5 _ Yikes!

4 _ Sweaty palms but no heart failure

3 _ Beats Godzilla versus Rodan

2 _ My report card was scarier

1 _ This category does not apply

Smell _ Dank and musty

Noises _ Grotesque wails, creepy chain sounds

Darkness _ scary or too dark to roam

Cheesy effects (peeled grape eyeballs, spaghetti witch hair, cob webs)

Authenticity of severed body parts/blood

Believability of living person as corpse/monster

Good for little kids but too wimpy for older kids

Scary enough for older kids

Overall spooky atmosphere

Power Pig's Crypt of Terror

Where: 1101 Tampa St., downtown Tampa

Admission: $5 kids, $7 adults

Open: 7-11 p.m. today.

Creepy Critic: Zac Papantoniou, 12, St. Petersburg

Highlights: Zac definitely does not recommend this combo old school/new school Halloween house for little kids. He rates it a big 5 across the board, including creepy noises, to which he adds, a "hacker comes at you with a chainsaw!"

Comments: "This haunted house scared me to death. In fact, before I went in, they gave me a tag stamped DOA or Dead on Arrival. As you go through, it's pitch black _ but watch out, someone might jump from behind the walls. Bloody gore, severed body parts, it's a scream! I don't want to ruin it for you so I won't tell you any more, but parents beware. This is a major nightmare giver!

"P.S. Look for people like Jason, Leather Face, and the Crow."

Creepy Critic: Ashley Elliott, 10, Largo

Highlights: Ashley gives this house one big 5 Skull _ YIKES! She says it was both scary and too dark to roam with a very spooky atmosphere, including authentic severed body parts and blood!

Comments: "I was so scared I jumped out of my pants!"

Creepy Critics: Leah Wiechmann 13, and Julie Varga, 13, both of Clearwater

Highlights: New-School Halloween, best pals Leah and Julie concur. Another vote for a fright factor of 5 with absolutely no cheesy effects.

Comments: "Do not enter this haunted house after eating dinner!"

98 Rock's Nightmare

Where: 1100 Franklin St., downtown Tampa.

Admission: $5 kids, $7 adults

Open: 7-11 p.m. today.

Creepy Critic: Zac Papantoniou, 12, St. Petersburg

Highlights: Another combo Old School/New School Halloween with no cheesy effects. Spooky atmosphere gets a 4, with a fright factor of 5.

Comments: "Nightmare was pretty good, even though its big brother, The Crypt of Terror, was better. In the beginning they give you a death certificate. You see movie monsters like Jason, Freddy and Dracula, and some I've never seen or heard of. But overall, I was scared and that's what counts."

Creepy Critic: Ashley Elliott, 10, Largo

Highlights: Ashley calls it New-School Halloween all the way, and reports another big 5-Skull Yikes!

Comments: "I almost fainted when I came out. It was much better than the Power Pig's, but I loved both! This haunted house had great sound effects and lots of blood and gore! Prepare to be scared out of your wits and don't go in alone!"

Creepy Critics: Leah Wiechmann 13, and Julie Varga, 13, both of Clearwater

Highlights: Julie and Leah again agree on a nice Smell _ dank and musty! Blood and body parts rate a 4, and a marginal fright factor of 4{.

Comments: "Make sure you collect your death certificate! If you go into Power Pig's Haunted House right next door, you receive a dollar off each person in the 98 Rock Haunted House."

Seminole Mall

Admission: $1 all ages

Open: 1-9 p.m. today

Creepy Critic: Shelly Kid, 13, Largo

Highlights: Shelly calls this mall haunted house, Old School Halloween, with contemporary techniques including strobe lights and glow paint. She gives the smell a 5 and adds "very gross in the beginning." The effects are, "Not cheesy, very authentic." Perhaps too scary for younger kids.

Comments: "The Kiwanis Club "Bates Motel' restored my faith in Haunted Houses! The people portraying witches, monsters, etc. interact with the visitors. The element of surprise is alive and well! Our tour guide lent a spectral touch from start to finish. It was such a fright the first time, I did it again! Excellent use of strobe lights and a really rotten smell! The "Bates Motel' will definitely induce some hand-holding (and more!) on a date!"

Creepy Critic: Dottie Morris, Largo

Highlights: Corpses gets a 5, body parts rates a 4. Dottie also gives the fright factor a 4.

Comments: "Sandman will sand you! He wants your body parts next! Roach crawling in the grave yard in which bodies are still lurking and alive!"

Creepy Critic: Heather Nagy, 11, Seminole

Highlights: Smell and sounds rate 3 with Heather, with darkness and fright factor a 5.

Comments: "The host was scary and lots of parts were in the dark. In the middle, lots of things pop out at you. This is a good haunted house for kids of all ages and the costumes were good."

Creepy Critic: Seth Carine, 11, Seminole

Highlights: Seth didn't think as highly of this Haunted House as our other Creepy Critics. He rates it with a Fright Factor of 2.

Comments: "The hands coming out of the wall were neat, and some little kids were crying. The ages of the kids crying were 3 through 6."

Creepy Critic: Lindsey Cherowbrier, 13, Largo

Highlights: Linda says the darkness was scary! The smell gets a 4, but she rates most everything else, including the fright factor, a 5!

Comments: "This is the best I've ever been in!"

Creepy Critic: Kara Gajentan, 14, Largo

Highlights: Kara says this house has no smell at all and she rates noises a 2.5. "They were whacking chains against the walls." She says it was very dark, with strobe lights and black lights and describes hands in the middle and blood on the kitchen walls. Believability of living person as corpse/monster, "depended on which person you went by. Not for little kids. Older kids might like it." For effects, she describes, "roaches cracking underfoot and caskets with dead bodies."

Comments: "Words to the wise . . . watch your back! P.S. Don't be last! They might get you!"

House of Horrors at Great Explorations

Where: Great Explorations, 1120, Fourth St. S, St. Petersburg

Admission: Ages 4-17, $4; Ages 18-65, $5; Ages 66-over, $4.50 (includes price of museum)

Open: 5-10 p.m. today

Creepy Critic: Ashli Cooper, 13, Clearwater

Highlights: Ashli gives the body parts and blood category an all-time low of 2, with a fright factor of 3.

Comments: "The Haunted House itself was okay, but it took forever to get in."

Creepy Critic: Julie Prescott, 11, St. Petersburg

Highlights: Julie gives noises and body parts a 2, spooky atmosphere a 3, and a fright factor of 4. But she has no comments on the house.

Creepy Critic: Dottie Morris, Largo

Highlights: Dottie rates both Spooky Atmosphere and Fright Factor 3.

No comments.

Creepy Critic: Bryan T. Hannon, 14, Gulfport

Highlights: Bryan says the House of Horrors is scary enough for older kids, with a Spooky Atmosphere of 4 and a Fright Factor of 3.

Comments: "It was pretty weird. They had some really spooky parts like a shower scene and going through the closet. I think it was more to make you think and to surprise you than to gross you out."