Monday, October 31, 2011

Old stage-coach stop makes the Top Ten List of Haunted Homes

If it were any other day I would have no problem visiting an old stage-coach stop reportedly haunted by 12 ghosts but today, nuh-uh.

But not everyone is a wuss.

Here in Michigan there are groups dying to visit homes and properties known to have unusual guests. Today's Top Ten List features several haunted homes selling for a pretty penny including a 100-year-old farm house near Olean, New York that has become a popular destination for paranormal investigators across the country. 

Since the 1850's owners of the home's 12 or more not-so-friendly ghosts have chased away its owners who, along with neighbors, friends, guests, researchers, paranormal investigators and clergy have witnessed the spirits in their entirety. Clara M. Miller is one of the home's former residents kept a diary of her experience.  "Echoes of a Haunting", is a book that was written by former resident, Clara M. Miller, who explained the feeling about the house as a build-up of pressure under an umbrella that finally releases in the form of activity from these clearly visible spirits. Miller's book chronicles the entries in her daily diary and goes into great detail about events that happened there and some she felt might have been related to the house years after moving to Oregon.

The present owner is asking $289,000. It needs some work but considering the interest in its history has the potential to be a popular B&B for the adventurous kind looking to spend Halloween in a haunted house. 

Also featured on the The Top Ten Haunted Homes is the gated estate that was used for the filming of "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," a popular TV show that ran from 1952 to 1966.

Friday, October 28, 2011

How to look your best throughout a busy work day

Metro Newspaper Services.
Riding the work train can be fun but literally hair-raising. All it takes is a gust of wind or a downpour while en route to an assignment and within seconds a great hairdo that took hours to sculpt can explode into chaos. But hey -- your hair is the least of your worries if you had hummus for lunch and your daughter stole your breath mints. Ask any time management expert about living a go-go-lifestyle and they’ll tell you the key to success is being prepared and learning how to go with the flow.

That colleague of yours that makes you chuckle? The one who offered up a lint roller when you discovered your Husky had followed you to work (well, most of his coat anyway). And the can of hairspray the day your curly locks called in sick? Take notes because she’s a survivor who has likely learned over the years that quick adjustments can save a look. Below are a few tips recommended by veterans of the go-go-lifestyle club.

Afternoon mirror check
  • If you go out to lunch be sure to take a moment to freshen up before returning to the office as you never know when you’ll need to look your best.
  • Fix the smudges. Often times during the course of the morning, makeup can rub off or smear. Do a check in the mirror to reapply mascara or foundation, which you should have in your purse/and or desk. Fashion experts suggest using a pre- and post-makeup primer to keep makeup from smearing.
  • Fresh breath is crucial. Before you re-apply any lipstick freshen up your breath. Not everyone has a purse big enough to carry around a toothbrush and toothpaste. That’s why there are on-the-go products like Colgate Wisp, a travel toothbrush designed to clean your teeth quickly and without rinsing. Plus, it is small enough to pack in a purse or store in a desk. How about decorating your cubicle with a small potted herb. Chewing on coriander, spearmint, tarragon, eucalyptus, rosemary and cardamom are all good for fighting bad breath.
  • Be fragrant. Body sprays and colognes can fade over the course of the morning so consider a re-touch in the afternoon. However, remember to be mindful of your cube mates who might not appreciate your choice of perfume or cologne. When it comes to work opt for a light scent and do not over-do-it.
  • Get your own hair spray. Find a product that works for your thick, fine or fuzzy hair. It could be a wax or spray. You need something that you can use in the afternoon to help re-set your hairstyle.
  • Water yourself. The benefits of drinking those 64-recommended ounces a day will show in your mood and in your skin. You’ll also notice that a full tank of H2O gives you more energy. However, instead of spending a great deal of time hanging out at the water cooler consider investing in a good water bottle. There are numerous styles and designs created specifically for a work environment.
Getty Images.
Before the big meeting 
Just as you did during your lunch break find a mirror and take a moment to prep your look.       
  • Straighten the tie or change the shirt. It is not crazy to have an extra dress shirt or tie on hand in the event of a coffee collision. Besides just knowing you have a backup for emergencies will make the day less stressful.
  • Stash away all! Consider the products that you use during the day and keep a supply on hand at your desk such as a comb, deodorant with antiperspirant, cologne or perfume, contact lens solution or eye drops, lint roller, pocket mirror, lip gloss, hairspray, mints and a mini-toothbrush. Need to buy a colleague something nice for Christmas? Give him or her, a gift pack designed for people who ride the work train. 
There's no better makeup than self-confidence -- Shakira

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Expert urges students to pack common sense when traveling abroad

    Getty Images

    Hitchhiking across America might be passé, not to mention risky, but traveling to distant lands to study and experience diverse cultures has more than doubled over the last decade, according to the Institute of International Education.
    What's considered a thrilling opportunity for students, however, becomes a nerve-wracking experience for parents concerned about their child's safety. Now add cases in the news such as Amanda Knox, a Seattle student who was charged (but later acquitted) in Italy with the murder of her British roommate, and one can understand why their first reaction is nay-nay on going away.
    "As travel safety experts with nearly 50 years of experience, we work diligently to ensure the safety of every student and leader in every program," said Mike Bowers, Senior Health and Safety Director for People to People Ambassador Programs, who has reviewed years of travel data to foresee the most common safety issues. "We understand the concerns and we are committed to providing a safe and enjoyable educational experience for all program participants."
    American universities and colleges, even high schools across the country, participate in a number of travel abroad experiences that are successful - but for good reason. 

    Mike Bowers
    Students adhere to tips such as these recommended by Bowers to make their experience enjoyable and safe:

    Pack along some common sense
    •  Before you commit to anything out of your normal realm of activity or actions, ask yourself one question: Would I do this at home. If the answer is no, rethink your actions.
    •  Never go without sleep. "You can have a good time without staying out too late," said Bowers. "The more rested you are, the more likely you are to be aware of and safe in your surroundings."
    •  Never travel alone. It's the same rule most parents insist upon at home. If you're venturing away from school or your place of residence, travel with a buddy, always.
    Know your destination
    • Scope out your surroundings ahead of time so you know what you're dealing with. Bowers suggests visiting the Centers for Disease Control travel websites and other online resources for information about vaccines, laws, languages, money, medical services. Check out hotels and inns before you commit to staying there. Look up associations or clubs in the area that might be able to provide information about a business. Even the local university might have someone who could comment on the place you're considering.
    Leave a money trail to follow
    • "Use a prepaid bank card which allows loved ones back home to know where you are, and make sure they have access to the account," said Bowers. "The U.S. Department of State indicates it is a good way to find people while traveling."
    • Always make additional copies of important documents such as passports and credit cards in case they are lost or stolen, and you have to report the account numbers involved.
    Getty Images
    Don't pack the bling
    •  In other words, try not to look like a tourist. Petty criminals, said Bowers, look for easy targets in crowds like a blinged-out tourist.
    •  In doing your research of the surroundings, find out about things like the country's style and culture. What do other students wear? Do they carry cellphones? Do they use their laptops in public? You want to blend in so you don't become a target.
    Keep in touch
    •  Discuss routines with regard to communication. Create a schedule of when you plan to call home to let your loved ones know you are safe. Maybe it's every Sunday. If you're doing day trips, perhaps call once in the morning to say where you're going, and then again at night to let your parents know you arrived at your destination safely. "If you miss a scheduled time, your contacts will know to start looking for you," Bowers said. "Use Skype, text messaging or a GPS-equipped phone that allows people back home to track your trip and ensure your safety."
    Be a smart traveler
    •  The Department of State has set up the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service that lets students submit information about their trip so that the department can assist you in an emergency. It makes it easier for U.S. embassies and consulates around the world to contact you and your loved ones during an emergency. Emergencies can happen at home and abroad. Either way - this makes getting a hold of each other easier. Read more at STEP
    Visit People To People Ambassador Programs for more information. 

    I haven't been anywhere but it's on my list -- Susan Sontag

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    Cut the stress and anxiety out of chores

    A recent study by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine showed that men and women who feel they're responsible for most household chores experience higher blood pressure and overall anxiety.
    Now you know why you're having trouble sleeping at night. You go to work, rush all day trying to complete your tasks there, and then do the same when you get home. It is an impossible pace unless you're the Energizer Bunny.
    What can a person do?
    I think a week's stay at the Hotel Caesar Augustus on the Isle of Capri would do the trick. But if you're doing our own chores, chances are you cannot afford the time away from home or the money for a prescription like that.
    What you can do is come up with some new ways of tackling the chores. Below are a couple of ideas to get you started:
    Plan meals in advance
    Instead of scrambling to come up with dinners after work, which often leads us to fast food drive-through windows, create a daily menu for the week. Then make one trip to the grocery store to pick up all the ingredients. If things change during the week - rain canceling a football practice or finding out you need to work a little later - you can always swap the dinners around. It is for this reason that your list of meals should include some that are quick and easy, and others that require a little more time. Here's your excuse for trying some of those Rachael Ray quickie recipes. Also, shopping once instead of daily will save you money. 
    Divide and conquer
    Instead of trying to get everything done at once, tackle mounting housework one day and one task at a time. In my family, Saturday mornings are usually dedicated to doing most of the major tasks involved with house cleaning. Ideally, this should leave the weekdays for laundry and cooking. Yet, by Tuesday the house needs cleaning again. A better use of my time and weekends would be to split up these chores during the week. For example, vacuum on Tuesdays, dust on Wednesdays and clean the bathrooms on Thursdays.
    Simplify your errands
    If you loathe the weekly trip to the store for items that you need but don't necessarily care to shop for, consider ordering some of the products online through websites such as dollargeneral.com. This way it is delivered to your house. If you Google what you need, you'll probably find more than a few stores that specialize in certain items, and at least one that has it all. This is an especially good idea when you know there's a birthday or holiday coming up. Doing it this way enables you to have big, bulky items and other necessities shipped directly to your door.
    Give store brands a chance
    I won't touch Spartan peas or any peas, for that matter, but I love Spartan chocolate milk. Meijer has some cereal products that are not only approved by nutritionists, but kids as well. "Now private-label products have national equivalent money-back guarantees. Even replacing a few frequently purchased items with their private-label counterparts will result in big savings," according to a report by News USA. 
    Make household management a family affair
    If your children are old enough, you might also enlist their help. That's what allowances are all about: rewards for good grades and helping mom and dad out during the week. Even the younger ones should be learning simple tasks such as making their bed and putting away their toys. Let older children help prepare dinner and even vacuum. This is not only important to your health, but to their ability to maintain a dorm room, apartment or home in the future.
    Send your comments to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com.

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Hunting for a ladies' night out event?

    Tricho Salon and Spa at Partridge Creek.
    Two things happen during hunting season -- a whole lot of guys packing bullets, firearms and chili bowls head to the UP while a whole lot of women look for things to do. It's my guess that the UP phenomenon and others like it (including the NFL, MLBA and NHL) led to the popularity of ladies' night out events.

    Among the gatherings this season is an open house and fashion show hosted by Tricho Salon and Spa from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 26. Besides an opportunity to check out its newest location at Partridge Creek Mall, Trico's Ladies' Night Out will include a fashion show.

    Models will take to the runway wearing the latest hairstyles by Tricho staff, and clothes by Parisian and Flirty Fashions, both of which are Partridge Creek businesses. Chef Andrew, who specializes in Italian and French cuisine will be cooking up dishes on-site along with the owners of Giuseppes International Oils and Vinegars. 

    "Ladies night events are so popular this time of year," said Dan Villarreal, operations/projects specialist for Tricho. Not only because it's something fun to do but it allows businesses the opportunity to generate excitement and inspiration going into the holiday season.

    So, what's going to be the hot holiday hairstyle?
    Villarreal expects to get a lot of requests for the Victoria Secret sleek blowout. "We have a talented group of hair designers who are educated in the latest color trends and hairstyles," he said. "They can accommodate any hair-type request. We offer hair extensions, Keratin Coppola hair straightening and event style-up dos."

    Clients, including men, women and children, can see the latest in hairstyles and fashion.

    Attendees also will have an opportunity to find out about other salon services such as Botox, Restellin and teeth-whitening? If you're just looking to kick back and relax, there's always a choice of a manicure, pedicure or facial. 

    To make the event even more interesting, a psychic has been invited to do readings.

    Tricho Salon and Spa is a Michigan-owned and Birmingham-based company that was founded in 2005. It now has four locations, including two in Ann Arbor and one in South Beach, Miami.

    Tricho hair stylists, left to right, Melisa Lobaito, Anne Marie Wagner, and Ashley Sandercott. Tricho Salon and Spa is located at Partridge Creek Mall, 17420 Hall Road, Clinton Township. 

    For further information, call 586-263-9111.

    Looking to see a Halloween movie this weekend?

    The Redford Theatre will be showing “Munster, Go Home” starring Yvonne DeCarlo and Fred Gwynne, Friday and Saturday. And for those of you dying to meet a Munster in person, actor Butch Patrick, who played the youngest member of “America’s first family of fright” will be attending the shows.

    “It’s always nice to meet people in their element,” said Patrick. And by that he does not mean coffins and haunted houses but cities and towns such as those he has been visiting on his cross country tour of America. “I’m staying in an Amtrak sleeper car.”

    “Munster, Go Home” features all of the cast members who made it the popular TV show that it was back in the 1960s. In this Universal production the famous family travel to England to claim a castle that they have inherited. Prior to the screening of the film and during intermission, Patrick will provide some personal anecdotes related to his work as Eddie Munster.

    “If you haven’t seen it you’re in for a treat,” said Patrick.   

    For those of just discovering The Munsters here’s some trivia you might find interesting:
    • Herman Munster was 7 feet tall.
    • It took Butch Patrick one hour to put on the make-up he wore as Eddie.
    • Spot was the name of Eddie’s pet T-Rex.
    • Eddie no longer has a widow’s peak. He said “he sold it to Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills.”
    • Some of the cool people that Patrick met as a young actor on the set of the Munsters included: Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc, Walter Brennan, John Berandino, James Garner, Barbara Eden, James Arness, Dan Blocker, Burt Lancaster, Kim Hunter, Ernest Borgnine and the entire cast of The Munsters.
    • Eddie's stuffed wolf was named Woof-Woof.

    Tickets are $5. Show times are: 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Doors will open at 7 p.m. to give audiences a chance to browse the theater located at 17360 Lahser Road (corner of Grand River and Lahser) in Detroit.  Visit Munsters.com at Visit Butch Patrick Presents Munsters.com

    The heck with the natural look. After all, you can't take credit for what you're born with, only for what you do yourself. Where would Marilyn Monroe be if she'd clung to the hair color God gave her? We'd have a movie called, "Gentlemen Prefer Mousy Brown Hair -- Adair Lara

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Take a bite out of these fresh Halloween costume ideas

    Warner Bros. Pictures
    So -- you've been invited to a Halloween party and have been asked to dress accordingly. What might that be if you're not comfortable in a sexy witch costume or can’t muster the muscles to be a gladiator?

    Think about it. If you are the generation that invented the hippie era and 1960s Carnaby Street-style clothing. Is that not a good start? 

    "Even if you disdain the more youthful approach, there are still plenty of opportunities that suit our, ahem, dignity, while continuing the Halloween spirit," said Kate Forgach, a spokeswoman for Kinoli, Inc. an Internet marketing company with websites focused on helping savvy consumers save money shopping online.

    Listed here is a selection of ideas for men, women and couples inspired by movies, news, celebrity goof-offs and other occurrences that have made us chuckle in 2011:

    Costumes for men
    Warner Bros. Pictures.
    * Zach Galifianakis is the grizzly bearded actor who has several comedic roles one could borrow for Halloween. At the top of the list would be Galifianakis as Alan Garner in Hangover II - Part II. All you need for this character is a fake beard and maybe a bathing cap or bald head. In the teasers for the film, he is seen wearing a Chinese sun hat (think big-brim rice paddy hat). Here again, this character lends itself to a group costume: one guy as Alan (Galifianakis), one as Phil (Bradley Cooper) and the third buddy Stu (Ed Helms). If you're playing the role of Stu, you'll need to recreate a Mayan face tattoo and add wire rim glasses and stodgy clothes. The cute dude in your wolf pack need only wear khakis, a white dress shirt and cool shades to look like the third and handsome character of Phil. Also a funny look is Galifianakis as Ethan Tremblay in "Due Date." This costume might include distressed black jeans (skinny jeans-style), white running shoes, orange T-shirt, leather vest and a Mexican poncho. Don't forget the big black glasses (like the ones doted out after cataract surgery). If you want to win a prize for best costume, add the funny little dog with the cone around his head.

    AP Photo/Abdel Magid Al Fergany

    * Moammar Gadhafi, the infamous Libyan dictator, is sure to be attending at least one party this year. Forgach suggests a black curly wig, red fez, checked scarf and a homemade T-shirt emblazoned with "I Love Libya." For other Gaddafi garb ideas, Google him. You'll see the ruler in everything from decorative uniforms to ponchos and black hats. If you're going with a gang, play it up completely by adding a few Nigerian soldiers to do your bidding throughout the night.

    The married zombies from The Walking Dead.

    * Zombies are sure to be circling the cider and doughnuts at this year's Halloween parties. Need inspiration? Check out the popular AMC zombie-themed TV series, “The Walking Dead.” It features zombies in all shapes, sizes and ages.

    * Super Heroes will always be a choice for someone. Batman remains a favorite along with the Joker (either Heath Ledger or Jack Nicholson's version). Expect Captain America, Thor, Green Lantern and Iron Man to be hitting the Halloween party circuit as well. 

    Costumes for women
    * Zombie costumes will be just as popular for women as they are for men. However, the character of Elizabeth Bennett from the oddly popular “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” novel can offer ladies a grisly twist to the look of their zombie costume. To be Elizabeth, one will need a long, empire-waist dress. Look for something like this at a thrift store. Forgach said you could create the look with a floor-length skirt and a T-shirt with puffy sleeves. She wears her hair in a conservative bun, but the rest is zombie inspired including blood-splats and peeling skin.

    * Mummy mommies are a natural look for Halloween revelers who are still shuttling kids to soccer and baseball practice. "Pick up some high-waist mom jeans at Goodwill, along with an appliquéd shirt or sweater," said Forgach. "We're assuming such things aren't in your closet. Wrap yourself in toilet paper and carry a soccer ball."

    * Celebrities on the A-list for Halloween costumes this year include Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Lindsay Lohan (with rotted out teeth). In this case, Forgach suggests a mask, wig and "Winning" hat (Buy Costumes). If you're going to order costumes online, Forgach recommends using codes from Free Shipping to bring the costs down.

    * Babe Lincoln the vampire hunter? Why not, but you'll have to be clever in your disguise as not everyone has seen the trailers for the movie: "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," based on Seth Grahame-Smith's his successful book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It is scheduled for release in 2012. If you plan of being the president and vampire hunter, you'll need a stovepipe hat, a formal black coat, fake beard and a short skirt with high heels, Forgach said. Add a bloodied stake and you're good to go.

    Universal Pictures

    * The Bridesmaids cast is the female counterpart to the all-male “Hangover” costumes. The wild chicks of Detroit director Paul Feig's summer hit comedy can provide a number of costume ideas. If you're attending the party with a group of girls, you might consider dressing as Bridezilla's entourage of attendants, who wore Pepto Bismal pink dresses in a variety of styles. Here again, check the thrift stores for long gowns. As the bride herself, you'll need to wear a meringue-pie wedding gown with a matching pink ribbon for a waistband. 

    Costumes for couples
    * Jack and Jill are easy and cheap to do. Take two T-shirts and write "Jack" on one and "Jill" on the other. To complete, purchase a plastic crown for Jack (and then break it) or construct one out of poster board and paint it gold and splatter it with fake blood. Now you have Jack who broke his crown. To complete the duo, create bruises on Jill with black-and-blue face paints to recreate her role as the she-who-came-tumbling-after. Forgach suggests carrying pails of water and tripping occasionally to earn the big prize for best costume and best portrayal.

    * A Pair of Blue Jeans is going to be one of those costumes you may have to explain but will catch on and likely become the pun of the party. Remember the guy who wore a monk's robe with a whole bunch of chip bags stapled to it and went as a chip-monk. Halloween is all about bad puns. To pull this off, you both need to wear blue clothes and, of course, blue jeans. Then all you need for the kicker is a couple of name tags: Gene for him; Jean for her. There you have it a pair of blue Jeans/Genes. If you want to win the prize, cover your skin with blue skin paint.
    AP Photo, file.

    * Prince Charles and Camilla will reel in more laughs than Prince William and his new blushing bride. Then again, all the members of the royal family would be excellent choices. Look for the masks for the passed-over prince and his consort, as well as the Queen Mum herself online and in area costume shops . To be authentic as a royal, one must not forget to wear a crown/and or topper (as in wild hat). 

    Everyone is a moon and has a dark side, which he never shows to anybody -- Mark Twain.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Homeworks: Fireplace inspections and cleaning are hot fall topics

    The scents of fall in our neighborhood always include plumes of smoke from the surrounding fireplaces. I love the smell. I don't know why, but the aroma of the logs (usually oak or maple) conjure up feelings of comfort and security.
    Yet, all it takes is a clogged blower or a chimney mishap to turn a pleasant plume into a raging house fire.
    "Whether you have a wood-burning or gas fireplace, it is important to properly prepare it for the fall and winter seasons to ensure both their functionality and your safety," said Ashley Hogan, a spokesperson for Napoleon Fireplaces and Grills. "Accidents involving fireplaces can be a major cause of home fires. However, most of these can be prevented."
    If you plan on using your fireplace for warmth and ambience this fall and winter, take a moment to look at the following tips recommended in a report by the experts at Napoleon. "Most of these simple inspections and cleaning tips can be done by the average homeowner. If you have any doubt at all, contact your local fireplace installer or chimney sweep."

    Wood burning
    * Start the season off by having your chimney cleaned. One of the main causes of fires from wood-burning appliances is an abundance of creosote (unburned fuel) that has accumulated in the chimney.
    * Be sure that any gasket material is inspected and replaced if needed. This would include the gasket sealing the door, the door glass and, in some instances, the ash pump. "If the airtight appliance is operated without these gaskets effectively sealing the openings, excess air can leak into the firebox creating an over-fire condition, which may permanently damage the appliance," according to the report.
    * The blower on a wood-burning fireplace -- unlike the blower on a furnace -- does not have a filtering system to prevent the buildup of dust and hair so it should be part of the inspection/cleaning.
    * Be sure the chimney is inspected for broken or deteriorated brick lining the fireplace. Some cracks might not be a concern, but if the brick lining is damaged to the point of showing the fireplace's steel body, the heat from the fire could cause permanent damage to the appliance.

    Gas burning
    * Contact a qualified technician and have the appliance serviced and repaired (if needed). A fireplace that is properly maintained can look as new as the day it was installed. Proper cleaning is always a deterrent for problems down the road. Even the glass should be cleaned annually to keep it looking clear. Gas fireplaces might appear to be maintenance free but, like a car engine, these combustion systems are affected by dust, and even insects can impair their performance. It is vital that the airways on both the pilot and main burners are cleaned to ensure they are operating correctly. Bottom line: It's best to have an inspection of the entire system including the safety controls.
    * As with a wood-burning fireplace, the blower needs to be inspected and cleaned.
    * "Replace the batteries in any optional remote transmitters and, in some cases, in the receiver as well," said the report by Napoleon. "Even when not being used, the power held in a battery is slowly depleted."
    Finally, it is fall. That means it is time to check all of the batteries and test any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors in the house.

    Send your comments, home and garden tips or story ideas to gina.joseph@macombdaily.com

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Weirdsville Detroit putting on zombie face workshop

    AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

    In this Sept. 22, 2011 photo, at right, an actor in costume and makeup poses in a setting at the House of Shock, a haunted house, in New Orleans. 

    Get the look yourself
    Make-up artist Zoe Brown will be demonstrating on how to put your best zombie face forward at 7 p.m., Oct. 21 at Weirdsville Detroit.

    Weirdsville Detroit is a unique shop located in Used On New Books & More, 36 New Street in downtown Mount Clemens. 

    The zombie workshop featuring the talents of Brown is just one of several Halloween-inspired events going on at Weirdsville Detroit:

    Oct. 20, 7 p.m.: Come dressed as a vampire for a showing of Dracula on the big screen! The event marks what would have been Bela Lugosi's 129th birthday. Lugosi is the actor who played the role of Hollywood's earliest version of Dracula. Free admission but donations of bags and cans of dog or cat food for the Michigan Human Society Pet Food Bank Program will be appreciated.

    Oct. 27, 7 p.m.: Ever wondered where to find the top ten most haunted places in Michigan or why ghost hunters from all over the world come to our state? What can you do if you suspect that something other than a raccoon is living in your eaves? Do you live near a house suspected to be inhabited by supernatural phenomena? John Tenney, researcher for A&E's "Paranormal State" will be answering questions in a spirited discussion of Michigan's haunted history.

    Looking for inspiration for your zombie face?
    Michigan farms harvest a bumper crop of Halloween attractions

    Looking for something else to do this weekend? The following is a list of other great events going on in the Detroit area:

    'Evil Dead: The Musical' will suck out the gloom and leave you smiling

    You don't have to be a fan of the cult classic movie "Evil Dead" to enjoy "Evil Dead: The Musical," playing at Detroit's City Theatre. You just need a sense of humor and maybe a towel for the ride home if you've been brave enough to sit in the splatter zone.

    It's a rollicking hayride of humor being presented The Ringwald/Who Wants Cake? and Olympia Entertainment at Detroit's City Theatre located inside Hockeytown Café, at 8 p.m., every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, through Oct. 29. Read more about the show Read full story

    Tickets, $25 general admission, can be purchased at OlympiaEntertainment.com, The Fox Theatre, Joe Louis Arena and the City Theatre box office, located inside Hockeytown Café, and all Ticketmaster locations and at ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone call 800-745-300. For performance schedule and more information, call 313-471-66-11 or go to WhoWantsCakeTheatre.com

    The Macomb County Warming Center will present its annual Irishfest fundraser, Oct. 16 at St. Margaret of Scotland Church gym, 21201 13 Mile Road, St. Clair Shores. Entertainment will include a performance of Irish folk music by Charlie Taylor, Larry Larson and "Fiddling George" Chirota. Admission is free but donations will be gratefully accepted. Further information, call 586-321-0998.

    Used books wanted
    Second Story: A Used Book Sale benefitting The Macomb Charitable Foundatin, which assists needy families in Macomb County, will be accepting donations of used adult and children's books, soft or hardcover along with CDs, DVDs, puzzles and games for its fundraiser. Sorry no encyclopedias. Books and other donations can be dropped off weekdays 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at St. Peter Lutheran Church (door 25), 24 Mile and Romeo Plank Road, Macomb Township. The book sale will run Nov. 9-13. For more information, call Bill or Dianne Wetzel at 586-484-6369.

    Book sales
    Clinton Macomb Public Library Main Branch, 40900 Romeo Plank Road, used book sale, noon-8 p.m. Oct. 13, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 14-15, 1:15-3:15 p.m. bag sale ($5) Oct. 16, and free day 9:30 a.m.-noon Oct. 17.
    Friends of Grosse Pointe Public Library used book sale, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 13, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 14, and bag dale ($5) 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 15, at Ewald Branch, 15175 E. Jefferson, Grosse Pointe Park.
    Friends of Warren Public Library used book sale, also DVDs, CDs, VHS, record albums, cassette tapes, 9 a.m.-noon Oct. 14, 21, 22, 29, at 5959 Beebe St. in old Warren Village Fire Hall. Half-off sale Oct. 21-22.
    Chesterfield Township Library used book sale, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Oct. 21, and 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Oct. 22, at 50560 Patricia.

    Laugh for a cause
    The Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan, which provides beds and essential furnishings to children and families in need, will present its annual Furniture Bank Comedy Night, from 6-9 p.m., Oct. 19 at Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle, 310 South Troy Street, Royal Oak. Headlining the show this year is comedian Mike Green, with special guest Phenicia Banks. Tickets: $40 each includes hors d'oeuvres, 50/50 raffle and live auction. For more information email: comedynight@furniture-bank.org

    Symphony concerts
    "Delightfully Danish" concert by Macomb Symphony Orchestra, 8 p.m. Oct. 14, at Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, Garfield and Hall roads, Clinton Township. Tickets: $18 adults, $15 students, seniors and children; 586-286-2222 or www.macombsymphony.org.
    Fall concert "A Time to Remember," 7 p.m. Oct. 15, by Lake St. Clair Symphony Orchestra, at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 30003 Jefferson at Lincoln, St. Clair Shores. Tickets $15 adults, $10 seniors, $5 students; afterglow includes cider and doughnuts.

    Benefit dinner
    Benefit for retired Warren police officer Larry Gentry, 6 p.m.-midnight Oct. 14, at Christopher M. Wouters FOP Lodge No. 124, 11304 14 Mile road, Warren. Tickets $20 advance, $25 at door, include wild boar dinner, dancing, beverages. Call 586-212-3869.

    Craft shows
    Fraser High School arts and crafts show, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 15, at the high school on Garfield north of 14 Mile Road. Admission $2, free 5 and younger; no strollers.
    Crafty Buyers Shoppe, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 19, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 20, at Warren Woods Tower High School, 27900 Bunert, Warren. Call 586-439-4402.

    Bunco party
    Girls' Night Out bunco party to benefit American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, Oct. 20, at VFW Hall, 8311 Wilson, near 24 Mile Road and Van Dyke. Registration 5 p.m., dinner 6, bunco 7; Tickets $30 in advance only; call 586-703-0428 or 586-781-8452.

    Gilda's Club
    "Cabernet, Cupcakes & Curls" benefit for Gilda's Club Metro Detroit, 3-7 p.m. Oct. 15, at Changez Salon, 3210 Crooks Road and Cup.cake, 3202 Crooks Road, both in Royal Oak. Tickets: $10, include cupcake and wine samples; salon services and massages available.

    Greenhouse tour
    Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary presents Greenhouse Open House 1-4 p.m. Oct. 15, with plant lectures at 1:30, 2:30. 3:30 p.m., at 380 Lone Pine Road west of Woodward, Bloomfield Hills. Call 248-645-3147.

    Library events
    St. Clair Shores Cultural Committee and St. Clair Shores Public Library present free film "The Colors of the Mountain," 6:30 p.m. Oct. 20, in the library's William R. Gilstorf meeting room, 22500 11 Mile Road. Call 586-771-9020.
    Anime Club meeting for teens, 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 18, at Chesterfield Township Library, 50560 Patricia. Also, drawing class for teens, 6-7 p.m. Oct. 22. "Bats of the World" program for ages 5 and older, 2-3 p.m. Oct. 22. For adults, program by Paranormal Investigators Group, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 20, and "College Planning Strategies and Timetable," 6-8 p.m. Oct. 26, for high school students and their parents. For registration information, 586-598-4900 or www.chelibrary.org.

    Pumpkins for charity
    Thanks to the generosity of two - a trailer load of pumpkins has been made available to The Macomb Charitable Foundation, which works to assist needy families in Macomb County. MCF is offering the prize pumpkins for a free will donation all day today at Cracklewood Golf Club, 18215 24 Mile Road, 1/4 mile east of Romeo Plank in Macomb Township.

    Holiday Mart
    Grosse Pointe Holiday Mart, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 14-15, at Grosse Pointe War Memorial on Lake Shore Road; admission $5. Mart includes merchandise from more than 30 upscale shops. Patron Preview Cocktail Party 5:30-9 p.m. Oct. 13, tickets start at $75; visit holidaymartgrossepointe.com. Proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan.

    Family Fun
    Hagen Free Family Fun Sundays, 1-4 p.m. Oct. 16, at Anton Art Center, 125 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens. Artist leads participants in making Ghostly Graveyards and mask-making. Visit www.theartcenter.org or call 586-469-8666.

    Camp Casey
    Camp Casey Fest, 12 hours of live music including headliner Josh Gracin, starts 11 a.m. Oct. 15, on Nine Mile Road at Woodward Avenue in Ferndale. Also includes chili cook-off, arts and crafts, food, big-screen TV broadcast of U-M vs. MSU game. Advance tickets $10 at www.camp-casey.org/fundraising; $15 day of event after 5 p.m. Ages 10 and younger free with ticketed adult. The nonprofit Camp Casey helps children with cancer and their families.

    Big Family
    Charity auction to benefit Big Family of Michigan, 6:30-10 p.m. Oct. 13, at San Marino Club, 1685 E. Big Beaver Road, Troy. Proceeds go to support abused and foster children in Michigan. Evening includes dinner and auctions. Visit www.bigfamilyofmichigan.org.

    Gem shows
    Greater Detroit Gem, Mineral, Fossil & Jewelry "Detroit Rocks" Show, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 14, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 15, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 16, at Macomb Sports & Expo Center, on Hayes south of 12 Mile Road, Warren. Show includes more than 50 dealers, museum and university exhibits, lectures. Admission $8 adults, $5 ages 62 and older, $4 ages 5-17, $12 three-day pass. Visit www.michmin.org or call 248-887-3906.
    Macomb County/Mount Clemens Gem and Lapidary Society Jewel, Gem and Bead Blast, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 23, at Lakeshore Knights of Columbus Hall, 25003 Little Mack, south of 10 Mile Road, St. Clair Shores. Includes jewelry, gems, beads, rocks, grab bags; admission $2 adults, free younger than 12. Call 313-469-7868.

    Chili Cook-off
    Ray Township chili cook-off, 7 p.m.-midnight Oct. 14, at the sponsoring Timberwood Golf Course, 27300 31 Mile Road. Includes chili judging, cash bar, music and dancing. To enter chili contest, register at Ray Township office, 64255 Wolcott road, 586-749-5171.

    Free films
    MJR 201 Free Children's Fall Film Festival, free for children 12 and younger, adults $1, at Chesterfield Crossing Digital Cinema 16, (586) 598-2500; Marketplace Digital Cinema 20, 586-264-1514; and Partridge Creek Digital Cinema 14, 586-263-0084. Schedule includes: "Mr. Popper's Penguins," Oct. 15-16; "Rio," Oct. 22-23; "Spy Kids," Oct. 29-30. No advance ticket sales; showtimes posted three days in advance of each showing.

    Senior Expo
    Free 18th Annual Senior Expo 2011, 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Oct. 13, at Assumption Cultural Center, 21800 Marter Road, St. Clair Shores. Day includes exhibits and give-aways, complimentary luncheon and raffle, entertainment by Gentlemen of Swing, community resource information, health screenings, and "Ask the Experts." Doors open 8:15 a.m. Free shuttle service from Grosse Pointe Woods Lakefront Park. For details, 586-779-6111 ext. 4.

    'Michigan's Harvest'
    "Michigan's Harvest: Food, Family and Community" program series runs through Nov. 19, at the Lorenzo Cultural Center at Macomb Community College, Garfield and Hall roads, Clinton Township. The program includes more than 30 free presentations, a series of five free exhibits and three special events (admission fee). For series and registration information, www.MacombCenter.com or 586-286-2222 or 586-445-7348.

    Warren art
    Warren Tri-County Fine Arts Association member Pep Moroni displays his oil paintings at Warren City Hall, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday during October. Visit www.warrenfinearts.com.

    Art exhibit
    "Made in Michigan" annual exhibit at City Gallery, 292 Cass Ave., Mount Clemens, through Oct. 30, features work by Mount Clemens Art Association member Louise Parrish, retired Mount Clemens High School art teacher. Call 586-469-8781.

    Century Theatre
    "Freud's Last Session" on stage 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, through Nov. 20, at Century Theatre, 333 Madison Ave., Detroit. For tickets, $34.50-$44.50, call 313-963-9800 or Ticketmaster.com.

    Line Dancing
    Line dancing and couples classes, Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. beginners, 7:15 p.m. beginner plus, 8:15-9 p.m. couples, at Roseville Recreation Center, 18185 Sycamore, east of Gratiot, north of Interstate 696, $5 per session. Call 586-777-7242 or countrycuzzins@wowway.com.

    Blind bowlers
    Macomb Blind Bowlers for visually impaired and/or blind individuals 18 and older, league bowling 11:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesdays at Fraser Star Lanes, northeast corner of 14 Mile and Garfield roads. Fee $10 per week. Call 586-360-9543.

    Community theater
    "Never Too Late," presented by Rodgerland Productions and Sterling Heights Lions Club, Saturdays, through Oct. 22, at Lions Club, 12828 Canal Road, west of Schoenherr. Buffet at 6:30 p.m., show follows; tickets $25 including tax and tip. For reservations, 586-776-9844.
    Stagecrafters presents drama "Wit," Oct. 14-23, on the 2nd Stage of the Baldwin Theatre, 415 S. Lafayette, Royal Oak. Showtimes 8 p.m. Oct. 14-15, 20-22, and 2 p.m. Oct. 16 and 23. Advance tickets $14, at www.stagecrafters.org or 248-541-6430, or $16 at box office 30 minutes before performances.

    Square dancing
    Patches Squares dance club hosts beginning square dance lessons, 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays at First United Methodist Church of Warren, 5005 Chicago Road. First class (no matter when dancers start) is free, $3 for following sessions. Call 248-613-3169.

    Pet adoptions
    Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society pet adoptions, dogs, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 15, Pet Supplies Plus, Nine Mile Road and Mack, St. Clair Shores; Oct. 22 at Petco, Masonic and Gratiot, Roseville; Nov. 1 at Petsmart at Hall and Schoenherr roads, Utica. Call 313-891-1088.

    Collectors show
    Military Collectors' Show, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 4, sponsored by Men's Auxiliary to VFW Bruce Post No. 1146, 28404 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores. General admission $5. Refreshments available; patrons may bring military items to sell, trade or display.

    Palette Club
    Lakeside Palette Club has studio space 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays in Room 111 of Adult Education Center on Masonic near Jefferson. Call 586-350-4518 or visit www.lakesidepaletteclub.org.

    Fishing clubs
    Vanguard Trout Unlimited for fishing enthusiasts meets 7:30 p.m. second Thursday monthly at Rochester's Dinosaur Hill. Also, Fishing Buddies Fishing Club gathers 6:30 p.m. third Tuesdays at Rochester Hills OPC, 650 Leticia Drive. Call 248-375-1931.

    Farmers Market
    Mount Clemens Farmers Market open 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 19, at 141 North River Road. Locally grown products, including flowers. Visit www.mountclemensfarmersmarket.com.

    Artists Association
    Grosse Pointe Artists Association 73rd Annual Members Show, through Oct. 22, at 16900 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe. Opening reception 6:30-9 p.m. Sept. 9. Call 313-821-1848.

    Volunteers needed
    * SandCastles, a grief support program for children and teens, needs volunteers for its sites in St. Clair Shores, Clinton Township, Rochester and other tri-county area locations. To register for training and/or information, call 313-874-6881. Hospices of Henry Ford Health System sponsors the program which is open to the public.
    * Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Macomb needs educational support volunteers in county elementary schools and Head Start programs during 2011-12 school year. Also, opportunities for tutoring adults through Macomb Adult Literacy. For details, contact RSVP of Macomb, (586) 756-1430 or rsvp@csmacomb.org.
    * Macomb Literary Partners needs volunteers to help adults become better readers; applicants trained to tutor an adult 2 hours per week, with training sessions held on weekends or evenings. Call 586-286-2750.
    * Detroit Historical Guild seeking volunteers interested in participating in historical activities, including flea markets at Historic Fort Wayne, tea parties, excursions to historic sites, etc. Call 586-777-5898.

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains --Seth Grahme-Smith.