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Frights and fun for all: Halloween events range from family friendly to downright scary

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 12:01 am

Are you looking for non-scary, family-friendly Halloween fun? Or do you prefer zombie walks, spooky movies and ghost tales?

Whatever your preference, check out our list of local Halloween events to find something that suits your idea of fun:

Wild Zoo Halloween

This is the place to go if you seek adventure, family fun and treats suitable for pint-sized guests.

At the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, you can explore three Treat Trails, join the Monster Mash dance party, meet Broomhilda the friendly witch, discover the Mummy's Kitchen, visit the Beauty Shop of Horrors and more.

Kids also can choose their own kid-sized pumpkin from the Pumpkin Patch. Costumes are encouraged; kids can join the daily costume parade. Ride the train and listen to the “Tale of the Twisted Tree” as you venture into the Franke Park woods.

Animal exhibits in the Central Zoo, the Indiana Family Farm and portions of the Australian Adventure will be open.

New this year is Princess Day on Oct. 27, when youngsters can meet Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Tiana in person. Other theme days include:

•Oct. 19: Free Train Rides.

•Oct 20: Star Wars Day.

•Oct. 21: Mascot Day.

•Oct 25: Free Train Rides.

•Oct. 26: Pumpkin Decorating Workshop.

•Oct. 27: Princess Day.

•Oct 28: Magic Day.

Detailed schedules of all Wild Zoo Halloween activities are on the zoo's website at http://kidszoo.org/events/wild-zoo-halloween/.

Families, scouts, youth groups and schools can enter the second annual Scarecrow Safari contest. Scarecrows will be on display throughout the Wild Zoo Halloween. Each participating group will be entered to win a free zoo field trip package valued at $139.

All treats offered at the Wild Zoo Halloween are palm-oil-free or are manufactured by companies that are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). This is important to the zoo because the sustainable production of palm oil is crucial to the survival of orangutans. The animals' rain forest habitat is often destroyed to create poorly managed and unsustainable palm-oil plantations, according to a zoo news release.

Admission for the Wild Zoo Halloween is $8 for children and $4 for adults. Zoo members get $2 off per person every day. Additional fees are charged for the train ride, pony ride, carnival-style games, bracelet-making and face painting. Food is available for purchase.

The Wild Zoo Halloween is open noon-5 p.m. Oct. 19-21, 25-28 and 31.

The zoo remains open for the regular season through Sunday.

Fright Night, Oct. 20

The biggest day for Halloween activities is Oct. 20, otherwise known as Fright Night.

This is the fifth year for Fright Night, which is held in conjunction with the Downtown Improvement District. There will be more than 20 activities for people of all ages throughout the day:

•Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S. Calhoun St.: Pumpkin Zone. Enjoy pumpkin crafts, games and snacks 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Ages 2 and under are free; 3-17 years $3; adults $5. “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Doors open at 8 p.m.; movie starts at 9:15 p.m. Brad and Janet seek shelter on a rainy night from the bizarre Dr. Frank N. Furter. $1 3-17 years; $2 adults. Those 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. www.botanicalconservatory.org

•Embassy Theatre, 121 W. Jefferson Blvd.: Indiana Paranormal Inquisitor's Hunt for the Embassy Ghost. This special offering for ghost-hunt enthusiasts is a rare opportunity to spend the night at the Embassy Theatre. 11 p.m.-4 a.m., $60, includes ghost hunt and T-shirt. Reservations through Indiana Paranormal Inquisitor, jackieinquisitor@frontier.com or by calling 760-3644. “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” with Dennis James on the Grande Page organ, 7 p.m. This 1919 black-and-white film is one of the greatest horror movies of the silent film era. $8 for adults; $5 for students. Embassy Tunnel Tours, 4:30-6:30 p.m. and 7:30-10 p.m. Tours run every 10 minutes. Fort Wayne Shadow Chasers lead patrons on a tour of the belly of the Embassy with tales about the resident ghost and other frightful historic legends. $5. www.fwembassytheatre.org

•Main branch of the Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, lawn area: Zombie Machine, 2-5:30 p.m. Get zombified in the DID Zombie Machine face-painting station. Enjoy live performances and activities. Free. Zombie Walk: Starts at the main library at 5:30 p.m. on Wayne Street. Zombies parade through downtown on Calhoun, Columbia and Harrison streets. www.FrightNightdowntown.com. Worlds Collide: The All Fandom Ball: 7 p.m., doors open at 6:45 p.m. Come dressed in your favorite cosplay, steampunk or zombie attire for dancing and fun. Free for ages 12 and up; registration required. 421-1255.

•Community Center, 233 W. Main St.: Halloween Haunt. 2-5 p.m. This family-friendly event includes kids' crafts and games, such as Halloween cornhole, pumpkin bowling and pick-the-pumpkin. Free.

•The History Center, 302 E. Berry St.: Explore the Calaboose. 5-9 p.m. Explore the Old City Jail as inmates did until 1971. $2 per person. www.fwhistorycenter.com

•Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Fort Wayne, 1150 S. Harrison St.: 6-9 p.m. Bonfire at The Courtyard serving Fright Dogs and Blood Soup. Champions restaurant will have a scary menu and employees in costume. 490-3629.

•Cinema Center, 437 E. Berry St.: 6-10 p.m. Braineater's Ball. Art, music, dancing and a movie. Free. www.cinemacenter.org

•Historic Fort Wayne (Old Fort), 1201 Spy Run Ave.: Old Fort Lantern Tours. 6:30-10 p.m. Lantern light tours and tales of paranormal experiences. $2 adults; free under 12 with an adult. www.oldfortwayne.org

•Fort Wayne TinCaps/Parkview Field, 1301 Ewing St.: Live Music and Kids Scavenger Hunt. 5-8 p.m. Come see Johnny at the ballpark and take part in the scavenger hunt while listening to live music. Free. www.TinCaps.com

•Grand Wayne Convention Center/Hilton Hotel, 120 W. Jefferson Blvd.: Ghostly Gala. 6-8 p.m. Family-friendly costume dance and parade. Free. The Ikasucon Halloween Rave. 7:30 p.m.-midnight. Dance and costume contest. $5 admission; 12 and under to be accompanied by an adult. www.grandwayne.com

•Indiana Hotel Lobby, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd.: Spooky Stories. 6-8 p.m. Sit for a spell in the Indiana Hotel Lobby and listen to spooky stories. Free. www.fwembassytheatre.org

•ARCH Inc.: “Murder, Mystery & Mayhem: Historic Tales of Fort Wayne's

Nefarious Past”

walking tours. 6-10 p.m. Tours go out every hour on the hour. Learn the true dark history of Fort Wayne from disastrous building collapses to hangings and bloody battles. This tour may not be suitable for all ages, but all ages are welcome. $10 adults; $5 6-17 years; free ages 5 and younger. Tours leave from the Indiana Hotel Lobby, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd. www.archfw.org

ARCH Inc.: Ghost Hunt at the Canton Laundry, 1014 and 1016 Broadway, 7-11 p.m. Join TRAMPS paranormal group as they hunt for ghosts in the Canton Laundry buildings recently acquired by ARCH. The hunts will run every 30 minutes and groups will be limited to 20 people. Registration is required at the main library plaza 2:30-5 p.m. $2 per person paid at registration. www.archfw.org

•ARCH Inc.: Ghost Hunt at Alexander T. Rankin House

. Join the Fort Wayne Indiana Ghost Trackers as they hunt for ghosts in the Alexander T. Rankin House, 818 Lafayette St., 7-11 p.m. The hunts will run every 15 minutes and groups will be limited to 15 people. Registration is required at the library plaza 2:30-5 p.m. Cost: One can of food per person to be donated to Community Harvest Food Bank. www.archfw.org

•Fort Wayne Dance Collective, at University of Saint Francis Performing Arts Center (formerly Scottish Rite), 431 W. Berry St.: “Fright Nightmares” 7 p.m. FWDC presents its fourth annual Halloween show with choreography by seven local artists. The performance will include several pieces with live vocal accompaniment by the world champion gold medalist Voices of Unity Choir. The 25 local dancers will perform dances with themes that vary from being abducted by aliens to being chased by the unknown to being locked in a cage with remnants from the movie “Carrie.” This performance is not appropriate for children under 12. $15. Purchase tickets by calling 422-4226 or going online to www.tickets.artstix.org

•Artlink. Auer Center for Arts and Culture, 300 E. Main St.: During the day, Dawn Pursel will “knit bomb” the trees in front of the Arts United Center on the plaza. Dead Artist Ball. 6-9 p.m. Dress as your favorite artist. Artlink also will celebrate the opening of three exhibitions: “Letter.Words.Books. Exhibit,” “A Celebration of Freedom Exhibit” and artwork by Audrey Riley. Free to Artlink members; suggested $2 donation for the general public. www.artlinkfw.com