1. Know before you go. The spook-and-scare index varies greatly from place to place. Many cater to those who like their thrills terrifying and their chills on the gory side. Others provide gentle haunts suitable for tiny tots and their grannies. Check Web sites or make calls if you have any doubts.
2. In the extreme. For an extra price, several offer extra-scary chills. Check out these possibilities — if you dare.
3. Cheaper thrills. Coupons abound in newspaper ads, Web sites, radio promotions, etc. But many attractions also team up with local charities. Find out who you are benefiting — and maybe you'll want to pay double.
4. Proceed with caution. Even though attractions are as safe as fire codes, insurance policies and common sense can make them, realize that you will be in total darkness at times. Wear suitable clothes and shoes, and take your time.
5. Respect the spooks. Helpers at haunted houses range from volunteers to drama students to semi- and professional actors. Let them do their jobs without interference.
6. Check out your own neighborhood. While professional Halloween attractions are a lot of fun, there are a lot of home-haunters out there as well — people who enjoy decorating their houses and back yards and often offer free visits.
7. Remember Riley. Whatever you do, keep in mind the immortal words of poet James Whitcomb Riley: "The Goblins will get you, if you don't watch out!"