Scare me once, shame on you. Scare me twice, shame on all those frightful haunted houses and fear fests that rise from the grave each October.
 
One of the newer players on the scene is Land of Illusion in Middletown, a veritable theme park of terror. “We’re on a different level than anybody else in the area,” says proprietor Brett Oakley. “We compete against Kings Island’s (Halloween Haunt), and get about 40,000 people.” Oakley, who is a former firefighter, donates parking lot proceeds to the Milford Fire Department and other worthy causes.

As you plan your outings, you should know that relatively few attractions are actually open on Halloween night. The few bravest to open their doors on Oct. 31 include Land of Illusion, Halloween Haunt, USS Nightmare, St. Rita’s Haunted House and The Dent Schoolhouse. Cincinnati City Hall’s council chambers, which have left many a citizen screaming for their sanity, will be open Halloween Day, as well.

Here’s a body count of the major scare fairs in the Tristate, with all the grisly details on admission costs and hours of operation:

The Dent Schoolhouse
Oct. 3-Nov. 1
Years ago, schoolchildren at the Dent Public School kept disappearing. And the janitor didn’t seem to want to do anything about the awful smells coming from the basement. Ghostly hauntings soon followed, and the script goes on from there. 5963 Harrison Ave., Dent. 7:30 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays. $12, $18 fast pass to skip the line, $5 lights-on tour for kids. (513) 598-4600 or www.frightsite.com.

Turpin Farms’ Corn Maize & Field of Fright
Oct. 3-Nov.1
Turpin Farms, the second oldest family-owned farm in Ohio, offers a slightly scary Corn Maize for youngsters. Inside the Field of Fright, though, expect your fair share of buzzing chainsaws and bloody hockey masks. This used to be a smaller attraction, but it gruesome.3295 Turpin Lane, Newtown. 5 p.m. to midnight Fridays, noon to midnight Saturdays. $9, $7 children, 2 and under free. (513) 561-2621 or www.turpinfarms.com.

St. Rita’s Haunted House
Oct. 4-31
The annual St. Rita Haunted House occupies an authentic Civil War-era farmhouse and features 16 rooms of fright, including a hall of portraits, funeral parlor, chamber of motion, electric chair room, dungeon and cavern.Exit 14 off I-75 at Glendale-Milford Road, Evendale. 7 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7 to 10 p.m. Sundays and Thursdays. $10. (513) 771-1060 or www.srsdeaf.org.

Scary Knights
Oct. 10-25

Take a haunting stroll into Medieval madness at Loveland Castle, a one-fifth scale replica of a 10th-century Norman structure. The castleprovides a perfect moody setting for the season, as candle-lit rooms flicker eerily and stone archways mask various lurking villains. A dozen or so monsters hang out in the hallways and steep stairwells, including the bloody Warrior Monk, swordsmen and the occasional hangman.12025 Shore Drive, Loveland. 7 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. $8. (513) 683-4686 or www.lovelandcastle.com.

Haunted Village
Oct. 10-26

Ichabod Crane could well lose his head over this one, as some 8,000 people attend this homage to Sleepy Hollow each year. The historical Heritage Village transforms into a hysterical “Haunted Village,” when all 10 different village buildings take on an eerie atmosphere after dark. Look for a ghost train, haunted graveyard, spooky seances, hayrides and more.Sharon Woods Park, I-275 (exit 46) at U.S. Route 42 (11450 Lebanon Pike), Sharonville. 6 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays. $10 adults, $7 children 3-12. (513) 563-9484 or www.heritagevillagecincinnati.org

HallZOOween
Oct. 11-26

Check out HallZOOween, the annual non-scary entertainment for your little ghouls and goblins.Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale. Noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. $13 adults, $11 senior citizens and $8 children ages 2 to 12. (513) 475-6124 or www.cincinnatizoo.org.

Halloween Nights
Oct. 11-30
Halloween Nights tells the story of Halloween in a non-frightening way, with its glowing ghosts and whimsical witches, a walk-through light show boasting 250,000 bulbs, fanciful family-friendly characters, hay rides, storytelling, campfires and magic shows.Parky’s Farm, Winton Woods Park, 10073 Daly Road, Springfield Township. 6 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 6 to 9 p.m. Sundays and Thursdays. $5, children 2 and under free. (513) 728-3551 or www.greatparks.org.

Ghosts of Pirates Cove
Oct. 18-26

If you’re looking to mix scare fare with an educational trip, consider the Newport Aquarium’s “Ghosts of Pirates Cove” experience. It’s a child-friendly Halloween experience that includes treats and treasure hunts. A dive show demonstrates the unique art of underwater pumpkin carving as well as a deep-sea swordfight. 1 Aquarium Way, Newport. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. $18.95, $11.95 ages 3-12, children 2 and under free (up to two kids dressed in costume get in for $5 with each paying adult). (859) 261-7444 or www.newportaquarium.com

Tower of london & dungeon of doom
Through Oct. 19
The Ohio Renaissance Festival’s Tower of London comes complete with racks, chains and the odd executioner.Renaissance Park, I-71 at exit 45, Harveysburg. 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. $19.99 for adults, $9.99 for children 5 through 12. (513) 897-7000 or www.renfestival.com.


Halloween Haunt
Through Oct. 31

Menacing attractions at Kings Island’s annual fright show (formerly FearFest) include a terrifying three-ring carnival of souls, an asylum run by its inmates, and a crypt where you’ll find yourself screaming for your Mummy. Coney Mall becomes Coney Maul, a creepy experience featuring a walk-through maze. And everyone’s dying to get into the PsychoPath, a foggy parade of shadows.6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason. 7 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays. $29.99. (513) 754-5700 or www.cedarfair.com.


JUNCTION NIGHTMARE
Through Nov. 1

The terror is unleashed at this walk-through haunt at EnterTrainment Junction. 7379 Squire Court, West Chester. Begins at 7 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays (closing times vary). $15 (fast-pass $25). Recommended for ages 12 and up (there’s also a kid-friendly Jack-O-Lantern Junction daily for $8). (513) 898-8000 or www.entertrainmentjunction.com.

USS Nightmare
Through Nov. 1
Don’t fear the Reaper. The “USS Nightmare,” run by BB Riverboats, is Northern Kentucky’s largest ghostly attraction as well as the area’s only haunted steamboat. Special effects include 100 animations and a 3-D Vortex Tunnel.Riverboat Row, Newport. 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7 p.m. to 11 a.m. Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. $16, $20 for the R.I.P. admission that lets you bypass the line. (859) 261-8500 or www.ussnightmare.com.

Land of Illusion
Through Nov. 2

Located on the outskirts of Middletown, Land of Illusion is a demonic haunted village stocked with a crew of manic madmen, evil spirits and bloody monsters. The Haunted Trail is a one-mile hike through zombie territory, while Temple of Terror is a winding catacomb of suspense. Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate is billed as a demented dwelling, while victims are promised they’ll die laughing at
the new 3-D Killer Klowns attraction.8762 Thomas Road, Middletown. Dusk to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, dusk to 11 p.m. Sundays. $15 for the Haunted Trail, $12 for the Temple of Terror, $10 for Haunted Estate, and $10 for Killer Klowns. (A $30 Killer Package let you experience all four terrors for one price, on different nights if you so choose.) (513) 423-9960 or www.thelandofillusion.com.