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Ghoul oriented

There's more to Halloween in the South 'burbs than Assumption Cemetery. (Though, we admit: That's it's a pretty good part!) Still, whether it's ghost hunting or eyeball ingesting that really lights your jack o'lantern, read on for freaky ways to celebrate the scariest time of the year.

We admit that a Mexican restaurant in Homewood seems like an unlikely spot to celebrate Halloween, but if you secretly aspire to be a ghostbuster, you'll want to be on Cilantro's Ghost Bus Tour on Oct. 8. Real-life ghost hunters (they prefer to be called "paranormal investigators") will lead thrill-seekers on an excursion to the most historically haunted sites in Chicago. Get your nerve up with $1 margaritas before piling onto the bus to visit eerie locations including Resurrection Mary, Hull House and the St. Valentine's Day Massacre site ($35).

If a bar draped in black-and-orange crepe paper and faux spider webs isn't cool enough for your Halloween revelry, head to CD & Me's barn dance. This bash in a revamped barnyard has drawn more than 700 people in past years for roll-in-the-hay fun. No hoe-downs here, but cover band The Hat Guys will bring down the barn. If your costume is up to snuff, you could leave with their share of the more than $1,000 in cash and prizes. ($35 cover includes dinner buffet, unlimited draft beer and wine).

At quadruple-threat Colosseum Entertainment Complex in Mokena , the four venues go batty for Halloween weekend. On Oct. 28, alternate between the Kiss cover band in the Colosseum Sports Bar and DJs spinning tunes at Maximus Night Club ($5 admission covers both venues). In The Pearl Room, groove to the beats of Moonspell at 7 p.m. while fire breathers, little people on tricycles and dead-celebrity impersonators -- from Elvis to Marylyn Monroe to James Dean – add to the surreally spooky setting ($17). If you're a scaredy cat (or just want to play it low-key), high-tail it to the on-site restaurant, Capone's, where Johnny Nightclub will croon Frank Sinatra songs and the most gruesome sight will be Italian dishes dripping with red sauce.

When you need a margarita, Anita Vigil, owner of Tinley Park favorite Anita Margarita, is there for you. When you need a Halloween party, she has that covered, too. Rock out to live music and sip on premium tequilas and frozen margaritas in Anita Margarita's bar on Oct. 28. If your clan shows up in costume, you'll score a free appetizer, and the three revelers sporting the best get-ups will win wine baskets and gift certificates.

If you're looking for a party at a hometown pub, you can't lose at Lassen's Sports Bar & Grill . If nothing else, the spooky drink specials bartenders concoct the week before the bash are sure to entertain; in past years, you could swallow a shot that uncannily resembled an eyeball. Costume wearers will be critiqued on originality and creativity to win Best Female, Best Male, Best Group and Best Overall costume.

Tammy Matthews is a metromix special contributor

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