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Spook Central

KC haunted houses have the chills that pay the bills.

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ONGOING
Little-known fact: Kansas City's scariest haunted houses, Edge of Hell and The Beast, are just a block away from a halfway house for ex-cons. For years we've been hearing rumors that the West Bottoms spook joints sometimes hire residents from these quasi-correctional facilities to work as monsters. Though most of these recently freed folks are benign, some are inveterate psychopaths who, the story goes, occasionally flip out and murder people they're only supposed to scare.

Supposedly they kill two or three patrons a night, usually with giant Cutco knives. Evidently, the killers target people who are either extremely stoned or gullible enough to believe this story. (Homicidal maniacs can smell senseless fear and weed.)

The police and city officials keep all of this hush-hush, though, because the haunted houses are vital to our tourism economy.

But seriously, we're not about to let scary urban legends keep us from a couple of the best attractions in town, where room after room of cutting-edge scare tactics await. The Edge of Hell (1300 West 12th Street) and The Beast (1401 West 13th Street) are open nightly through Halloween and on November 5 and 6. Tickets are $17; $30 gets you into both. Call 816-842-0320. -- Joe Miller

'Ween 101
Check out these haunts.

10/29-10/31
Because Halloween's on Sunday, the celebrating (read: drinking) must commence Friday night. So here are some options for terrorific times. On Friday, there's drinks, dancing and DJs at KC Gay Pride's Monsterblast at 19th and Main. At Freaky Friday at the Uptown Theater, $5 gets you live music, multiple bars and a costume contest (816-753-8665).

On Saturday, KRBZ 96.5 sponsors a CD-release costume party for Bixby Lane at Jilly's (1744 Broadway, 816-221-4977). At Union Station (30 West Pershing Road), the Bacchus Foundation scares it up with Terror at the Train Station II with DJs Brent Scholz and Mike Dileo (816-753-7278). Also, Missie B's (805 West 39th Street, 816-561-0625) holds a costume party, and Bar Natasha (1911 Main, 816-472-5300) pours candy-corn shots and hands out cash prizes to the best-dressed.

And because nothing says frightening like someone earnestly karaokeing Whitney Houston, on Sunday we'll catch Scary-Oke at The Fox (7520 Shawnee Mission Parkway in Overland Park, 913-384-0369) or the costume party-version of the Brick's awesome karaoke night (1727 McGee, 816-421-1634).

Another scary thought: Monday morning is going to suck. --Jen Chen

Magic Trick
Don't most Americans ignore their families?

SUN 10/31
"The veil between the worlds is thin," says Kim Oursler, "and we make connection." Her ominous promise refers to Ancestor Magic, a $50 altar workshop at the Westport Roanoke Community Center (3601 Roanoke), facilitated by Oloya Tyehimba, the Queen Mother of Kemet, an Egyptian spiritual society. From 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, heritage hounds can bring photos and the personal items of their ancestors (familial or divine, we're told) with whom they wish to connect or strengthen relationships. As the, um, fragile bonds are forged, native spiritual drummers from Tyehimba's region of Egypt provide primal vibrations. Call Oursler at 913-638-2596 for details -- or skip the workshop and just buy a Ouija board. -- Annie Fischer

Writing Blues

SAT 10/30
Writers in the literary scene east of midtown have a hard time making themselves known. The Brother to Brother Literary Symposium, founded by KC writer Vincent Alexandria, wants to change that. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Bruce R. Watkins Center (3700 Blue Parkway) the symposium presents the Author's Pavilion, where local scribes Alexandria, Lloyd Daniel, Frank Clay and Shelly L. Foster showcase their work and chat with readers. Call 816-914-1560. -- Jason Harper

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