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Remember when Halloween was a one-night affair? Now the spooky season stretches from mid-September through October, much to the delight of boos and ghouls of all ages. Throughout the lead-up to Halloween, theme parks are pulling out the stops with special evening events, from gentle hayrides to jump-out-of-your-skin scare zones. Keep in mind that everything seems scarier in the dark, so choose wisely with your children's ages and sensibilities in mind. Here are some of the many Halloween events going on at theme parks around the country:

The Count's Halloween Spooktacular (Info: www.sesameplace.com)
Where: Sesame Place: Langhorne, PA
When: Weekends only, September 24 to October 30
What to expect: Little ones can go trick-or-treating in their costumes, take a hayride, walk through Count von Count's castle, see the "Countdown to Halloween" musical show featuring their favorite characters, and more.
Best for: 2 to 10

HallowBoo! (Info: www.idlewild.com)
Where: Idlewild: Ligonier, PA
When: Weekends only, October 1-23
What to expect: This gentlest intro to Halloween includes trick-or-treating through Storybook ForestÂ?meeting Ricky Raccoon and other charactersÂ?specially themed rides and attractions, games and a walk-through maze, favorite fall foods.
Best for: 2 to 8

Kid-o-ween (Info: www.wildadventures.com)
Where: Wild Adventures: Valdosta, GA
When: Weekend days only, October 2-31
What to expect: Children can trick or treat in the park, explore a kooky maze created out of hay bales, hop on the sing-a-long train ride, boogie in their costumes at the Monster Mash Dance Party, and stop at craft stations to create take-home souvenirs. Keep in mind: at 6 pm, the park starts up its Phobia festivities, which might be too scary for the under-12 set.
Best for: 2 to 8

Mickey's Halloween Party (Info: http://disneyland.disney.go.com)
Where: Disneyland: Anaheim, CA
When: Select dates, September 30 to October 31
What to expect: The frightfully fun evening includes meeting with Disney charactersÂ?especially "villains" such as Captain Hook and Cinderella's stepsistersÂ?at treat stations, doing arts and crafts, going on rides, and enjoying live entertainment. Your tickets (which start at $49 per person) also get you into the park three hours before the usual event start time.
Best for: 3 to 8

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (Info: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com)
Where: Disney World: Orlando, FL
When: September 13 to November 1
What to expect: Arrive in costume for trick-or-treating with your favorite Disney characters (they'll be wearing their Halloween outfits, too), and don't miss the expanded Mickey's "Boo-to-You" Halloween Parade, featuring the "Happy HalloWishes" fireworks spectacular.
Best for: 3 to 11

Brick-or-Treat Party Nights (Info: http://california.legoland.com)
Where: LEGOLAND: Carlsbad, CA
When: Saturday evenings, October 1-29
What to expect: Kids in costume can visit "Brick-or-Treat" stations stocked with candy and healthy snacks and the "Brick-o-Lantern" craft station where they build a LEGO pumpkin. There are also live shows, fireworks, and weekly costume contests. You can brick-or-treat on Sundays, too.
Best for: 4 to 11

Howl-O-Fest (Info: http://howlofest.visitkingsisland.com)
Where: Kings Island: Cincinnati, OH
When: Weekends only, noon-5:30pm, October 10-31
What to expect: This afternoon G-rated event is expanding in its second year to offer more family-friendly fare, including a giant indoor maze, petting zoo, mask painting, trick-or-treating and a kids-only dance party.
Best for: 3 to 9

Howl-o-Scream and Halloween Spooktacular (Info: www.seaworldparks.com)
Where: SeaWorld: Orlando, FL
When: Weekends from September 30 to October 30
What to expect: Kick off your October weekends early with the park's Spooktacular: Have breakfast with the Count, Elmo and friends, then decorate pumpkins, check out the scarecrow stiltwalkers, and go trick-or-treating. After 6 pm, the fun gets a little scarier, with Howl-o-Scream scare zones, live shows and Jack's Frightmare Forest.
Best for: 4 to 8 until 6 pm; best for older kids after 6pm.

Hersheypark in the Dark (Info: www.halloweeninhershey.com)
Where: Hersheypark: Hershey, PA
When: Weekends only, October 14-30
What to expect: It's off to Hersheypark for exciting rides, entertainment, favorite fall foods, storytelling and flashlight strolls through a garden of jack-o-lanterns. AndÂ?of courseÂ?plenty of chocolate.
Best for: 4 to 12

Screams (Info: www.screamspark.com)
Where: Screams Halloween Theme Park: Waxahachie, TX
When: September 30 to October 30
What to expect: Billed as "The World's Largest Halloween Theme Park," this Dallas-area park delivers five haunted attractions including a castle of darkness, ghoulish graveyard, and spooky "klown" maze. You can also see classic horror movies on the big screen.
Best for: 12 and up

Fright Fest (Info: http://frightfest.sixflags.com)
Where: Six Flags Theme Parks: Nationwide
When: Select dates, September 24 to October 31
What to expect: The entire park is transformed with creepy scenes and scare-actors that lurk in the shadows. Rides are spookier, too, thanks to special effects in the darkness.
Best for: 12 and up

Halloween Horror Nights (Info: www.halloweenhorrornights.com)
Where: Universal Orlando Resort: Orlando, FL
When: Select dates, September 23 to October 31
What to expect: Now in its 21st year, Universal's Halloween Horror Nights is promising to be the most frightening ever, with eightÂ?count 'em, eightÂ?chilling haunted houses, six scare zones with no escape, and a host of demented fiends such as The Storyteller, Jack the Clown, and The Caretaker.
Best for: 16 and up

Halloween Horror Nights (Info: www.halloweenhorrornights.com)
Where: Universal Studios: Universal City, CA
When: Select dates, September 23 to October 31
What to expect: Haunted walk-through attractions, roaming scare-actors, and nightmare-inducing rides, shows and attractions. One maze this year is "Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare." Heed the warning: "No kids, no costumes, no wusses."
Best for: 16 and up

Halloweeen Haunt (Info: www.visitkingsisland.com)
Where: Kings Island: Cincinnati, OH
When: Weekends, 7pm-1am, September 24 to October 30
What to expect: Billed as "the most immersive horror experience in the Midwest," this after-dark attraction features 500 ghostly creatures and 13 haunted attractions, including the blood-filled slaughter house, a pirate-themed "Cut Throat Cove" maze, and a vampire-populated stage show. There's nowhere to hide, with "roamers and creepers" jumping out from the dark recesses of the park.
Best for: 16 and up

Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt (Info: http://haunt.knotts.com)
Where: Knott's Berry Farm: Buena Park, CA
When: Wednesday to Sunday throughout October, plus October 31
What to expect: Now in its 39th year, this 160-acre living horror movie is filled with 13 chilling mazes, seven hair-raising shows, four horrific scare zones, and a cast of a thousand monsters roaming for their next victim. This one is for grown-ups, folks.
Best for: 16 and up

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