Get ready for a bounty of Halloween happenings around town

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‘Tis the weekend for goblins and superheroes, witches and fairy tale princesses. Don’t wait until Oct. 31 to celebrate Halloween. When it comes to Halloween in East Tennessee, you can be as scared as you want to be.

Some events, like the Knoxville Zoo’s annual Boo! at the Zoo are geared to families and designed not to be frightening. Events like ghost tours of downtown Knoxville offered by two historic sites may be just scary enough to give participants some thrills and shivers. More intense “haunted” houses, corn mazes and forests use costumed, chainsaw-carrying actors, strobe lights and sound effects to create really terrifying experiences.

Here are few ways East Tennesseans mark the occasion:

Friday is a freaky time in Farragut. The annual “Freaky Friday Fright Night” is 5-7 p.m. Oct. 29. The event at Mayor Bob Leonard Park on Watt Road for children ages 12 and younger and their families includes games and treats. Organizers ask participants to donate items for the Ronald McDonald House. That list is on www.townoffarragut.org.

A longtime event gets a new name and place. The Knoxville Police Department’s Halloween event is now Halloween on the Plaza and is at the Mary Costa Plaza at the Knoxville Coliseum, 500 Howard Baker Jr. Ave. The event for years was at Safety City and called Halloween in the City. Halloween on the Plaza is 5-8 p.m. Oct. 31. There’ll be free games, face painting, food and candy.

The Knoxville Zoo this year extended its annual not-too-scary Boo! at the Zoo all the way to Halloween. The final weekend is 5:30-8 p.m. Oct. 28-31. Children dressed in Halloween finery walk the Boo! Trail to trick-or-treat. There’s a “Monster Mash” tent set up for games and music. Boo! tickets are $6 a person. Children under age 2 get in free. Parking is $5 a vehicle.

Remember those scary stories you used to tell each other at summer camp? The stories told at walking tours by Blount Mansion and James White’s Fort have an historic bent. Both take people along downtown Knoxville as guides tell legends, yarns and ghost stories. Who knows? Some of them might be true. They certainly make good Halloween fare. Blount Mansion’s “Ghosts and Ghouls Walking Tour” is 6,7 and 8 p.m. Oct. 25-28 and 7, 8 and 9 p.m. Oct. 29-30. Costumed guides led these lantern-lighted walks. Cost is $10 a person; tours start at the mansion’s visitor center, 200 W. Hill Ave. James White’s Fort, 205 E. Hill Ave., offers at least nine stories on its “Hearthscares” tours Oct. 25-30. Participants should be at the fort by 7:15 p.m.; tours start at 7:30 p.m. Cost for this walking tour of spooky tales is $8 for adults, $6 for children ages 3 -17.

More historic Halloween is offered 4-8 p.m. Oct. 30 at Marble Springs State Historic Site, 1220 W. Gov. John Sevier Highway. Children trick-or-treat at the site’s cabins. There’s apple cider, a bonfire and ghost stories. Cost is $5 for ages 16 and older, $2 for ages 2-15.

A haunted house, arts and crafts and music are part of the 7th annual Pumpkin Festival 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 30 at Oak Ridge’s Grove Center, 123 Randolph Ave.

Perhaps you’d enjoy the season with a play. The Children’s Theatre of Knoxville presents Roald Dahl’s “The Witches” at its 800 Tyson St. theater 7 pm. Oct. 28-30 and 3 p.m. Oct. 31. Tickets are $12, $10 each for an adult and child attending together. Get tickets at 865-599-5284.

Want to get really scared? Plenty of ghouls are happy to horrify at some of the area’s more intense attractions. Among them are the terrifying creatures that appear out of the corn at the “Trail of Doom” at Oakes Farm’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch, 8240 Corryton Road. The very haunted maze is open 7-10 p.m. Oct. 25-28; 7-11 p.m. Oct. 29-30. Admission is $15 for adults; $13 ages 10 and younger. Other extreme scares include Frightworks Haunted House, 6634, Central Avenue Pike, open 7-10 p.m. Oct. 27-28, 7 p.m.-midnight Oct. 29-30 and 7-11 p.m. Oct. 31. Admissions range from $13 for one haunt to $30 for a skip-the-line ticket so you can get scared quicker. The Dead Man’s Farm Haunted House and Haunted Hayride of Horror is at 9567 Highway 11 in Lenoir City. This fright is open 7-10 p.m. Oct. 27, 7-11 p.m. Oct. 28, 7 p.m.-midnight Oct. 29-31. Tickets are $13 for the haunted farm experience; $12 for the horrifying hayride.

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Comments » 1

Lioness writes:

I'm trying to find out when people are trick or treating this year. In the past, anytime Halloween falls on Sunday, citizens have been told to go whichever day (Saturday or Sunday) that they choose. I've always chosen Saturday. This year, however, I've heard that it's been designated for us and the day is definitely Sunday. Can anyone shed some light on this subject? Thanks...

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