Halloween doesn't come just once a year for Bill and Jayme Criscione. By the first week of June, the owners of Ghostly Manor unlock the doors to their haunted house for five months of "high-startle" wickedness.
A 25-foot-tall skull is the newest addition to the array of state-of-the-art props inside the 5,000-square-foot mansion. Throughout 17 rooms, skeletons, mummies, and other assorted monsters jump out of the darkness. "Each room can scare you from at least four places," says Bill. "And several rooms have eight places where we can get you."
Scaring the crap out of folks is nothing new to the Crisciones. Between 1987 and 2001, they turned their home into a haunted house on Halloween. When 500 people showed up one year, they decided to buy and convert an old roller-skating rink into Ghostly Manor. "The scares come from places where you least expect it," says Criscione. "And the action starts as soon as the door closes behind you." The house (3319 Milan Road in Sandusky) is open through October 31. Hours are 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Sunday, and Wednesday, and 8 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Admission is $10, $6 for kids; call 419-626-4467. -- Cris Glaser
Girls go wild at O'Malley's wet T-shirt contests.
O'Malley's Wild Wet T-Shirt Contest has been a popular draw for nearly 20 years. Nestled next to Hopkins International Airport, hotels, and strip joints, O'Malley's Night Club draws a mixed crowd split between suits, blue-collar workers, and college students -- all with at least one common interest. Competition is limited to the first five women who sign up. Each girl has a few minutes to make her case to the crowd; all five then appear onstage together. Applause determines the winner. And while performance plays a big part, extra points are, um, racked up for style. The winner takes home $200. "It's not always size" that decides the victor, says co-host Stevie Dan. "Presentation plays a big part." Fun starts at midnight Wednesday, at 16161 Brookpark Road. Admission is $3 for men; women get in free. For more info, call 216-267-6622. -- D.X. Ferris
Cinderella Man bobs and weaves movie methods.
Sports movies traffic in clichés. And no sport is more prone to formula than boxing. Ever since Raging Bull defined the genre a quarter-century ago, no boxing film has been able to forgo slo-mo close-ups of gloves on skin and the balletic dance between fighters in the ring. Cinderella Man's premise is even set on a cliché: promising boxer loses it all, climbs back into the ring for one last fight, and against staggering odds, becomes champ. Only in this case, the story of Depression-era fighter Jim Braddock (played by a solid Russell Crowe and expertly directed by Ron Howard) is all true, give or take a few moments of dramatic license. It opens Friday. See Film for review. -- Michael Gallucci
We don't know the difference between a mocker swallowtail and a scarlet Mormon, but we really like all the critters in Butterflies in Flight. More than 400 winged things -- from Southeast Asia, Africa, and other faraway continents -- take to the air Saturday through September 30 at Stan Hywet, 714 North Portage Path in Akron. It's open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Admission is $8, $5 for kids; call 330-836-5533. -- Michael Gallucci