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I'm back with Pressing Matters this week and what could be more pressing than the holidays? So let's get to some Halloween happenings near and far, and one nod to Christmas (because it has ghosts too, you know).

Something I've wanted to do for a couple of years now but haven't gotten around to yet because the month of October just zips by so darned fast, is the L.A. Live Steamers Ghost Train Haunted Halloween Ride.

If you've ever been out Griffith Park to see Walt's Barn, you've probably noticed the model trains next door to the barn (they are tons of fun to ride on with the kiddies). Well this time of year the L.A. Steamers deck out their train route with over 30 spooky Halloween scenes, you hop on the train and ride past all that Halloween coolness. Sounds like fun, no?

The L.A. Live Steamers have been decorating their train route for Halloween since 2001, and you still have a chance to make it out to Griffith Park for the ghostly ride now through Halloween night (October 29 through 31. The train runs from 7 till 10pm with a suggested donation of $5 per ride and riders must be at least 34-inches tall. The Halloween scenes along the train route are spooky, not scary, as this is a family-friendly event.

L.A. Live Steamers is located at 5202 Zoo Dr, in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA 90027 More info: www.lals.org


Ever been to Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY? That place is loaded with history (some of it creepy-spooky) and there are probably more than a few ghosts floating around there too. Just in time for Halloween they have a Creep Show going on.

CREEPSHOW AT THE FREAKSHOW PLAYERS PRESENT: TRICKY TREATS - A TRAUMA DRAMA: Imagine an old horror movie TV show host, like Zacherly using props and wigs and a sound effects table to go "on the air" around Halloween and share a traumatic tale with his audience. A simple story of "Ding-dong. I opened the door" trick or treaters goes very wrong and very very off course. Of course!

Cost is $7.50 and show times are: Thursday October 29: 8 and 9pm | Friday, October 30 at 8, 9 and 10pm | Saturday, October 31 at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10pm | Sunday, November 1 at 2 and 4pm. Please note: TRICKY TREATS is a one-act play with a seated audience. It is not the usual Creep-show guided tour of the building. Running time: 30 min.

Presented by: Sideshows By The Seashore, corner of Surf and West 12th St. More info: www.coneyisland.com

Up in San Francisco, the folks at the Walt Disney Family Museum have a great idea for Halloween celebrating HalloScreen! Get dressed up in costume and go see a classic Disney Halloween cartoon (The Skeleton Dance [illustrated above], The Mad Doctor, Pluto's Judgment Day and more) at the museum.

Screenings are on October 30 & 31 at 10:30am, 12:30, 2:30, 4:30 , 6:30, 8:30, & 10:30pm and ticket cost is: $10 Adult | $8 Child (6-17) | $6 Child (0-5).

For more info: www.disney.go.com/disneyatoz/familymuseum/dec2009.html

This last Pressing Matter is in two parts, one of which takes place in a city that is far, far, away from me, but oh how I wish I could be there, not only for the Christmas lights & film (read on), but hey shopping! And well, Colin Furth's involved too (as I said, read on).

The world premiere of Disney's "A Christmas Carol" will take place this coming Tuesday and to start the whole thing off in style, London will host the biggest ever coordinated Christmas lights switch-on. Here's the low-down:

On Tuesday November 3 London will be brought to life with three sensational free concerts from a wide range of recording artists in The City, Regent Street and Oxford Circus, before the World Premiere of Disney's "A Christmas Carol" in Leicester Square as part of London's biggest ever coordinated Christmas lights switch-on and celebration, London's Christmas Carol.

Oxford Circus has Jim Carrey, St Paul's Cathedral has Bob Hoskins and Regent Street has Colin Firth all turning on the Christmas Lights, while over at Leicester Square at the World Premiere Event Andrea Bocelli will then lead a world record breaking Christmas Carol sing-along joined by St Paul's Cathedral Choir in London's Leicester Square to open proceedings for the World Premiere of Disney's 'A Christmas Carol'.

Approximate London show times have concerts starting at 5pm with the switch on moment at 6:15pm (approx) followed at 6:20pm - 6:30pm with the Christmas Carol World Record sing,

Meanwhile back here in the states the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood will screen the 3-D Christmas Carol starting November 6 and running through January 3. As to be expected at Disney's showcase theatre, there's more than just the movie to see here.

An all new live stage show, "Disney's Holiday Spectacular" is set in a winter wonderland and features singing, dancing and an ensemble of Disney characters celebrating the season before each screening. Audiences will also get a behind the scenes look at the making of the movie with an exclusive display of real artifacts direct from the Charles Dickens Museum in London, as well as concept art, models, maquettes, and costumes used in the making of the film, and much, much more.

Next door Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store will have animated holiday store windows in the style of the department stores of yester-year, reminiscent of the windows at the Emporium at Disneyland. They'll also offer a special "Christmas Carol" sundae, featuring crushed peppermint stick mixed into rich vanilla ice cream, topped with hot fudge and whipped cream and dusted with red and green sugar sprinkles. Served with two gold and silver foil wrapped chocolate coins.

Daily show times are 10am, 1, 4, 7 and 9:45pm. Tickets (both regular and VIP) are available at the El Capitan Theatre (6838 Hollywood Blvd.), online at www.elcapitantickets.com, or by calling 1-800-DISNEY6. Special group rates for parties of 20 or more are available by calling 1-818-845-3110.

Okay, a little Halloween, a little Christmas, I think that should do it for this week's...

If you'd like to submit something to be considered for the column, please send it to both Sue and Al at the following email addresses: [email protected] and [email protected] with the words "Pressing Matters" in the subject line. Due to our already extensive email loads we won't be able to acknowledge each submission, but those under consideration may get a note from us asking for more details. Representatives from the items chosen are invited to answer questions from readers at the forum linked at the end of each column.

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2009 Sue Kruse

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