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Fright Club

Think you have a ghost of a chance of winning a costume contest? Trying to keep your ghoulish figure? Looking for a monstrously fun time? Wondering witch to do? Get into the spirit of the holiday at these familiar and unfamiliar haunts throughout Orange County.


Creepy doings have a long history in Orange County, it seems. Paul Arbiso, the bell ringer at Mission San Juan Capistrano for 42 years before his death in 1994, liked to tell the story of the Wandering Soldier.

In 1818 the mission was raided by pirates who landed at what is now Dana Point Harbor. Arbiso's tale has it that when the pirates hit the beach, the outnumbered Spanish soldiers at the mission fled . . . except one. He had been hunting that morning and was unaware of the pirates' arrival. He returned to the mission and was searching for his comrades when the pirates waylaid him and cut off his head with a cutlass.

It is believed that the headless soldier can be seen at the mission at night searching for his fellow troops, according to Jerry L. Miller, executive director of the mission. Arbiso even told people that the soldier had waved to him once.

A reenactment of the mission attack will take place at the Pirate Festival in San Juan Capistrano on Saturday. Other Halloween celebrations, for the young and the bold, are also well within your reach:


Four- to 6-year-olds learn about Halloween creepers and make edible treats at Oak Canyon Nature Center, 6700 E. Walnut Canyon Road. Today, 2 p.m. $3. (714) 998-8380.

Seven- to 12-year-olds have "Howl-O-Ween Fun" with crafts and more at the Oak Canyon Nature Center, 6700 E. Walnut Canyon Road. Today, 3:30 p.m. $4.50. (714) 998-8380.

A haunted house will be held at the Anaheim Indoor Marketplace, 1440 S. Anaheim Blvd. Friday through Tuesday, 4-9 p.m. $3. (714) 999-0888.

A Halloween party and costume contest will be held at the Shack, 1160 N. Kramer Blvd. Friday, 7:30 p.m. Features music by Exhibition of Sound, Dr. Package, Trip Hop Clan, Ordained Noetiks and Stellar. (714) 630-0121.

Monster Masquerade will be held at the Crossroads Center, Imperial Highway at East Santa Ana Canyon Road. Saturday, noon-3 p.m. Free. Trick-or-treating at stores for children ages 12 and younger and a costume contest near Vons from 12:30-3 p.m. (714) 255-1006.

"Howlin' Canyon," Halloween parties with crafts, pumpkin games, treats, hikes and more for 6- to 10-year-olds, will be at the Oak Canyon Nature Center, 6700 E. Walnut Canyon Road. Saturday, 4 and 5 p.m. $7.50. Reservations: (714) 998-8380.

A Halloween party will be held at the Learning Light Foundation, 1212 E. Lincoln Ave. Saturday. Dinner, 6 p.m. $15. Five spirit circles. 7:30 p.m. $15 per circle. Magic show. 10 p.m. $15. All three events for $25. Costume judging and dancing. 10 p.m. (714) 533-2311.


Actor John Astin stars in "Edgar Allan Poe: Once Upon a Midnight," a one-man show following the author's life from childhood to his mysterious death, at the Curtis Theatre, 1 Civic Center Circle. Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m. $17-$27. (714) 990-7727.

Halloween Madness will be held at the Brea Marketplace, Birch Street at State College Boulevard. Saturday, noon-3 p.m. Free. Trick-or-treating at stores for children ages 12 and younger and a costume contest near the Bookstar from 12:30-3 p.m. (714) 255-1006.

A Halloween costume ball will be held at Bobby McGee's, 200 S. State College Blvd. Saturday. Prizes for best and most exotic costumes. For 21 and older. (714) 529-1998.

Buena Park

The 28th annual Halloween Haunt, featuring monsters, a ghost town, mazes, scare zones and live shows, including "Elvira's Monster Rock Revue," "The Hanging Starring the Crypt Keeper," "Festival of Freaks Theatre" and more, is at Knott's Berry Farm, 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park. Today-Tuesday, 7 p.m.-2 a.m. $35-$40. (714) 220-5200 or (877) 858-7234.

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament presents its annual "Haunted Castle," featuring a dungeon exhibit and other creepy thrills, along with a show of authentic jousting, swordplay and pageantry. Thursday, Monday and Tuesday, 7 p.m.; Friday, 6:30 and 8:45 p.m.; Saturday, 6 and 8:15 p.m.; Sunday, 5 and 7:15 p.m. $25.95-$37.95, includes a four-course meal you eat with your hands. 7662 Beach Blvd., Buena Park. (714) 521-4740.

Knott's Berry Farm presents its annual Camp Spooky family Halloween event, featuring daytime trick-or-treating, costume contests, the "Witch Waze Maze" and other walk-through entertainment, the "Linus' Great Pumpkin Express" train ride, pumpkin carving demonstrations, "Monster Mash" dance lessons, performances by jugglers and magicians and the premiere of "Spooky Graveyard," a walk-through graveyard inhabited by friendly pumpkin people and playful monsters. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park. Included with park admission, $15-$30. (714) 220-5200.

Costa Mesa

"Little Shop of Horrors," the musical comedy by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken about a nerdy florist who cultivates a man-eating plant from outer space, continues at the Trilogy Playhouse, 2930 Bristol St. Friday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 7 p.m. $15-$17. (714) 957-3347, Ext. 1.

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