Mummies, vampires and zombies!
They may give us nightmares — or, worse, heebie-jeebies — but somehow we just can't get enough of our favorite monsters. From classic literature to mega movies, TV shows to Halloween costumes, we want more blood-sucking, dead-walking, moon-howling, monosyllable-uttering creepsters.
Here's a look at a few monster classics, some facts about real-life horror-makers and a chance to craft your own monster tale.
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This popular science-fiction monster first appeared in Mary Shelley's classic novel in 1818 and has since been seen in movies, television shows and even an off-Broadway theater production. Motivated by curiosity and a fascination with life and death, scientist Victor Frankenstein uses an assortment of body parts to create his masterpiece. Horrified by his new scientific creation, however, Victor flees, leaving the creature to venture out of the laboratory and into the human world.
This monster's hideously grotesque legacy is a costume favorite for trick-or-treaters of all ages.
All you'll need is a generous supply of toilet paper to make this instantly recognizable costume on Oct. 31. The concept of mummies dates back thousands of years and across many cultures. In ancient Egypt, mummifying was a ritual practice used to preserve the dead. South America's Inca civilization also believed in eternal rest and followed this practice of embalming, too. In the 1999 movie The Mummy, some archaeologists are horrified after they accidentally awaken an Egyptian mummy and lift its eternal curse. Like many other ghoulish characters, mummies are constantly seen in books, comics and horror movies, and of course, on every Halloween night.
Halloween festivities would be incomplete without the ultimate spine-chilling zombie to really give trick-or-treaters a fright. The zombie earned its place as one of Halloween's most terrifying creatures after popular film representations, most notably George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Zombies still frighten audiences with their haunting reputation as undead monsters that return to feast on the living. Even the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, took an interest in zombies. His early-'80s album Thriller, which features an ensemble zombie cast in the title track's music video, has remained on the Billboard Top 100 Albums chart for more than 20 years.
One of horror's more elusive creatures, the werewolf is known for its superhuman strength and shape-shifting powers. Examples of the werewolf date all the way back to Greek and Roman mythological themes, which explored the concept of humans changing into animals and vice versa. In popular television shows and movies, most recently in the Twilight book series and movie, werewolves are again in popular culture as mysterious creatures not to be underestimated. Actors Jack Nicholson and Michael J. Fox have both appeared as werewolves in their film careers, and Professor Lupin is forever cursed as a werewolf in the popular Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling.
This classic gothic vampire has terrified audiences for decades, but he first appeared as a literary character in Irish writer Bram Stoker's 1897 novel. In Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film adaptation, Gary Oldman stars as the Count Dracula who seduces his prey before indulging his thirst for human blood. In horror films, Count Dracula remains the character most often portrayed, edging out even top competitor Frankenstein, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Identifiable by his pale complexion, high-collared cape and characteristic teeth and red lips, our favorite vampire continues to inspire many pop-culture adaptations.
Trick or treating safety tips
■ Carry a flashlight or a light stick.
■ Plan costumes that are bright and visible at night; if the material is dark, use reflective tape.
■ Masks can obscure your vision; consider using hypo-allergenic face paints instead.
■ Make sure the kids have a good meal before trick-or-treating to keep them from filling up on treats.
■ Confine or restrain your cat or dog to avoid escapes when opening the door to serve trick-or-treaters. Also, make sure your pet has a collar and ID tag.
■ Homeowners should be on the lookout for hazards: garden hoses, support wires, low-hanging tree limbs and flower pots.
Here are the times Saturday for trick-or-treating in Lexington and surrounding communities: Berea: 6-8 p.m. Georgetown: 5-8 p.m. (city) Frankfort: 6-8 p.m. Lexington: 5-8 p.m. Nicholasville: 6-8 p.m. Paris: 6-8 p.m. Richmond: 6-8 p.m. Wilmore: 6-7:30 p.m. Winchester: 6-8 p.m.