Halloween is supposedly for kids, but try telling that to the adults who love to put on silly costumes while claiming that the devil made them do it. For every youth-oriented Halloween event there seems to be one geared for grown-ups.
Most fortunate of all are the adults who have the perfect excuse -- namely, children -- to explore haunted houses and other scary sites, a sampling of which we list below.
One of the best-known haunted houses in the area is run by the Towson Jaycees. Now in its 18th year, it's open in the Towson Market Place Mall nightly from 7-11 through Halloween. There is a costume contest Halloween at 8 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for children ages 4-12, and free for those 3 and younger. Call 821-6469.
A haunted house with the cinematic title "House of the Living Dead, Part IV: The Final Chapter" may be visited tonight through Monday, and again on Wednesday, from 7:30-11 p.m. It is sponsored by the Middle River Volunteer Ambulance and Rescue Company, located at 200 Leland Ave. Admission: $4. Call 687-5399.
Another is set up in Cox's Point Park in Essex from 7-11 tonight and Saturday, and Monday and Tuesday from 7-10 p.m. Admission: $1.75. Call 887-0251. A Halloween party will be held tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Northwestern District police station, 5271 Reisterstown Road. Live music and a haunted house will be featured; admission is free. Call 542-7209.
And the Edgemere-Sparrows Point Recreation Council has set up Halloween Haunted Dungeons in Fort Howard Park, open weekends through Nov. 3. Actors in macabre costumes are featured; admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children. Hours are 7-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 7-10 p.m. Sunday, with extra hours set for Monday and Thursday from 7-10 p.m. Call 887-7529.
If houses can be possessed by spirits, there is no reason why museums and other institutions can't be visited by ghosts, too. The Maryland Science Center has its annual Halloween party tomorrow from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Events include a costume contest, demonstrations with a human skeleton, face painting, tarot card reading, and an appearance by a dinosaur named Rex. There are also special showings of the IMAX film "To the Limit" and the Davis Planetarium show "Worlds of Wonder." Admission is $3 for Science Center members and WYST radio Frequent Listener Club members. Non-member admissions are $9.50 for adults and $7.50 for students ages 4-17, military and seniors. Call 685-2370, ext. 327.
Storyteller Lawanda Russell is out to scare kids at the Walters Art Gallery on Sunday at 1 p.m. Afterward, participants may join in a gallery-sketching workshop. Call 547-9000.
Like all Americans, Halloween goblins frequent shopping malls. In fact, tonight at 7 Reisterstown Road Plaza has a scary pumpkin contest. Mall merchants will offer goodies to trick-or-treaters Wednesday from 5-7 p.m.; that night also includes a costume contest at 7 for children ages 12 and under. Call 358-2275.
Cardinal Gibbons School in Southwest Baltimore has its annual Halloween Social and Haunted House on Saturday from 6:30-10 p.m. Free soft drinks and movies may be gobbled up, with pizza, hot dogs and candy for sale. Admission: $4, children 10 and under free. Also on the scholastic front, St. Clement School has ++ its fourth annual haunted house on Saturday from 6-10 p.m. at its 1220 Chesaco Ave. location in Rosedale. Admission: 75 cents.
If you want your thrills in the great outdoors, how about a haunted hike through Gwynn Falls/Leakin Park? Hikes tonight through Sunday from 7-9 have been organized by the Carrie Murray Outdoor Education Camp. Recommended for ages 10 and up, the half-hour hikes leave from 4921 Windsor Mill Road. Among the terrors to be met in the woods are Frankenstein's monster and Dracula, who are no doubt wondering how the census counters could possibly have missed them. Admission: $3, $2 for members. Call 396-0437.
The Baltimore Zoo holds its annual Howl-O-Ween Spooktacular tomorrow and Sunday from noon-4 p.m. Featured are trick or treating at booths placed around the zoo, costume contests, a haunted barn, puppet shows, face painting, and bring-your-own-clothing scarecrow making. Admission to the zoo is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 2-11 and for senior citizens, with children under 2 free. Call 396-7653.
"Boo in the Zoo" offers nocturnal sights and sounds at the Catoctin Mountain Zoo Park in Thurmont from Monday through Wednesday from 6-9 p.m. Designed for kids under 13, "Boo in the Zoo" is described by zoo associate director Dolly Graham as "a non-scary event. There are no Jasons or chain saws here. Our ghosts tend to be friendly." Activities include apple bobbing, scarecrow stuffing, trick or treat stations set up by local businesses, and a spider web-hung bat cave. Admission: $4, $3 for members. Call (301) 271-7488.