Halloween: Where to find the goosebumps

Even if slasher films don’t cut it any more and you’ve darkened the door of every haunted house in town, you can still reach into a virtual trick-or-treat bag for scary Halloween weekend options.


Zombie Invasion Movie Marathon and Marietta Zombie Walk

The undead continue shuffling to the top of the creature heap. The Earl Smith Strand Theatre, a lavishly renovated old-school movie house in Marietta Square, answers with a film festival tailor-made for the zombie zeitgeist. It all begins Saturday afternoon with the grandfather of zombie celluloid, 1932’s “White Zombie” starring Bela Lugosi. The remaining films examine zombie culture from the next three decades. “King of the Zombies” (1941) mashes horror with laughs; “Teenage Zombies” (1959) tackles the genre with killer kitsch; and George Romero’s defining classic “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) is the final nail in the marathon’s coffin. The fest has its own halftime at 6 p.m. as guests are invited to either watch or participate in the Marietta Zombie Walk. The costumed walking dead stroll through the square and surrounding streets. Both participants and spectators are asked to bring canned food, which will help pack the pantries of MUST Ministries. Make sure and get there early for either session of flicks, as Halloween-themed sing-alongs featuring the Strand’s theatre organ take place at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Movie times: 2, 3:30, 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday. $8 per movie; $15 for all-day pass. Earl Smith Strand Theatre, 117 N. Park Square, Marietta. 770-293-0080, www.earlsmithstrand.org.


Norcross Ghost Tours

Spectres are big business in downtown Norcross. It’s the busy season for this tour, which blends an area history lesson with the paranormal. Once November arrives, it’s back to private tours. In the meantime guests can soak up the season in ghostly style. Paranormal sleuth Will Aymerich and area historian Sally Toole, the authors of “Souls of Norcross,” are the minds behind the tour. Guides donning period duds take guests around town with a lesson in local lore. Learn about a wealth of alleged activity including a moonshiner’s widow who supposedly haunts the train tracks and a ghostly gravedigger who shovels eternally at the youth football field. Tour tickets can be found at the booth under the pavilion at Thrasher Park. Organizers have been giving guests more boo for the book this month by spotlighting special guests. On Friday and Saturday, Gordon B. Shriver, the author of “Boris Karloff: The Man Remembered,” talks about the legendary horror film actor. If Norcross is too far to haunt, consider other area ghost tours, including Lawrenceville Ghost Tours, the Roswell Ghost Tour, Ghost Tours of Atlanta, the Decatur Ghost Tour and the 26th Annual Tour of Southern Ghosts. The latter takes place at Stone Mountain Park and features six professional storytellers relaying ghost stories at the park’s Antebellum Plantation.

7, 8 and 9 p.m. Through Sunday. $12; $8 ages 5-12; free ages 4 and younger. Thrasher Park, One Park Drive, Norcross. 404-934-4805, www.norcrossghost.com.


Fright Fest at Six Flags Over Georgia

The white-knuckle thrill rides occupying this 44-year-old theme park cause plenty of screams themselves. Yet Six Flags kicks it up a notch for the Halloween season with wailing bells and screeching whistles. Additional creepy attractions, costumed actors, specialty shows and decor deliver tricks and treats to guests. Some existing rides get a seasonal makeover. For instance the Dodge City Bumper Cars becomes Road Rage Cage. Visitors ram into each other’s vehicles amid wafting fog and a head-banging soundtrack. More benign family fare includes a slightly spooky and haunted version of the Riverview Carousel. Scare-seekers can ante up the extra charge to venture inside Dr. Fright’s Frightorium haunted house ($12), hop aboard the Terror Train ($10) and take a shot at The Last Ride ($5). The latter is a coffin simulator that scares up the sensation of being buried alive. A special combo ticket --$25 for regular guests and $20 for season pass holders-- includes all three added pay attractions. More timid visitors can opt for simulated spooks found in the Sega Game Zone and play monstrous home video games.

6-11 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; noon-9 p.m. Sunday. $54.99; $39.99 children 48 inches and shorter. Discounts available online. Six Flags Over Georgia, 275 Riverside Parkway, Austell. 770-948-9290, www.sixflags.com.


Atlanta Ghost Hunters ghost hunt

Ever fantasized about being part of the crew of one of those ghost-hunting reality shows? The Atlanta Ghost Hunters invite brave souls to sign up as guest investigators. The Saturday hunt takes place at Bell, Book & Candle book store. The building dates back to 1872. When the spot was used as a cotton storage facility, two men were reportedly killed by falling bales. Some believe spirits haunt the grounds and say the inspirational book room has the most activity. Learn more from Atlanta Ghost Hunters as they spend the first hour sharing the story of the property and chat about the evidence they’ve found there in the past. After a short break, it’s lights out and the investigation begins. It should end between 1 and 1:30 a.m. Each participant takes home a CD of all audio and a DVD of all video the team gathers that night. These investigations often sell out. Sign up in advance online. If it fills up, there are alternatives. Bell, Book & Candle’s Haunted History Tour ($10 per person) takes place earlier in the evening. The two-hour tour begins at 7 p.m. and ends at the book store. It ventures in and around McDonough Square. Stop by the square at 6 p.m. for the Thriller Halloween Parade. Creatures of all ages are invited to march into the square for a flash mob recreation of the dance sequence from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video.

10 p.m. Saturday. $99. Bell, Book & Candle, 45 John Frank Ward Blvd., McDonough. 770-957-1880, http://www.freewebs.com/henryghosthunters/apps/webstore/.