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Haunted Houses


From Dark Pages: Three and a half stars

Morris-Butler House

Finally, a haunted house for people who don’t like haunted houses. From Dark Pages, a progressive mystery play, is an alternative to other spooky venues in town, but not because it isn’t scary. While you won’t find any chainsaw-wielding clowns in the intricately decorated rooms of the historic Morris-Butler House, you will find many colorful figures of 19th century life and literature. You’ll take a trip back in time, and up and down the stairs of the museum, as Sherlock Holmes and his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, lead guests on a caper to find the notorious murderer Jack the Ripper. Other characters you’ll encounter on the suspenseful expedition include Queen Victoria, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Lizzie Borden. Injected with a great deal of history and humor, From Dark Pages is a far (yet still bloodcurdling) cry from other slasher-movie-inspired haunted houses. Through Oct. 27; 317-636-5409. —Kate Franzman

Stonycreek Farm: Five stars

For good old-fashioned family-friendly fun, it’s pretty hard to top Stonycreek Farm’s Pumpkin Festival. It’s aimed squarely at the little ones, but I can confidently say, as a former little one and now as the dad of a little one, that it nails its target. Low-impact haunted houses, a giant inflatable caterpillar to crawl through, hayrides to the gi-freaking-normous pumpkin patch, candle making — all the low-tech, high-entertainment stuff that makes Halloween such a nirvana for kids. My only regret was that I was about 20 years too old to go into the haunted house myself! Plus, it has a game where you use a pumpkin launcher or a corncob cannon to try to ding a canoe in the lake, and if you don’t understand how cool THAT is, you really never were a kid. And at a cost of a buck or two per event, it won’t break the bank, even if you’ve got a whole herd of your own. Through Oct. 31; —Paul F.P. Pogue

Hanna Haunted Acres: Four and a half stars

Indianapolis’ biggest and most ambitious set of haunted nightmares returns with another monstrosity of an event, bringing together five different attractions under one roof … er, field. Hanna’s Haunted Corn Maze is one of the spookiest corn mazes out there (and if you’re heading in, give yourself plenty of time; it’s a hell of a trick to find your way out in less than half an hour in the dark!). Their hayride remains the most elaborate in town, with the hydraulics and effects topping themselves every year. (This time around: giant dragons screaming in your face!) The two main haunted houses, Hell’s Half Acre and Phantasmagoria, are good old-fashioned fright fests. About the only reason it’s not quite a perfect score is because the fifth house, Acres Manor, is a bit of a letdown compared to the others. Incidentally, go ahead and go for the five-attraction deal; at $27 for all five, it’s better than buying individually. Through Oct. 31; —PFPP

Scream on Shortridge: Three and a half stars

Scream on Shortridge’s haunted hayride, now in its fourth year, is a nifty little romp through the woods and old-fashioned frights. It’s a bit low-tech compared to some of the other elaborate setups out there, but hey, it’s for a good cause as Lowell Little League’s major fund-raiser. What it lacks in technical acumen, it makes up for in the dedication and enthusiasm of the performers. And when you consider most of the actors are kid volunteers, it’s all the more impressive. They have a nifty entering atmosphere for such a relatively small event; a blazing campfire surrounded by gravestones is always a good start! For the little ones who might be put off by chainsaw-wielding maniacs climbing into the cart, there’s also the low-scare children’s ride day Oct. 27. —PFPP


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