If skeletons dropped from the ceiling scare you, do not go to the House of Shock (4951 River Rd., Jefferson, www.houseofshock.com), a 20,000-square-foot space in which every satanic nightmare and creepy hallucination seems to have come to life. Young men and women dressed as demons, their spawn or their acolytes execute this intensely interactive experience with such conviction -- and gory accouterments -- that area church leaders once broke in to sprinkle holy water all over the place. As one local reporter wrote about what it feels like to come out of the House of Shock: "Deep down all you want to do is lie on the ground and suck your thumb." Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings only in October. Tickets $15 Fridays and Saturdays, $10 Sundays.

Prefer to confront your demons on the street? Supernatural-themed tours are popular all year long, but they become almost mandatory at Halloween. Here are three major operators who can hook you up with a group tour tailored to your interests, fears or sense of humor.

* Haunted History Tours, 504-861-2727, www.hauntedhistorytours.com. Offerings include a Vampire Tour, Voodoo/Witchcraft Tour, Cemetery Tour, Ghosts of the Garden District, and Ghosts of the French Quarter Tour. Cost: $18.

* Bloody Mary Tours, 504-523-7684, www.bloodymarystours.com. Options include Moonlight Graveyard Tour, Tour of the Undead, Gravestones and Ghosts Tour, Ghost Vampire Voodoo Trilogy Tour, and Marie Laveau Legacy Tour. Cost: Usually $20 in advance, $25 at the start of the group tour.

* Historic New Orleans Tours, 504-947-2120, www.tourneworleans.com. Offerings include Haunted French Quarter Walk, Cemetery/Voodoo History Tour, and Garden District/Cemetery Tour. Cost: $14-$15.

-- William Triplett

A pinhead gets spooky along Bourbon Street during Halloween.