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story.lead_photo.caption Ghost tours, Halloween flicks bring ghoulish good times

TEXARKANA, Texas — Whip out your ghost-sensing gizmos and get set for cinematic chills at the Perot Theatre with a weekend of ghost tours and Halloween movies.

The Perot hosts ghost tours at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, and then hosts screenings of two Halloween movies on Saturday, Oct. 19: "Hocus Pocus" at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., "Poltergeist" (with "campfire" ghost stories following) at 8 p.m.

"There's a lot of chatter and a lot of interest, and we're really excited about it," said Tiffani Whitehead, marketing coordinator for the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council, about the spooky weekend coming up at the downtown venue with a rich history and those dark corridors and shadows just perfect for ghost potential.

"If anyone has done the tour previously, it will be very similar. You'll get to bring your equipment. The tour is really for the spectator to find their own evidence," Whitehead said. They'll lead tour-goers safely through the dark to different "hot spots" where ghosts may have been experienced, she said.

"There will be some storytellers to kind of give a little background information about what we do know about the unexplainable," Whitehead said. This is different than the campfire ghost stories planned for Saturday, which don't have a tour involved.

The tours are limited to 30 per tour for safety reasons. The Perot will be dark inside. The city of Texarkana, Texas, is also doing ghost bike tours that night, free if people bring their own bike, said the marketing coordinator.

"It'll be creepy," Whitehead said about the vibe inside of the Perot. The tours won't be "super scary," she said, but those who attend should be age-appropriate for the occasion. "It will be dark. There will be moments where there is no visible light other than a flash of a camera or a dot on a phone, so it could get kind of scare for young ones."

What makes the Perot so great for ghost tours? History, Whitehead said. "The dynamics of the architecture can cast some shadows that just kind of give you chills," she said. And not much lighting comes through.

"Coming through and just seeing some of the history really can bring it to light, and then to hear some of the actual firsthand accounts can really get you on edge," Whitehead said.

Then on Saturday, the Perot hosts two showings of a new Halloween classic perfect for the family, "Hocus Pocus." That movie is followed by a classic horror movie, "Poltergeist," paired with the post-"Poltergeist" ghost tales told down in the Perot orchestra seats. The ghost stories are part of the evening movie experience, a combo event.

"We're bringing the stories to them. We're bringing the stories with our evidence of our personal account experiences. We're telling those stories through either ourselves or actual storytellers, but they are firsthand experiences," Whitehead said. Expect photographs and security footage to be on the big screen.

"It'll take your breath away," Whitehead said. Sound and lighting effects will be at play here for the ghost tales at this three-hour or three-and-a-half hour event. "We want to bring in a great experience and then really give them some goosebumps."

TRAHC will again host classic Christmas movies in December. With a movie projector, this is the type of programming possible. "We thought why not move that into a different season and start a new tradition," Whitehead said.

(Tickets: $20, or $10 with a student ID, for ghost tours; $8 for "Hocus Pocus"; $15 per person for "Poltergeist" and ghost stories. Get tickets and more information by visiting TRAHC.org or calling the Perot Theatre Box Office at 903-792-4992.)

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