Halloween can be a distressing season for revelers with weak stomachs. Paralleling the graphic carnage of the modern horror genre, contemporary Halloween attractions tend to emphasize bloodstained lunatics springing forth from gruesomely arrayed tableaux of murder and mayhem. But what options exist for those who favor suspense over slaughter? What about those who appreciate Gothic chills more than graphic kills? Rather than forsaking Halloween festivities altogether, audiences with an aversion to gore — but still hoping for a good scare — would do well to visit the James J. Hill House for a relatively refined evening of Victorian Ghost Stories. In the dimly lit environs of the stately home's parlor, a trio of costumed actors (Craig Johnson, Laura Salveson, and Ann Daly) will narrate a hair-raising selection of spooky works from such 19th-century authors as Edgar Alan Poe, Edith Wharton, and the Brothers Grimm. In addition to classic paranormal tales, references to real-life hauntings are sure to raise a shiver or two. And having set the mind ill at ease, each evening culminates in a tour of the home, during which the provoked power of suggestion is bound to have audiences jumping at shadows. Best of all, guests will have enjoyed an abundant share of scares without having to worry over washing stage blood out of their clothes.
Sundays, 6 & 7:30 p.m.; Wednesdays, 6 & 7:30 p.m. Starts: Oct. 21. Continues through Oct. 31, 2012