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A sampling of this year's Halloween shows

A sampling of Halloween shows

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Chicago's theaters offer a whopping selection of productions to terrorize us this Halloween season. Here are a few highlights. For more, see our listings.

In an earnest and eerie effort to engage its audience, Pilsen's Dream Theatre picks a patron to become part of the horror onstage. Victims of Audience Annihilated Part One: Women Only Train (through 10/31: Thu-Sun 8, 8:30, 9, 9:30, and 10 PM, 556 W. 18th, 773-552-8616, dreamtheatrecompany.com, $13 online, $18 at the door) agree to accept whatever befalls them during the 15-minute performance to which a maximum of four people are admitted. The creepy tagline: "All that happens happens to you!"

Fans of rock 'n' roll burlesque troupe the Flaming Dames may wish that were also the tagline for The Exorcism of the Flaming Dames (Sat 10/29, 7 PM, then Sat 11/5-Sat 11/12, 8 PM, Vision, 632 N. Dearborn, 888-326-3129, theflamingdames.com, $15). Dream on. Still, the Dames supply their own version of participation. They're "possessed," says the promo, "and it's up to the audience to exorcise these sexy demons," who tell classic Chicago ghost stories like the one about Resurrection Mary.

Postmortem Chicago is also the focus of the Cornservatory's 2011 Halloween show, Nightmares on Lincoln Ave. 3 (through 10/31: Wed-Sat and Mon 8 PM, Sun 7 PM, Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln, 773-650-1331, cornservatory.org, $7-$15), which mixes horror with sketch improv. And of course, there's always The Rocky Horror Show (Through 10/30: Thu-Fri 8 PM, Sat 8 PM and midnight, Sun midnight, Underground Lounge, 952 W. Newport, 773-327-2739, ulchicago.com, $18-$25). The Underscore Theatre Company staging works a twist on the classic by reframing the sleepover at Frank-N-Furter's castle. Here, it's a dream straight-arrows Brad and Janet have when they fall asleep in a movie theater.

Another classic, Annoyance Productions's Splatter Theater (through 10/31: Fri and Sun 10:01 PM, Mon 8 PM, Annoyance Theater, 4830 N. Broadway, 773-561-4665, annoyanceproductions.com, $20), shreds slasher movies—and plenty of characters, too, including a nun, a virgin, and a jock. Watch standard tropes get exterminated in humorous and horrible ways. (For more Halloween events see page 47.) —Jordan Larson

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