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Haunted houses, costume parties, and trick-or-treating are often seen as the “traditional” Halloween events that many Americans participate in each year. But one of the increasingly popular attractions taking over fall includes a stroll through real creepy crawlies, bats and “unnatural mysteries” at one of the nation’s zoos.

Coined as a “boo at the zoo,” the events attract people of all ages and offer a twist to the standard neighborhood trick-or-treating. As you prepare to make your Halloween plans, take a look at these 5 popular October zoo events:

1. Oakland Zoo  (Oct. 26 and 27)
Children get a free ride on the “spooky boo train” as well as access to exclusive trick-or-treating among the animals at this zoo-wide event at the Oakland Zoo in California. The event is included with admission and offers participants a chance to make treats for the zoo’s animals and explore monster myths through educational stations.

2. Smithsonian National Zoo (Oct. 25, 26 and 27)
Collect candy while visiting the animals and Halloween decorations at the Nation’s historic zoo in DC. While it’s not exactly cheap (tickets are $30 for non-members), the event sells out and benefits the Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) foundation.

3. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Oct. 25, 26, 27 and 31)
Watch hippos play with pumpkins, rhinos explore ghosts and birds fly above your head at the Cheyenne Mountain “Boo at the Zoo” event. The “creatures” of the zoo are “let out” at this annual event as zoo keepers put on multiple educational Halloween-themed shows.

4. Bronx Zoo (Now through Nov. 3)
Encounter a dinosaur safari and creepy craft workshops at the Bronx Zoo’s annual Halloween bash. Visit the “winged icons” of Halloween, including bats, owls and vultures, before embarking on a trip back in time through a dinosaur safari during the annual New York tradition.

5. Tampa’s Lowry Park (Oct. 24 through 27)
The Halloween zoo event at Tampa’s Lowry Park is so frightening that there are “skull ratings” for the attractions. Features include “Pharoh’s Tomb of Revenge” where artifacts come alive and the scariest ranked attraction of all, “Tangled Terror,” which features a “failed experiment” with carnivorous plants.

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Courtesy of The Pixel Perfection

The Halloween season is here and Travel Channel has its fair share of creepy content to keep fans preoccupied through All Hallows’ Eve! If you’re looking for some spooky places to visit this month, check out Travel’s Best Halloween Attractions 2013.

Meet our panel of advisors — including Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, and Ghost Adventures Nick Groff — and see which haunts our panel of advisors chose as the spookiest places to visit in the US, like Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind the Walls, The Haunting of Lemp Brewery and Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Make sure you check out a few fun photos of wicked pumpkin art by pro pumpkin carver Scott Cummins and watch Making Monsters’ Ed Edmunds as he counts down his favorite Halloween haunts.

And speaking of haunts, you don’t want to miss Ghost Adventures’ Transylvania special on Halloween night, Oct. 31, at 9|8c. Join paranormal investigators Zak, Nick and Aaron as they head to Romania for one of their biggest lockdowns ever to uncover the history behind Dracula’s castle.

Before the Halloween lockdown, fans can join the conversation on Ghost Adventures Fan Lair by using the #GAFanLair hashtag; submit fan art via Instagram; answer a GAC (Ghost Adventures Crew) question of the week and more! Don’t forget fans will be able to chat with the guys on the GA Fan Lair, LIVE, in a Google+ Hangout, on Thursday, Oct. 31, at 11|10c. Interact with fans and the Ghost Adventures Crew right after the Transylvania lockdown!

Still looking for more scary haunts? Our Haunted page encompasses all-things Halloween, with details including the Top 10 Vampire Locations, a Monster of the Day and tips on how to avoid ghosts or an alien abductions. It’s spooky travel news you can use!

Every October, normally family-friendly amusement parks transform into terrifying Halloween-themed attractions. Get your adrenaline pumping by taking a trip on an already-hair-raising ride – but in complete darkness. Then, try not to scream like a 14-year-old girl when a “scareactor” attempts to freak you out.

Scarywood

At Silverwood Theme Park’s Scarywood, parents are not encouraged to bring their children during the month of October because it’s … scary. Real scary. Watch out for the ghouls and other “scareactors” that roam the grounds, looking to frighten unsuspecting park-goers. For a particularly harrowing experience, hop aboard the Zombiewood Express, and watch as a group of “zombie killers” picks off the freaky creatures trying to attack the train.

Here’s what you can expect:

Howl-O-Scream

What’s freakier than a super-freaky haunted house? Going through it completely and utterly alone. Start your tour of Busch Gardens Tampa’s Howl-O-Scream with a terrifying tour of the Alone House. After the approximately 20 minutes of horror, you’ll be properly primed for your creepy experience at the Halloween-ified amusement park.

Check out the other thrills Howl-O-Scream offers:

For even more amusement parks-turned-Halloween-playgrounds, be sure to tune in for Halloween Night Frights, premiering tonight at 10|9c.

Villisca Axe Murder House

Calling all Ghost Adventures fans! Tonight, starting at 7|6c, tune in to watch the top 5  episodes that YOU voted for.

First, join the crew as they get locked down in the Stanley Hotel, the house of horrors that inspired The Shining. Then, at 8|7c watch as the guys investigate the Ohio Reformatory, where more than 150,000 criminals were confined to towering cell blocks in the building’s 96-year history. Next, Zak, Nick and Aaron head to Ione, CA, to visit Preston Castle, a reformatory with a history of tragic deaths. At 10|9c, learn about the tormented souls of students who linger at Pennhurst State, a school for the developmentally disabled. READ MORE

Creepy Crypts and Catacombs

Last week, our Pinterest account  lit up with likes and re-pins of one of  our creepiest photo galleries — Creepy Crypts and Catacombs Worldwide — making it the very first winner of our Most Popular Pin of the Week. Apparently, our fellow pinners are in a serious halloween mood. Learn more about some of the world’s most haunting burial grounds and then check out the photo gallery. Warning: you may get the chills.

For more spooky treats and destinations, check out our shared Pinterest board Let’s Celebrate: Halloween.

Catacomb

Forget haunted hayrides and corn mazes. Halloween is more than a day of imaginary spooks. Discover the truly haunting realm of the dead in a tour of the world’s most mesmerizing catacombs and crypts. READ MORE

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