More shocking than the ticket price
I've been online lately looking for a costume that hits the perfect Halloween trifecta: clever, cute and cheap. What I've found instead is a selection of women's costumes that is truly frightening to anyone who prefers to stay mostly clothed. One in particular stands out: a black pleather cowgirl get-up with cropped bustier and assless chaps. At what Halloween party are exposed butt cheeks orthodox? Perhaps this makes me prudish, but I'll be keeping my cheeks covered this weekend as I head to Six Flags for Fright Fest, an annual, fully clothed event that brings out ghouls and witches to roam the park. On Friday, the park opens with a pumpkin-decorating contest--just bring your orange beauty to the front gate by 6 p.m. for judging. Theatrical shows are a big part of Fright Fest, and this year, the tale of the Black Widow searching for husband number 14 in Welcome to Arania's Nightmare plays at the Southern Palace. The Silver Star Carousel Stage will see lots of action with Fright Time, a collection of radio horror hits and musical performances. For an additional $15, get access to four haunted houses throughout the park, including the Boomtown House of Wax and Skullduggery, The Haunting of Skull Island. Maybe those chaps aren't the scariest thing I'll see this year after all. Fright Fest is at Six Flags Over Texas, 2201 Road to Six Flags, Arlington. Park hours are 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. General admission is $29.99 online or $41.99 at the door. Admission for guests 48 inches and under is $26.99 and children under 2 are admitted for free. Visit www.sixflags.com or call 817-607-6150 or 817-530-6000. --Leah Shafer
It's time to set the record straight. I can say the N word; however, if you are any ethnicity other than African-American, you must never say it--even if Kanye West's "Gold Digger" is your new favorite song. Trust me, it never goes over well, not even with the dearest of your African-American compadres. Need an explanation? On Friday at 8 p.m., check out Black Cinematheque Dallas' presentation of The N Word, starring Chris Rock, Richard Pryor, Ice Cube, Common, Al Sharpton and many others at Erykah Badu's Black Forest Theater, 1920 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. See how the word has gone from a source of degradation to a nickname freely used among African-American and suburban whites alike. Admission is pay-what-you-can. Call 214-426-1683. --Stephanie Morris
We had great aspirations to attend this weekend's International Gem and Jewelry show, so we and our significant others could stare at endless sapphire, pearl and diamond accessories, but it's just not going to work out. See, our invite has a little note: "No strollers allowed." Say wha? How are we supposed to pull off our amazing "gem-baby heist"? We'd had plans to throw a bunch of precious stones under a blanket, leaving a few pieces of emerald to stick out as eyes and some pearl necklaces arranged like baby teeth. Foiled again. The show is noon to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway. Admission is $7. Call 214-655-6100 or visit www.intergem.com. --Sam Machkovech
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Hitchcock's High Times
Naming a favorite Alfred Hitchcock film is similar to pledging allegiance to one free bag of money over another. They're all varying degrees of awesome, and even a partial résumé (Psycho, Rear Window) is peerless. That said, I'll take 1958's Vertigo, a potboiling textbook on tension, urban exploration and obsession that features the most shocking and nuanced role of James Stewart's career. He plays a San Francisco detective on the run from his insurmountable fear of heights and on the tail of a mysterious blonde compulsion (Kim Novak, in a frosty double role). Stewart was never so vulnerable, and Hitchcock used the California city as a pallet to amplify the paranoia. Vertigo is time-defying, genre-defining greatness, and the Inwood Theatre is a landmark place to see such a work. Get anxious at the Inwood, 5458 W. Lovers Lane, at midnight Friday and Saturday. Call 214-352-4959. --Matt Hursh
The hot and sticky days of summer are finally over. In a few weeks, the leaves will start to change colors. The week after that, kids will be able to dive into the greatest leaf piles ever. And then there are the holidays. Despite the weather, this time of year ain't perfect: With Christmas comes stress--the "what-am-I-going-to-get-everybody" kind. But here's some help, a personal Santa's elf, if you will: the annual Huffhines Art Trails at Huffhines Park just south of Huffhines Recreation Center in Richardson. Nearly 200 artisans and craftsmen will be on hand Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with tables of arts and crafts that just might make that gift-buying stress disappear. And there's no need to stress about finding a babysitter. The Huffhines Hunt scavenger game will keep the kids occupied through all of your shopping. Great weather, shopping, occupied kids. Sounds like a great way to spend the weekend. Admission and parking are free. Call 972-744-4580 or visit www.huffhinesarttrails.com. --Kelsey Guy