Fans reenact a scene from
Fans reenact a scene from "The Blob" that was filmed at this Pennsylvania theater.
For The Washington Post
FRIGHTFESTS 101

Do the Monster Bash

Fans reenact a scene from
Fans reenact a scene from "The Blob" that was filmed at this Pennsylvania theater. (By Bob Williams For The Washington Post)

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Turns out the Philadelphia area is one of the scariest places in the world (we're talking monsters here, folks, not traffic). In honor of Halloween, we found three frightening events being held in or within a short drive of Philly that will make you scream like a coed being stalked by Freddy Krueger. We've included the top activities, ways to ramp up the fun, and movies and books you should check out so you'll know when to howl and when to cover your eyes.

-- Andrea Sachs

Dracula Festival

WHERE: The Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia.

WHEN: Thursday and Saturday.

HORROR 101: Read Bram Stoker's "Dracula." If you're short on time, rent "Bram Stoker's Dracula," the 1992 Coppola shiver-fest that's as good as the book. Or go for the classic: "Nosferatu," the 1922 German silent film based on Stoker's novel.

THE MAIN EVENTS: The Rosenbach Museum and Library specializes in rare books and manuscripts, including Stoker's, and has been holding the festival the past four years. It starts with a Thursday evening lecture by Elizabeth Kostova, whose dark novel, "The Historian," stars bad-boy Vlad. On Saturday, visitors can peruse Stoker's handwritten notes, which include scribblings about alternate book titles. Also on view: an old woodcut of Vlad the Impaler and a centuries-old pamphlet listing Dracula's atrocities (fields of head-topped spikes -- ouch). At 4 p.m., associate director Michael Barsanti will discuss Stoker and his masterwork ($8 admission).

The festival culminates with the Dracula Parade, held in concert with Spiral Q Puppet Theater, which will provide larger-than-life Dracula-themed puppets. At 6 p.m., costumed folks will march around Rittenhouse Square, accompanied by spooky livemusic. Afterward, Spiral Q will perform an abbreviated puppet show of "Dracula."

WHAT A SCREAM: For the parade, skip the store-bought cape and fangs for one of Spiral Q's giant-puppet costumes, which include heads of garlic, bats and werewolves, which require two people to wear.

INFO: Rosenbach Museum and Library, 215-732-1600, Ext. 113, http://www.rosenbach.org/ .

Monster-Mania Con 7

WHERE: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cherry Hill, N.J., about eight miles east of Philly (just over the river).

WHEN: Feb. 16-18.

HORROR 101: Watch "Saw" and "Saw II," then check out the third installment Friday when it opens at the cineplex. For a true cult classic, hunt down 1987's "The Monster Squad," available only on VHS (remember tapes?).


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