PDX's Haunted Houses

Scream at the Beach

Boasting four haunted houses, Scream at the Beach is a can't-miss for horror (and theater) lovers. Baron Von Goolo's Museum of Horrors is loaded with creepy haunted artifacts (like dolls), disturbing darkness, and truly demented and expertly made-up ghouls. The Forbidden Temple takes its monkey theme to the top, and actually managed to scare the living Christ out of me at one point during the journey. Elshoff Manor was authentic (for a fake haunted manor), creepy, and even had a nasty, claustrophobic elevator that smelled like piss. Alien Invasion has one gross part, but for the most part the actors act like Power Rangers... still though, it's funny.

From Portland take I-5 North to Exit 308 to the Jantzen Beach Mall. Scream at the Beach is located at the west end of the parking lot, next to Toys R Us. Oct 14-16 & 19-31, Open 7-10 pm weeknights, 7-11 pm Fri-Sat & Halloween, $20 for all four houses, or $8 per house

13th Door Haunted House

Housed in an old Regal theater, 13th Door is the biggest Haunted House around, and at points genuinely terrifying. They have some creepy hospital themed rooms, a claustrophobic maze, threatening sound effects, and actors who are extremely skilled at catching you off guard. What more can you ask for?

10125 SW Washington Square Mall Rd., Oct. 14-31, Weekdays 7-10 pm, Fridays-Saturdays & Halloween 7-midnite, $15. See http://www.hauntingproductions.com/13thDoor/When/index.html for $2 off coupon.

Haunted Corn Maze

Spooky music, pathways that turn into dead ends, and the creepy crunch of cornstalks make for a chilling Halloween experience. Be warned though, at night the pitch-black drive out to Sauvie Island can be almost as frightening as the corn maze itself.

Sauvie Island, Haunted Corn Maize at the Pumpkin Patch, 16525 Gilliham Rd, 621-7110, Fri-Sat Oct. 15-16 and 22-23, Fri-Sun Oct 29-31, 7-10 pm, $4

Dr. Saito's Screamland at Oaks Park

A couple years ago I dropped the money for Screamland--$17--and found myself disappointed when I had to watch a cautionary warning video before entering, and our guide pointed out her daughter who was working as a zombie. This year, however, they're boasting trained performers, special effects, and a team of builders, so you might give it a shot. And teens should go for sure; this is the perfect spot to find a new b-fri or g-fri from another school! Benefits go to the Children's Cancer Association.

Oaks Park, Intersection of 6th Ave & SE Spokane, October 15-Nov. 1, $17 for both haunted houses or $10 for one KATIE SHIMER

Hiphop Dance Class

"A lot of people think hiphop dancing is half naked women shakin' it," says Kumari Lohar-Singh, instructor of "Freestyle Hiphop Fridays." The newly minted dance class includes schooling in old school hiphop, freestyle, popping, locking, and house. Kumari emphasizes technique as one of the main goals of the class. "Just like ballet, [hiphop] has a technique, and a name for every step," she says, even if those names are things like "Roger Rabbit" instead of jeté or whatever. But honestly, at this point, which would you rather learn?

One of the coolest things about Kumari's teaching style is her belief that the art of hiphop can not continue to thrive and grow if it is passed down without conveying the cultural origins of what's being taught. If you take her class, you'll not only learn choreography, but the history behind each style and move. A dancer since the age of three, Kumari frequently returns to Philly/NYC to keep herself learning. This past summer she spent there alongside luminaries like the Mop Tops. "I teach what I know. I dance what I know," she says. And what she knows might be the most fun and culturally educational way to ward off your impending holiday lardass, too. MARJORIE SKINNER

Hiphop Dance Class, Fridays, 7-8:30 pm, Bodymoves, 918 SW Yamhill, 4th Floor, $12 drop-in or $40 monthly pass

McSweeney's Madness!

It begins on Thursday, with two of the bitchin'-est writers on the West Coast (in part because they avoid using words like "bitchin'-est"). While Stephen Elliott and Neal Pollack are known for their McSweeney's contributions via the website, the lit rag The Believer, and more, both also have impressive bodies of work that are very much their own.

You wouldn't know it from his grim, dreamy novels but the wild-haired Elliott is capable of producing scintillating, wildly funny political commentary--like in Looking Forward to It, a diary of the year he spent trailing 2004's Democratic presidential candidates.

Meanwhile, the lovably egomaniacal Pollack (whose writing has appeared in our very own Mercury) will share Never Mind the Pollacks, an over-the-top account of a famed music critic named... Neal Pollack.

But McSweeney's buffs will ultimately view Pollack and Elliott's arrivals as mere warm-ups to the Grand Poobah himself, Mr. Dave Eggers. To support a Write Around Portland (WRAP) benefit, Eggers will appear Sunday at the Hollywood Theatre for a reading, a conversation, a silent auction, and general shenanigans with various surprise guests. Come prostrate before him, and try not to get drool on his shoes while you're down there. JUSTIN SANDERS

Stephen Elliott: Thursday Oct. 14, Reed College's Vollum Lounge, 4:30 pm, Powell's City of Books, 7:30 pm; Neal Pollack: Thursday Oct. 14, Powell's on Hawthorne, 7:30 pm; Dave Eggers: Sunday Oct. 17, Hollywood Theater, 7 pm, $15