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Events That Go Bump In the Night

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When you think about it, Halloween is a pretty creepy idea. What we’re celebrating here is the dead, the undead and just about every godless, flesh-eating, bloodsucking thing that wanders the earth moaning in despair.

It’s a holiday to fuel little kids’ nightmares. Or maybe we’re trying to bring back some mystical dark age when we all cowered in caves, in fear of the dark, making up stories about what was out there.

On the other hand, it’s also kind of cool. Halloween is an opportunity for grown-ups to trot out their transvestite--or rather, dress-up--fantasies. Kind of like airing out the psyche.

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This year, a lot of cities and organizations have their own Halloween celebrations. These private and public parties, of course, are an outgrowth of the very real fears society has developed in the wake of too many razor-blade-in-the-apple scares. But no matter; some of them look fun.

At the First Congregational Church in Long Beach on Friday, a screening of Lon Chaney’s 1925 silent film classic “The Phantom of the Opera” will be accompanied by Gaylord Carter on the church’s enormous pipe organ. This is the way the movie should be seen, not just with a pipe organ, but with Carter playing.

At 88, Carter is one of the last remaining accompanists from Hollywood’s silent film era and is still considered a master of the craft. This is a man who was actually playing the old movie houses when Chaney’s most famous film first came out.

Tickets are a $10 donation for the 8 p.m. screening and go on sale an hour before the show. Tickets can also be purchased today from 11 a.m. to noon at the church, 241 Cedar Ave. Information: (310) 436-2256.

Or, for real thrill-seekers, the Travelers Aid Society in Long Beach is putting on a “Scream in the Night” haunted house. They’ve got a three-legged hound from hell, exploding heads, a human torture chamber and a restaurant. They don’t say, however, who is eating what, so we would advise caution here.

The haunted house will run from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday at 406 Pine Ave., next to the Long Beach Plaza Mall. No one under 13 will be admitted. Tickets are $10, $6 for those younger than 18. Information: (310) 437-0751.

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Or here’s a change: a dinner-dance-mystery theater piece called “A Halloween Country Murder,” being performed at the Paddison Farm in Norwalk.

The cost for this one is $75 per person but you get the meal, dancing, secured parking and a bit of interactive theater for the price, tax and tip included. Presented by Robert Badal Productions and Romancing L.A. Theatre, the mystery plays Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. at the Paddison Farm, 11951 E. Imperial Highway. Information: (310) 439-7309.

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