Since Missouri has more than 5,500 caves, the underground hideouts are practically more plentiful around these parts than Busch beer cans and pit-stained T-shirts. Because of this, sometimes it's easy to take the subterranean rock behemoths for granted. In fact, betcha it's been years since you've been out to Onondaga Cave State Park (seven miles southeast of the I-44 Leasburg exit, 7556 Highway H, Leasburg; www.mostateparks.com/onondaga.htm), and betcha it's been even longer since you've gotten yourself really scared while exploring (using the bathroom at [fill in almost any rock club here] doesn't count as "exploring," by the way; relieving yourself at some of those places can be a bit scary, though, we'll give you that).
So why not take a little field trip down the highway and go on a flashlight trek through Onondaga Cave? Yep, that's right: Unlike in the photo, the lights won't be on as you venture on the "Ghosts of Onondaga Cave" tour -- told you it'd be scary, especially since the cavern is home to sightless, pigment-less grotto salamanders. Eeeps! (If those aren't Halloween-y, we don't know what is.) The expeditions, which cost $2 (and are free for those younger than thirteen), actually focus on the cave's human history instead of its creepy critters, though, so don't panic. Just bring your own flashlight, and get there between 6:30 and 8 p.m.; call 573-245-6576 to make your recommended reservation. -- Alison Sieloff
You're Making Us Madden!
Accept the challenge
Consider this a farewell. We've seen the future, baby, and it ain't Night & Day. Just two words: thumb chiropracty. It's the inevitable result when millions of Americans spend thousands upon thousands of hours each year playing EA Sports' Madden NFL football video games. Stretch your thumbs and head down to St. Louis Mills (5555 St. Louis Mills Boulevard, Hazelwood) beginning at 9 a.m. for the 2005 EA Sports Madden Challenge, a 32-city tournament to find the ultimate Madden NFL '06 player. The St. Louis champion will compete for the $100,000 grand prize in Honolulu in February. Entry in the Xbox tournament costs $10; register online at www.maddenchallenge.com, or call the Madden Challenge hotline at 866-489-7668 for more information. -- Ian Froeb
BRR on Bikes
Ride to Rocheport
You're concerned about all those Halloween calories. Why not pre-empt them with a good old-fashioned 32- or 50-mile bike ride? That's right, the Mid-MO BRR (Bike Ride to Rocheport) rolls into action with a brand new route. This ride takes off from 8 to 10 a.m. (after a yummy breakfast) from the Les Bourgeois Vineyards A-frame in Rocheport (just west of Columbia off I-70, 14020 Highway BB). At the midway point at Cooper's Landing, riders can shake their chilly backsides to live bluegrass music or strut their Halloween costumes in the noon contest. Recovery begins after you've returned to Rocheport around 1 p.m. with tours of the winery, wine-tastings, appetizers and more music (until 4 p.m.).
Visit www.midmobrr.com or call 573-268-3269 to register and for more information about the ride's events and the free post-party at Columbia's Blue Note at 8 p.m. A portion of the $45 ride registration fee benefits the Mizzou Children's Hospital's Juvenile Diabetes program. -- Anna Teekell
Fiddle of Fear
The one thing missing from most trick-or-treating excursions has been bluegrass music -- until now. The Shriektacular, a 6:30-to-9-p.m. family event at Suson Park (6073 Wells Road, Concord), has magicians, jugglers and, yes, live bluegrass music to entertain boys and ghouls of all ages. And after the walk you get marshmallows and a bonfire. Sweet. Admission is $6 (free for kids younger than five); call 636-391-0922 to reserve a spot on the tour. -- Paul Friswold
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