October opens with array of adventures

By Ryan Cornell

Still haven’t decided on a Halloween costume?

For a dose of inspiration, and to fill your fright fix, venture to any one of the several area haunted houses that just reopened for scaring this weekend:

The Devil’s Den
537 N. Cameron St., Winchester / $15 per person / http://www.bit.ly/1qZwl3L

Haunted Nightmares
933 Barley Lane, Winchester / $10-$12 per person / 540-667-7377 / http://www.bit.ly/10m50Uj

The Edge of Darkness
261 Morningstar Road, Mount Jackson / $5-$8 per person / http://www.on.fb.me/1vak1S8

Fear Forest
6340 Oak Shade Road, Harrisonburg / $12 per person / http://www.bit.ly/1x1djPP

DarkWood Manor
104 N. Hawksbill St., Luray / $12 per person / 540-743-2408 / http://www.bit.ly/1vaapGU

For a less terrifying adventure, animal lovers can visit the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal for its annual Autumn Conservation Festival. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the institute will open its doors to the public for tours, interaction with scientists and animal keepers and a behind-the-scenes look at rare and endangered animals, including the red panda cubs born this year, black-footed ferrets and a portion of the bird collection.

Admission is $30 per car, with a $5 charge added for each person over six passengers.

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute is located at 1500 Remount Road in Front Royal.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.bit.ly/10khjAm.

Other events include:

Oktoberfest — Downtown Strasburg fills up with more activities, music and food than you can shake a bratwurst at.
N. Holliday St. / 4-9 p.m. Saturday / $5 per person, free for children 16 and under / http://www.tiny.cc/7pnemx

The Burning — The Edinburg Mill commemorates the area’s Civil War activity with 1860s-era music by the Shenandoah Valley Minstrels from 10 a.m. to noon, a review of the burning by historian Richard Kleese at 1 p.m. and film screenings of “The Burning” throughout the day.
The Museum at the Edinburg Mill / 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday / Free / 540-984-8400 / http://www.bit.ly/ZtKnp2

Southeastern Guns and Knives Show — Visitors can browse a wide assortment of firearms, accessories, ammunition and knives when this quarterly gun show returns to Body Renew Fitness.
221 Commonwealth Court, Winchester / 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday / $8 per person, $5 for children 13-17 years old, Free for children under 12 with adult guardian / http://www.bit.ly/1uD0Rb3

Chili Challenge — The Winchester Exchange Club hosts its 18th annual chili challenge and barbecue competition to benefit the local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.
Old Town Winchester walking mall / Noon-8 p.m. Saturday / $10 per ticket / 540-533-2450

Jett Williams — A daughter of the legendary Hank Williams, the country songstress brings her talents to the Shenandoah Jamboree.
The Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns / 7 p.m. Saturday / $20-$30 / 540-477-2432 / http://www.bit.ly/1x1jYcU”

Fed Up — The Woodstock Community Theatre presents a free showing of this documentary, which examines the American food industry and obesity epidemic.
136 N. Main St., Woodstock / 4 p.m. Saturday / Free / http://www.bit.ly/1E2Nrbi

John-Robert Rimel — Strasburg’s Music in the Park series concludes with a performance from the Edinburg 14-year-old who stole hearts on the “Ellen” show earlier this spring. Folk singer Rich Follett also performs.
Strasburg Hometown Park / 5-7 p.m. Sunday / Free / http://www.bit.ly/1rKzolp

Lost Weekend — The festival features 13 films over three days, including “Gone Girl,” “Boyhood” and “Frank.”
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema / Friday-Sunday / http://www.bit.ly/1rO1HQl