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.