Prepare to be scared

'Tis the haunting season with an array of ghostly offerings available to thrill children of any age.

Virginia City and Dayton are hosting activities that range from parades and dances to paranormal ghost hunts, ghost stories at Fourth Ward School, an overnight at St. Mary's Art Center, a Haunted Hayride, walking tours and more.

Let's begin in Virginia City, where Halloween on the Comstock is planned for Friday, Oct. 29 through Sunday, Oct. 31.

Each night, The Silver Queen Hotel, 28 N. C St., hosts two dinner seatings, at 5:30 and 7 p.m., ahead of paranormal ghost tours at

6 and 8 p.m. Tours depart from The Silver Queen.

Lead by Debbie Bender and Tom Cruz of Bats in the Belfry Ghost Tours, visitors will be treated to an extensive walk through the Comstock, replete with stories and possible ghostly encounters. The tours are not recommended for children younger than 13.

"Our tours are authentic and involve ghost hunting," Bender said. "We're asking people to bring their equipment if they have it."

New to this year's line-up, is a tour of St. Mary's Art Center.

Those opting in for the additional tour, will be taken by trolley to St. Mary's for a one-hour electronic voice phenomena (EVP) session and a 30-minute lecture on ghost hunting equipment.

"The very brave also can book a room at St. Mary's and will be free to wander the halls all night," Bender said.

Visitors can opt to purchase individual event tickets or can receive dinner and both tours with the purchase of VIP tickets. For reservations, to purchase tickets or to book a room at St. Mary's, visit virginiacityghosttours

.com or call 775-815-1050.

"These events are very popular and last year we sold out," Bender said. "We advise getting tickets early."

Saturday, Oct. 31, The Washoe Club, 112 S. C St., hosts a Halloween Costume Party & Scary-oke. The evening features Comstock Idol and begins at 7 p.m. Refreshments will be served courtesy of Red's Candies & Deli. Cost is $10 at the door and members are free. Annual memberships cost $20 per person and include an array of benefits. For more information, call 775-847-4467.

Fourth Ward School Museum, 537 S. C St., opens it's doors Sunday, in conjunction with the Halloween Parade and Trick-Or-Treating on C Street.

"From 6 to 8 p.m., we will have a haunted house that includes ghost stories," said Barbara Mackey, executive director of Fourth Ward School. "Visitors can go to different rooms in the house where costumed docents will be telling stories and one of those stories will be directly related to the school."

Celebrating the historical context of Fourth Ward School and its role on the Comstock will be part of the event's focus, with the museum open to visitors. The fourth floor, though is not open to the public as there is no fire escape.

Standard admission of $5 for adults and $3 for children 6 to 16 years, apply. This is the final event of the season, before the school closes for winter. It will reopen May 1, 2011.

The Goblin Parade down C Street begins at 4 p.m. Children and adults are invited to dress in their Halloween best and join in the fun. Prizes will be given in several categories. The parade is followed by Virginia City businesses offering treats to tricksters.

The Virginia & Truckee Railroad offers a 35-minute "Halloween Train Ride," Sunday at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. The train departs from the depot on F Street in Virginia City. Cost is $14 for adults (13 years and older) and $9 for children 12 and younger. Seating is limited. For more information, call 775-847-0380 or visit to purchase tickets.

Dayton offers two big events on Friday, Oct. 29 beginning with Ghostly Pioneers of Dayton, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. This tour begins at the Old School House Museum at Shady Lane and Logan Alley. Visitors will wind their way through Old Town Dayton, meeting costumed characters of the town's past sharing local history. Pick up your map at the museum.

"Be prepared for many surprises," said Laura Tennant of the Historical Society. This event is sponsored by The Historical Society of Dayton Valley and Healthy Communities Coalition and while there is no admission cost, donations will help support the work of these non-profit organizations. For more information, call 775-246-8765 or 775-246-9396.

Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce hosts a "Dayton Haunting," a family-friendly event from 5 to 10 p.m., at the Dayton Valley Community Center, 170 Pike St. The evening includes a Haunted Hayride, a gypsy tent with interactive tricks and treats, as well as a community dance with a live band. Full Moon Paranormal Investigators will be on hand to show the proper use of ghost hunting tools and "ghostly" video shot in Dayton and Virginia City.

Favorite fall refreshments such as chili, carmel apples and popcorn balls will be available for purchase. Tickets for the dance only, cost $5 or $10 covers all the events. For more information, call 775-887-1913 or 230-9007.

"We want this to be a fun event the entire family can enjoy," said Ramie Thomas, event coordinator and owner of Sierra Rose Floral in Carson City. "There will be lots to do and something for everyone."


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