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Halloween on the Net

In preparation for the witching hour, there are a wealth of sites where Netizens can get the scoop on events or read up on the legends and lore of Halloween.

In preparation for the witching hour, there are a wealth of sites that Netizens can access to get the scoop on events or simply to read up on the legends and lore of Halloween.

Perhaps the greatest concentration of sites are geared toward children. GeoCities Crypt is a good starting point for young goblins seeking scary sites. This links site sends curious children to sketches of werewolves and vampires that can be printed and used as cut-outs. Halloween revelers can download TV theme songs from shows such as "Bewitched" and "The X-Files," or navigate through a choose-your-own-adventure tale that teaches children the Golden Rules of Halloween Safety. The Crypt also features a biography of the real Count Dracula (not the Bela Lugosi variety) and lists Halloween festivals around the globe.

Halloween on the Net, a section of the Holidays on the Net site, is another fun and family-oriented option that delves further into the history and folklore of Halloween. It provides a brief history of Halloween?s Roman and Celtic origins and explains the roots of trick-or-treating, among other features.

Sites celebrating the paranormal and supernatural abound by groups ranging from self-styled professional folklorists to slasher film buffs.

For brave wired souls, there is The Darker Side of the Net. This site is geared toward those interested in "gothic" culture, and is not recommended for children due to the nature of its content and images.

For example, surfers can check out cemetery listings, download gothic art and images, or enter chat rooms addressing issues from the Bastille to vampires. Surfers also can visit online stores that specialize in gothic necessities such as clothing and gargoyle statues. The site is very comprehensive and covers an impressive spectrum of information for those interested in exploring this subculture.

Most of these sites are graphics-heavy and incorporate multimedia properties that may take a while to download.

For those looking to celebrate non-virtually, CitySearch has jumped on the Halloween bandwagon to guide urban dwellers to sites of revelry. Event listings in the service's ten cities include locations, times, and tickets, and offer brief summaries of what to expect--but the extent of listings varies city to city.