CLICKING THROUGH A HAUNTED HOUSE : WEB OFFERS VARIETY OF SPOOKY CHOICES FOR HALLOWEEN FRIGHT.
As Halloween draws near, haunted Web sites are popping up faster than apples in a bobbing barrel.
Here are some fun, slightly spooky areas where you can find suggestions for costumes, parties and videos, wander through haunted mansions and play ghoulish games.
The Haunted Home Page offers a good selection of carving stencils, as well as safety tips and downloadable sound files of cackling witches, moaning ghosts, screams and the like. Ghoulish recipes and kid-friendly ones are here, too. But its interactive game, which involves clicking through a haunted house, is the main reason to visit this site. Netscape Navigator 3.0 or Microsoft's Internet Explorer 3.0 are recommended for viewing the site and playing the game (www.hauntedhome.com.).
Ben & Jerry's Halloween Page offers downloadable images for use on Web sites or computers, as well as games, crafts and links (www.benjerry.com/halloween).
The Cabinet of Dr. Casey - The Horror Web Page is a horror fan's dream of a site, with sound clips from movies, poster art, literature links and pointers to related Web sites and news groups. There's a list of Halloween links, too (www.cat.pdx.edu/caseyh/horror).
YaBoo! A Parody by Dark Side of the Web echoes the Yahoo format in assembling a huge list of working Halloween links, arranged by category. Parents may wish to supervise children when they're clicking on links not included in the kids category (www.cascade.net/yaboo.html).
Family Planet's resources include costume tips, many low-cost and easy to make; party theme suggestions by age group, complete with recipes and ideas for activities, prizes and decorations; suggestions on videos to rent, with age recommendations; and recommendations on controlling candy-eating, safety and dealing with a frightened child. For children, there are electronic postcards to send and a pumpkin to be carved on line (family.starwave.com/seasonal/halloween/).
Many of the videos suggested on Family Planet are obvious choices and likely to be rented early; for other fright flick options, try searching the Internet Movie Database. Specifying the 100 highest-rated horror films in English brings up hundreds of choices (thanks to tie scores). Keep an eye on how many Internet users actually voted on the rating, though - some of the top choices are the work of just a few fans. Some videos can be ordered through an Internet storefront (www.imdb.com).
Small children can roam freely on the home page for Billy Bear's Halloween. Here, they can print out drawings to color, play on-line games and find games and screen savers (www.lni.net/rrwauer/halowen/halowen.htm).
The Haunted House, another kids site, supplies party ideas, decorations, recipes, games and downloadable pictures (ww.islandnet.com/bedford/hallow.html).
America Online's One Scary Night is a one-stop forum for downloads, ghost stories, games and tips for adult parties. There's a kids area, too. Keyword: Halloween.
Hell's Half Acre, sponsored by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, has games and a selected list of links to other Halloween sites (www.startribune.com/stonline/html/fungames/boo).
At UNICEF's Web site, children can order collection boxes to trick-or-treat for funds to help other children worldwide (www.unicefusa.org).
Universal Studios' site is a commercial morass; skip the theme park and video ads and go straight to the postcard area, which offers Halloween missives with classic horror movie scenes (www.mca.com).
Photo: Urban Legends' site is among various Web choices, running from tips on costumes for kids to a trip through a haunted house.