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Fear Factor

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The long, blazing summer is finally over. Autumn leaves are tumbling to the ground like drunken football fans, and the center aisle at every Walgreens in town is overflowing with fright wigs and gigantic bags stuffed with miniature candy bars. Our month-long celebration of all things dark and ominous has arrived. It's time to take a date to a scary drive-in movie, followed by a trip to Nightshade Manor, the Mid-South's most expansive haunted house.

Last year, Nightshade Manor boasted 3,500 square feet of thrills, chills, and scary dudes in masks. This year, the frightmasters have upped their terrifying ante with an additional 1,000 square feet of "high-impact, high-startle, low-gore haunted experience." There are severed heads hanging on hooks, skeletons lounging around on film-quality sets, and specialists hiding in the dark to scare the living yell out of you.

What's that you say? You're too broke to even smuggle a date into the drive-in? As unlikely as that seems, there's good news. According to their Web site, Nightshade Manor is hiring "zombies, ghouls, and other creatures of the night."

Nightshade Manor is just a stone's throw from Elmwood Cemetery. Cost of admission is $10 with the donation of two non-perishable food items ($12 otherwise). And remember: All the screaming is for a good cause. Ten percent of the manor's gross profit (and all of the food) is donated to the Memphis Food Bank.

Nightshade Manor, 1301 Heistan Place, throughout October. $10/$12. Go to www.NightshadeManor.com for dates, times, and more information.

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