As dusk falls, deranged clowns, shambling zombies, a towering pumpkin-headed giant and other creepy creatures begin to emerge at Frontier City.
And visitors are invited to check out the theme park's new asylum — and hope they get to check out again.
The theme park is celebrating the Halloween season with its annual FrightFest, and this year, the festival's centerpiece, the Nightmare Haunted House, has become The Nightmare Institute, which — the story goes — benefactor Dr. Albert Nightmare has opened for “the distressed.”
More like to cause distress, as the winding Nightmare Institute is packed with all sorts of frights and freaks, from eerie paintings barely visible under strobing lights and gory fake viscera splattering the walls to menacing “patients” eager to leap out or silently sneak up on the daring souls who enter.
As usual, the long-running attraction is drawing big crowds to Frontier City, where the regular admission to the Nightmare Haunted House is $5 in addition to regular park admission. The Fast Pass that allows patrons to skip the worst of the line is $10.
For those unwilling to brave The Nightmare Institute, which is recommended for attendees 12 and older, Frontier City also offers three “Scare Zones” — The Trollway, Psycho Circus and Route 666 Motel — where parkgoers can experience a quick scare. For families with children 10 and younger, the BooVille Trick-or-Treat Trail is open from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Kiddie Land.
While Frontier City's FrightFest remains popular, an uncanny array of Halloween-theme events and attractions, from the whimsical to the terrifying, is marking the spooky season all around Oklahoma. For more blood-chilling and family-friendly options, go to newsok.com/events or www.travelok.com
Frontier City's FrightFest
Check out the Nightmare Institute and other eerie attractions during the theme park's seasonal celebration from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday and Nov. 1, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and Nov. 2 and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday at Frontier City, 11501 N Interstate 35 Service Road. Information: 478-2140 or www.frontiercity.com.
Magic Lantern Celebration
Experience “a night of light instead of fright” Sunday at this annual Paseo Arts District event, organized by Theatre Upon a StarDanceSwan. From 3 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, children can make their own costumes, and from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., they can join the StarDanceSwan dancers and Steve McLinn of Ojas Music for “Spin and Sparkle,” when they can parade in their costumes. Information: 525-2688 or www.thepaseo.com.
Haunt the Zoo for Halloween
Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Zoo's trick-or-treating festival. Spend a fall evening with exotic animals, intricately carved jack-o'-lanterns and eco-friendly candy from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday through Thursday at the Oklahoma City Zoo, 2101 NE 50. Information: 424-3344 or www.okczoo.com.
Tour the Tulsa Zoo, 6421 E 36 St. N, with your treat-or-treaters from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Information: (918) 669-6600 or www.tulsazoo.org.
H&8th Night Market
Hear live music from Oklahoma bands Born in November, Dr. Pants, Sugar Free Allstars and Spaghetti Eddie and take your children “truck-or-treating” at local food trucks and at neighborhood businesses and organizations from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday at NW 8 and Hudson in Midtown. It will be the final H&8th Night Market of the year. Information: h8thokc.com.
Check out the autumn wonderland in the Children's Garden at the Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W Reno. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday through Halloween. Activities include pumpkin painting, hay-bale mazes, hourly cider pressing, spooky storytelling and more. Saturday's Halloween Party in Pumpkinville is sold out. Information: www.myriadgardens.org.
Arcadia Lake's Storybook Forest, Edmond
Take the family on a hayride, roast marshmallows and collect goodies from storybook characters from 5:30 to 8:30 nightly through Wednesday at Spring Creek Park, 2½ miles east of Interstate 35 on 15 Street. Information: 216-7471 or www.edmondok.com.
Oklahoma City Theatre Company's ‘Medea by Euripides'
See a disturbing horror story born of ancient myth, with a tale of adultery, betrayal and revenge that is equal parts terrifying and tragic. The production is recommended for theatergoers ages 14 and older. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Civic Center's CitySpace Theatre, 201 N Walker. Information: 297-2264 or www.okctheatrecompany.org.
Lyric Theatre's ‘The Rocky Horror Show'
Check out Lyric's new production of Richard O'Brien's interactive seasonal favorite at 8 p.m. Friday, 8 and 11:59 p.m. Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 7:30 and 11:59 p.m. Thursday at Lyric at the Plaza, 1725 NW 16. Performances continue through Nov. 2. Information: 524-9312 or www.lyrictheatreokc.com.
Oklahoma City Philharmonic's ‘Phil Phone Home'
Hear the orchestra perform a family-friendly concert that explores the music of science fiction films and television shows at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N Walker. The instrument playground and other hands-on activities begin at 1 p.m. Information: 842-5387 or www.okcphilharmonic.org.
Check out the four-story downtown haunted attraction, featuring set design and special effects inspired by Hollywood movies, at 530 S Broadway Ave. from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday and Wednesday through Nov. 2. Information: 237-2803 or thesanctuaryokc.com.
Bricktown Haunted Warehouse
Brave this longtime local favorite, which opens at dusk nightly through Halloween in the Coca-Cola Bricktown Events Center, 425 E California, which fittingly is the former home of the Oklahoma Casket Co. Information: www.bricktownokc.com.
Bright Night of Superheroes
Dress up like your favorite caped crusader and test your Spider-senses in the rope maze, witness Hulk-like transformations and take in more super-science fun from 6 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday at Science Museum Oklahoma, 2100 NE 52. The event goes all night. One adult is required for every six children attending. Register by calling (405) 602-3760 or emailing email@example.com. Information: www.sciencemuseumok.org.
Celebrate the season with trick-or-treating, mermaid and pirate dive shows and carnival-style games from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday at the Oklahoma Aquarium, 300 Aquarium Drive. Information: (918) 296-3474 or www.okaquarium.org.
Museum of Osteology's Halloween Bash
Look at the bones, check out live insects and reptiles, do a little trick-or-treating and get discounted admission from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the skeleton museum, 10301 S Sunnylane. Information: 814-0006 or www.museumofosteology.org.
Trick-Orr-Treating and Costume Contest
Take in a sprawling corn maze, pumpkin patch and hayrides from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Orr Family Farm, 14400 S Western. Trick-or-treating begins at noon, and the costume contest starts at 5 p.m. Information: 799-3276 or www.orrfamilyfarm.com.
Martin Park Nature Center's ‘Ye Olde Hallows Eve'
Take in a free old-fashioned Halloween festival with a howling contest, cockroach races and more family-friendly outdoor activities from 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 2 at the park, 5000 W Memorial. Preregistration is required for the pumpkin Olympics and “monster” costume contest. Information: 755-0676 or www.okc.gov/parks/martin_park.
Haunt the River
Check out the Zombie Zip, Candy Corn Climb, Ghost Bounce, Kreepy Kayak Zone and more from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday in the Boathouse District of the Oklahoma River, 725 S Lincoln Blvd. Information: 552-4040 or oklahomariverevents.org.
Haunt the River Cruises
Leave the safe harbor of the Exchange Landing, 1503 Exchange Ave., at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday for a fun and frightening voyage on the Oklahoma River. The Halloween-theme cruises are intended for adults. Reservations are required. Boarding is at 7:45 p.m. Information: 702-7755 or www.okrivercruises.com.
Hear The Choke, Love Cobra and Shutdown Shutouts at 8 p.m. Thursday at The Opolis, 113 N Crawford. Information: www.opolis.org.
Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) Street Festival, Norman
Check out the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art's all-ages celebration of Day of the Dead, a holiday recognized in numerous Latin American countries that features food, music and art in celebrating the lives of those who have passed away. Presented with University of Oklahoma Student Life, the street festival is set for 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 1 at the southeast corner of Boyd and Elm and will feature remembrance altars, live performances and hands-on art activities. Information: www.ou.edu/fjjma.
‘Macabret: A Spooktacular Halloween Revue,' Edmond
Listen to the University of Central Oklahoma Musical Theatre Division present an evening of seasonal pop-rock favorites in its fundraiser show at 6:30 and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5:30 and 8 p.m. Sunday at the UCO Jazz Lab, 100 E 5. Information: 974-3375 or www.ucojazzlab.com.
Wormy Dog Halloween Bash
Hear Mont Lyons, Them Hounds and White Mule for free at 9:30 p.m. Thursday at the Wormy Dog Saloon, 311 E Sheridan. Doors open at 8 p.m. Information: www.wormydog.com.
‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari'
Watch and listen as Breck McGough, a composer from Haworth, performs an original score he wrote for a free screening of the cult classic 1920 German silent horror film at 7 p.m. Friday at The Paramount, 701 W Sheridan Ave. on Film Row. The screening/performance is part of a triple feature that also will include the world premiere of movies created by local filmmakers Spike Alkire and Mickey Reece. Information: 517-0787 or www.theparamountokc.com.
‘Birth of the Living Dead' and ‘Night of the Living Dead'
See George A. Romero's 1968 horror classic, along with a new documentary about the making of his influential zombie flick, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art's Noble Theater, 415 Couch Drive. The museum is offering free admission for moviegoers in Halloween costumes or past deadCenter Film Festival T-shirts — and for zombies, of course. Information: 236-3100 or www.okcmoa.com.
‘Evil Dead: The Musical,' Drumright
See the horrifically humorous stage show based on Sam Raimi's cult classic film franchise at 8 p.m. Friday and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Scream Country Haunted Forest's Boomstick Theater, 15853 W 101 St. S. Information: (918) 409-0274 or www.evildeadok.com.
Scream Country Haunted Forest and Hayride, Drumright
Take a “Curse of the Slender Man” hayride or brave the “Slender Forest Haunted Trail” from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 to 11 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Nov. 1 and 2. Information: (918) 607-3327 or www.screamcountry.com.
Trail of Terror, El Reno
Get spooked along the trail or in the Haunted Barn from dusk to 10:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Thursday at 2701 W 10. Information: www.trailofterror.org.
Haunted Castle Halloween Festival, Muskogee
Find thrills for the entire family from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Thursday and Nov. 1 and 2 at the Castle of Muskogee, 3400 Fern Mountain Road. Information: (800) 439-0658, or www.okcastle.com.
The Hex House, Tulsa
Explore an extreme haunted attraction based on a real event in Tulsa's past from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday and Wednesday through Nov. 2 at the southeast corner of 71st and Memorial. Information: www.thehexhouse.com.
Terror on 10th Street Haunted House
Be terrorized from 7 to 11 nightly through Nov. 2 during a tour telling the ghostly history of the house at 2005 NW 10. Information: 232-1816.