Halloween, Clowns, and Sausage

Haunted houses have a large order to fill, namely because it takes talent and careful planning to scare the crap out patrons who are so obviously waiting for exactly that thing. But there’s a tried-and-true formula that certifiably screams suspense. The answer: clowns. Also: carnivals. Also: sausage. All very creepy things.

Fright Nights at the South Florida Fairgrounds, where all of these hideous elements come together in one massive event, remains atop the haunted pile. They’ve got haunted houses, yes, but in one of them lurk The Smiths. Not the band, you see, but the cabal of deeply misanthropic clowns. Elsewhere, they’ve got a butcher shop direct from the bucolic south, “Country Bill’s Meat Market,” where you can witness flesh of uncertain derivation turned into food of questionable edibility (including sausages), all by people whose family trees look more like vines. To complete the trifecta, there’s a midway with rides and games and cotton candy and screaming children (perhaps the scariest addition of all). And there’s a sideshow. No shit. An old-timey sideshow, full of natural oddities (Fat Lady Fannie Bryson, the Half Boy), self-made freaks (William Darke, who jams nails up his schnoz for both money and pleasure; a guy named “Zomora, the Torture King” who tortures himself for your edification), and total unclassifiables (the Bearded Lady, the Wolf Man). You can witness all of this and more for a mere $15 (or $25, if you wanna have unlimited access to rides). The frightening will persist at 6 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays until November 1 at the fairgrounds (9067 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach). Buy your tix at frightnights.net.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 6 p.m. Starts: Oct. 17. Continues through Nov. 1, 2008

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Brandon K. Thorp