A tour of Miami's darkest crevices
Local historian Dr. Paul George, whose birthday is on Halloween, will be shaking his booty all weekend long in a hell of a wicked way. Friday night he leads a flashlight walking tour of the City of Miami Cemetery. On Saturday afternoon, he hosts a drive-by coach tour of the city's most famous crime scenes ... paaar-tay! At the bone orchard, population 9000, revelers will get to peer at the resting places of Julia Tuttle, a chain of Burdines, and old man Seybold, as well as rows and rows of cops, criminals, judges, politicians and minimum-wagers, all democratically put to bed with shovels. Check out the loaded Burdines vault where tomb raiders made off with the original two-ton brass doors and sold them up the river for scrap. The Burdine family finally gave in to unrelenting thievery, bringing in a battalion of cement mixers to secure the family remains. Art lovers will find a treat at the T.V. Moore space, housing the remains of the man who left us the building bearing his name in the Design District. Today it's one of downtown's funkiest art destinations. The murder and mayhem tour promises to be equally enthralling. Besides a visit to Al Capone's joint where the original "Scarface" lost his bout with syphilis, and the Versace manse, where Gianni met his end on the sidewalk, Dr. George will steer fellow travelers to other ghoulish haunts guaranteed to raise the hackles. Learn about loony Lonnie Shaw who pigeon-dropped Molotov cocktails from a rented prop job, hoping to rid Miami of commie infiltrators in the Sixties, before being whisked away to the Alice in Wonderland suite at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Don't miss the hotel room on Biscayne, which a charter boat captain painted with his own blood after being fingered for murdering a Wisconsin family. It's just down the street from where alleged crackhead commissioner Joey "Fugitive" Gersten got caught with his pants down. The tour begins tonight at 7:15, near the cemetery's front gate on NE Second Ave., just south of Eighteenth St. --Carlos Suarez de Jesus
Metrozoo gets spooky
A few years ago five teenagers hell-bent on mischief traipsed through the fields at 2:00 a.m. and scaled a wall to get inside MetroZoo. It was a black night, moonless, as they carefully made their way past the lions and tigers and bears until their adventure was ripped apart by a piercing wail. The terrifying noise came from behind them. They ran forward and heard the noise in front of them. They were trapped, and then the carnage began. The next day zookeepers found a gorilla drenched in blood. Human blood. Okay, that didn't actually happen. But the fun of Halloween comes from pretending, from imagining, from moving about in the darkness until -- boo! The Campus Life Haunted House has mastered the art of manufactured terror. Their spookfest features 70 actors and three main attractions: a 20,000-square-foot haunted house, a haunted forest (with gorilla!), and a hay-bale maze for children. Plenty of other diversions are included each evening beginning at 6:30 at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum inside MetroZoo, 12400 SW 152nd St. Admission is $15 adults, $12 children. Call 305-971-6444 or visit www.campuslifehauntedhouse.com. -- Greg Baker
Vizcaya transforms for Halloween
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The ghost of James Deering won't be the only spirit in attendance at the eighteenth annual Halloween Sundowner at Vizcaya on Saturday. Expect lots of frighteningly attired partygoers among the estimated 3000 revelers haunting the loggias and topiaries of the villa's lush gardens. Not to mention the rum and vodka and gin flowing from several open bars spread around the palatial ten-acre estate. As in years past, you'll never know what local celeb will be hiding behind which mask during what has become the most lavish costume party in the city for all our young urban professional types. Dressing up is optional of course, but not if you want to enter the costume contest. Or you can always ante-up in the Texas Hold-Em poker tournament, but leave your six-shooter at home. Proceeds from the event go toward ongoing restoration of the estate. Get spooked tonight at 8:00 at Vizcaya, 3251 S. Miami Ave., Coconut Grove. Tickets cost $95. Call 305-856-4866. --John Anderson
Halloween may now arrive in the middle of Christmas shopping season, but it still holds plenty of nearly incorruptible holiday magic. This evening from 5:00 to 7:00, ghosts and ghouls will be a-haunting the grounds of the Crandon Park Visitor and Nature Center (6767 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne). The Halloween Spooktacular is geared toward families so there will be age-appropriate activities for older and younger goblins with more emphasis on fun than fright. Candy, games, arts and crafts, and mildly scary stories will be offered. Black Caesar the pirate, Tequesta Indians, and other characters will be on hand to discuss the historical aspects of All Hallow's Eve with emphasis on Key Biscayne's colorful past. Little monsters shouldn't expect to escape the clutches of the center's staff without a creepy but educational trail walk or tram ride either. Wear costumes and bring pre-carved jack o' lanterns to enter in contests. Admission is $5, children under 3 get in for free. Parking costs $5. Reservations are required. Call 305-361-6767. --Margaret Griffis