Haunted Trails

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Haunted Trails

Haunted Trails

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Festivals of Fright and Fun In and Around Our Community

Written by Jessica Pilkins


Night of Fish, Fun & Fright

Friday, October 21 @ 6:30 PM

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota

(941) 388-4441


Buoys and Ghouls of all ages are invited to dress up in costume for a Night of Fish, Fun & Fright at Mote Aquarium. Sail the spooky seas and discover sea creatures from the deep in a safe and fun trick-or-treating zone and explore the haunted house, “Shipwreck on City Island.” Unearth shark teeth in “Coffin Creek” and enjoy deep sea delights in the “Diner of the Dead.” And don’t miss the signature underwater pumpkin carving in the spooktacular shark tank!

Mummies & Goblins Halloween Party

Thursday, October 27 @ 10:00 AM

George Mullen Activity Center

4956 City Center Boulevard, North Port

(941) 240-8120

Children and parents are invited to enjoy a day of costumes and candy at the George Mullen Center. This event will run until noon and will allow children ages two through five and their parents to enjoy costume contests, make-and-take projects and treats. Children will be given a treat bag to color and decorate and will receive candy at each table where they complete a craft. Space is limited so pre-registration is required. Admission is $2 per child.

Friday Night School Spooky Skate

Friday, October 28 @ 6:00 PM

Tringali Recreation Center

3460 North Access Road, Englewood

(941) 681-3742

Charlotte County Parks and Recreation will host a Friday Night Elementary School Spooky Skate. Kids can come dressed in costume and enjoy music and skating. There will be a costume contest, races and Halloween games. This year’s event promises to be better than the last. Only children in grades kindergarten through 5th will be allowed in. Admission is $3 per child and concession tickets cost $1.

Pumpkin Ball @ Port Charlotte United Methodist Church

Friday, October 28 @ 7:00 PM

Port Charlotte United Methodist Church

21075 Quesada Avenue, Port Charlotte

(941) 625-4356

Port Charlotte United Methodist will throw a Pumpkin Ball as part of its Pumpkin Palooza. From 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM, attendees can dance the night away in the church’s Fellowship Hall. There will be music, food, candy and beverages. Tickets are $1 and everyone is welcome to attend. ‘Fancy’ attire is suggested. Proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity.

Haunting on the Harbor

Friday, October 28 – 31 @ 3:00 PM

150 Laishley Court, Punta Gorda

(941) 637-5953


Be prepared to be scared at the 2nd Annual Smuggler’s Haunting on the Harbor Halloween Festival and Haunted House. Laishley Park in Punta Gorda will be transformed into an autumn showcase of pumpkin patches, hayrides, kids’ carnival games, fair food, live music and the largest haunted house in Charlotte County. New this year: the old fashioned hayride will take a leisurely trip through downtown Punta Gorda. Every evening will feature costume contests for adults and kids. The highlight of the weekend-long festival is the Haunting on the Harbor Haunted House – enter if you dare! Halloween night will be the grand finale of the festival with The Boogiemen live on stage and Halloween fireworks at 7:30 PM over Charlotte Harbor. The event runs from 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM on Friday and Saturday and ends at 10:00 PM on Sunday and Monday. Admission is $3 per person and children under 12 are free. Other prices apply to certain activities.

Ghouls & Drools Barktoberfest

Saturday, October 29 @ 11:00 AM

1200 W. Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda

(941) 575-7599


Dress your pets in their favorite costumes and wear yours as well and join Salty Paws for their 6th Annual Ghouls & Drools Barktoberfest in center court at Fishermen’s Village. At Barktoberfest pets can enjoy bobbing for bones, a doughnut jump and more. There will be a costume contest for pets and their owners. Categories for funniest costume, scariest, most original human costume and more will be judged. Entertainment will be provided by Kim Jenkins. The costume contest begins promptly at 11:30 AM and space is limited so registration is required. Registration consists of a $5 donation in advance and $9 the day of the event. Money raised from the event will benefit local pet rescues.

Pumpkin Eats ‘n Treats @ Port Charlotte United Methodist Church

Saturday, October 29 @ 5:00 PM

Port Charlotte United Methodist Church

21075 Quesada Avenue, Port Charlotte

(941) 625-4356

Port Charlotte United Methodist Church will replace its Trunk or Treat event this year with Pumpkin Eats ‘n Treats. This event will be carnival themed. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed in costume. The event will include hayrides, carnival food, candy stations, face-painting, games and more. Admission is free.

Terrifying Tales of Indian Springs Cemetery

Saturday, October 29 @ 6:00 PM

Charlotte County Historical Center

22959 Bayshore Road, Charlotte Harbor

(941) 629-7278


Join the spirit guides as they lead you on a spooky walking tour of the Indian Springs Cemetery in Punta Gorda. Walk down secluded paths as you learn about some of the deceased who now reside at Indian Springs, from a woman who tragically drowned to a sweet little boy’s early death. Also along the way, characters and notable figures of Charlotte County’s past will surprise you, offering a look at the history of the area and some scary stories. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate; children under 5 are free.

Planned Parenthood’s Safe Sex Halloween Bash

Saturday, October 29 @ 9:00 PM

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

777 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

(941) 365-3913


Planned Parenthood will host its annual “Safe Sex” fundraiser. The Van Wezel’s grand foyer will be completely transformed. The night will feature dancing, live entertainment, costume contests and more. Attendees can enjoy an open bar, frightfully delicious food from Michael’s On East and a candy bar. A DJ will provide music to keep the party going all night. Planned Parenthood will also be giving out their famous take-home ‘shag bags.’ The night will also feature surprise entertainment at midnight. The Hyatt Sarasota will be offering a special rate for guests who wish to not drive home afterwards. Proceeds from the event benefit the family planning and prevention programs of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. Tickets are $75 in advance online or $100 at the door.

Trick or Treat at City Hall

Monday, October 31 @ 4:00 PM

North Port City Hall

4970 City Hall Boulevard, North Port

(941) 429-7207


The City of North Port is hosting its 5th Annual Trick or Treat at City Hall. Children from infants to 13 years old are invited to come dressed in costume and trick or treat around City Hall. Employees will be passing out candy and treats. All children must be dressed in costume to receive treats and be accompanied by an adult.

Fright Night – Halloween on St. Armands

Monday, October 31 @ 6:00 PM

St. Armands Circle, Sarasota

(941) 388-1554


Fright Night transforms St. Armands Circle from island sophistication to Halloween fun. Store fronts will be decorated and costumed characters will be around every corner. This family event will offer trick or treating for children on St. Armands Circle at participating retailers and restaurants, carriage rides and more. At 8:30 PM the Sarasota High School drama department will perform “Thriller.” Admission is free and this event runs until 9:00 PM.

Venice Halloween Parade

Monday, October 31 @ 3:00 PM

Centennial Park, Venice

(941) 496-4277


The Venice Lions Club will sponsor its annual Halloween parade in Venice. Children and adults are welcome to attend. Costumed children and parents will parade down a block through downtown Venice. At the end of the parade, participating stores on Venice Avenue will hand out candy to children trick-or-treating. Old Betsy, the city’s antique fire truck, will lead the parade. Participating children should gather at the gazebo.

Pumpkin & Harvest Festivals:

Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival

October 15 & 16, 22 & 23, 29 & 30

Hunsader Farms

5500 CR 675, Bradenton

(941) 331-1212


Hunsader Farms’ Annual Pumpkin Festival will feature loads of fun this year. Children can enjoy pony rides, a playground and petting zoo. Entertainment will include country music shows, craft booths, hayrides and other performances. Food galore will be available including sweet corn, homemade ice cream, pumpkin pie and more. A corn maze will also be available for an extra fee. For admission and parking prices, call the number listed above.

Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival

October 15 & 16, 22 & 23, 29 & 30 @ 10:00 AM

Fruitville Grove

7410 Fruitville Road, Sarasota

(941) 377-0896


Fruitville Grove’s 22nd Annual Pumpkin Festival is sure to offer a family-friendly time for all. Come and pick your own pumpkin to paint and explore the Indian village. The festival will include food, pony rides, hayrides, live music, a moon bounce, face painters and more. New to the event is the Torres Family Circus. Children can also enjoy a miniature train ride and the Rip Curl, a 40’ slip-n- slide. Four-H cloggers performing and crafters displaying their wares will add some artistic flair to the event. Fruitville Grove will also have gourds, Indian corn, pumpkins and other decorations for purchase. Parking and admission is free and open to the public.

Pumpkin Patch @ Port Charlotte United Methodist Church

Sunday, October 16 – October 29 @ 12:30 PM

Port Charlotte United Methodist Church

21075 Quesada Avenue, Port Charlotte

(941) 625-4356

As part of its Pumpkin Palooza, Port Charlotte United Methodist will be selling pumpkins at its pumpkin patch. During the week, storytime will be offered to preschool aged children. Pumpkin patch hours are from 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM in the morning and 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM in the afternoon.

Sarasota Pumpkin Festival

Friday, October 28 – Sunday, October 30 @ Noon

Sarasota County Fairgrounds

3000 Ringling Boulevard, Sarasota

(941) 706-7605


The 3rd Annual Sarasota Pumpkin Festival will be held the weekend before Halloween. The event will benefit All Children’s Hospital and will include costume contests, carnival rides, a pumpkin patch, petting zoo, live entertainment on the main stage and more. Vendors will be selling food and beverages. New entertainment this year will include a daily bear show. Admission is $5 for adults and free for kids 10 and under. For $10, participants can buy a three-day pass to enjoy the fun all weekend long.

Fall Family Festival

Saturday, November 5 @ 10:00 AM

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast

400 Palmetto Avenue, Osprey

(941) 918-2100


The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is hosting its 3rd Annual Fall Family Festival at Bay Preserve in November from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. The event is packed with nature fun activities. The event will feature old-fashioned games like sack races. Kids can enjoy water fun and craft projects. Kids can also take part in the Biology of the Bay program with a marine biologist by observing what they catch and then releasing it back into the water. The day will also feature face painters, Italian ice and an old-fashioned popcorn wagon. Morton’s Gourmet Market will have food for purchase. Trolley shuttles will be available from parking areas and admission is free.


Fishermen’s Village Oktoberfest

Saturday, October 8 @ 10:00 AM

Fishermen’s Village

1200 West Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda

(941) 575-3067


Fishermen’s Village will host its annual Oktoberfest. This jam-packed event will feature performances by East Elementary and Sallie Jones School Chorus and a Weiner Dog Derby at 11:00 AM. German and Bavarian polkas, waltzes and marches will be performed by the Steinswingers Oompah Band and German tunes will be performed by Peter and Edith. Schuhplattler Gruppe Alpenrose dancers will also entertain. Village restaurants will feature German food specialties. “Scarecrows on Parade” will return this year and attendees can vote for their favorite scarecrow for a chance to win $100 of “Fishville Bucks.” This event is free and open to the public.

Oktoberfest in November

Saturday, November 5 @ 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

2565 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte

(941) 625-5262


Fun for the whole family will be available at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church’s Oktoberfest in November. The event will feature German food, beer, wine and other beverages. German music will be supplied by an oompah band. Other entertainment will include raffles, games, craft tables, a bake sale and cake walk. This event is free and open to the public.

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