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Best of Aaron Todd
After grabbing a quick bite for dinner, Vin and I walked from the food court back to the poker room. It was almost Halloween, so I wasn't surprised to see a stone gargoyle in the corridor. In fact, I was looking at it while we walked by, because I was amazed at how lifelike it appeared to be.
Right as we passed, it took one step toward me and cackled, "Happy Halloween!" I must have jumped three feet in the air, because all the other people passing by got a good laugh out of it (Editor's note: It's the first time anyone has mistaken Aaron for a basketball player). Even the woman in the disguise had a hard time hiding the smile on her face. She's lucky, however, she didn't try to trick this guy that day.
That experience, however frightening, is nothing compared to some of the scary things you can see in a casino. So, in honor of the season of pumpkins, witches and trick or treaters, here are the top-10 scariest things you might see at a casino this Halloween season.
10. Overserved young people in costumes
There are lots of clubs in casinos, and many of them will be throwing massive Halloween parties. Many of the single people attending these parties might decide to have a few drinks to increase their confidence as they try to score telephone numbers. Those wearing masks may be further emboldened by the fact that their faces are hidden from view. Add in a $35 charge for five hours of an open bar and a $1,000 first-place prize for best costume and it could get ugly. If you want to witness, or even take part in the carnage, head to McFadden's at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday, Oct. 29.
9. Sky Jump at the Stratosphere
The Sky Jump at the Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower is a controlled freefall from the 108th floor. It's the only Sky Jump in North America, and the highest in the world. Here's Sky Jump's answer to the question as to whether it's scary or not on their FAQ page: "You're about to jump off the 108th floor of a building and fall 855 feet at a scream-inducing speed – what do you think?"
8. The Bellagio Bandit
With plenty of paid security staff and closed-circuit cameras everywhere, there's more security in a casino than in nearly any other place you'll go. But with lots of cash on hand, casinos are often targets of idiots that decide to try to get rich quick through robbery instead of through the progressive slots. While the Bellagio Bandit himself isn't likely to show up at a casino anytime soon (he's serving 3-11 years in prison), it would be pretty scary for anyone involved to see a robbery take place in a casino.
7. Halloween slots
There are plenty of wagering options that include Halloween themes. And while there are slot machines in brick-and-mortar casinos with those themes, one of the best places to find them is online. You can find all kinds of slots, including halloween themes, spooky slots, vampire games, slots with mummies, werewolves, monsters and witches and wizards.
6. ATM fees
If you decide to visit a casino on Halloween (or any time for that matter), make sure you bring as much cash as you plan to gamble and/or spend. Because if you run out and decide to hit the ATM, you're going to get socked with fees. Most ATMs in casinos charge $6 for withdrawing the first $100. And the fees go up the more money you take out (though they fall to a lower percentage of the overall withdrawal). Decide what your budget is, bring enough cash and stick to it.
5. Elevators at the Imperial Palace
Okay, these aren't really scary – they'll get you to your floor safe and sound. But you might have to wait 45 minutes from the start of your journey to the end. And anything that can only manage to get you two feet a minute is a pretty scary wait time. If you're staying at the Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, take the stairs.
4. The working girls (and the gamblers) at sunrise
Most of the people you see in Las Vegas casinos at sunrise (other than the employees) are people who have been on all-night gambling benders and working girls looking for new "friends." I'm not exactly sure which of these is scarier.
3. Madame Tussauds wax museum
If you want to see something really creepy this Halloween season, go to a wax museum. Madame Tussauds at the The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas is a great example. The wax models are eerily real. In fact, Pittsburgh Steeler safety Troy Polamalu had some fun with some visitors to the Madame Tussauds in Hollywood earlier this month, as they approached what they thought was a model of the NFL star.
2. Ace Frehley from KISS
Ace Frehley isn't make-your-heart-skip scary, but he's scary good. The former lead guitarist from KISS, Frehley's guitar riffs are legendary. And you can see him perform live at the House of Blues at Showboat Atlantic City on Friday, Oct. 28, at 8 p.m.
1. Bachelorette parties
Bachelor parties have always been seen as wild, crazy outings where guys go nuts and do all the things they secretly want to do. Bachelor parties in Vegas have picked up an even crazier reputation, thanks in large part to the "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" campaign, and the film The Hangover. But the reality is, when it comes to bachelor parties in Las Vegas, they're nothing compared to some of the bachelorette parties I've seen. For some reason, when women visit Sin City and one of their own is getting hitched, something switches off in their brains. They walk down The Strip making a scene, they accost men and they behave in ways that you'd never expect women to behave. While this doesn't apply to all bachelorette parties in Las Vegas, I can say that I've seen some that I've ducked into a bathroom to avoid. Now that's scary.