Many parents today are looking for alternative ways to celebrate Halloween. Churches host trunk-or-treat activities where kids can have fun and get candy or goodies from members of the church in the church parking lots. Businesses and communities have also gotten into the act by providing safe alternatives to the door-to-door method of trick-or-treating. Check out these great Halloween events for the kids around town.
Lakewood Ranch Boo Fest
8131 Lakewood Main St.
Bradenton, FL 34202
Date: October 26 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.This is the seventh year that Lakewood Ranch has hosted the Boo Fest. In addition to trick-or-treating down Main Street, there will be a pumpkin patch, a costume parade and ghost stories. Visitors can also enjoy the cemetery haunt, the touchy-feely table, face painting, air-brush tattoos, trolley rides and a ‘dunk the monster’ dunk tank. Trick-or-treating takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the costume parade commences at 6:30 p.m. and ghost stories will be told at 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. There will also be a scarecrow contest where each group or individual creates a scarecrow that can beat out the competitors to win a prize.
Sarasota Pumpkin Festival
3000 Ringling Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34232
Price: Pre-sale tickets $5 per person; $7 at the gate; children 12 and under get in free. Games and rides require additional tickets available for purchase on-site.
Dates: October 26-28 from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Take a trip to the Sarasota Fairgrounds for the fourth annual Sarasota Pumpkin Festival. This family-friendly event features a pie-eating contest, a pumpkin patch, carnival rides, games, food, live music, hay rides, face painting and street performers. Over 100 free shows are scheduled for the event. Vendors at the site will provide a safe trick-or-treating activity for the children. Check the website for the location of the community vendors that will be giving away a total of 100,000 free tickets to the festival. All-day ride bracelets are available online for only $25.
Ride the Halloween Train at Crews Lake Park
Crews Lake Park
16739 Crews Lake Drive
Spring Hill, FL 34610
Price: $3 per person
Dates: October 26-27 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Take a ride on the Halloween Train for some spooky fun. The Central Pasco and Gulf Railroad is conveniently located inside Crews Lake Park, just off Shady Hills Road in Spring Hill. Adults and children can ride the train through the park and see various areas of it lit up with Halloween decorations. The Central Pasco and Gulf Railroad will have seven trains running during the event. There will be a not-so-scary train ride for the younger set as well as a scary train ride for the older children and adults. Each train ride lasts 20 minutes and visitors can ride as many times as they like. Visitors will also be able to enjoy clowns, balloons and food vendors.
Boo Bash 2012 at Heritage Church
1854 Oak Grove Blvd.
Lutz, FL 33559
Date: October 31 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Boo Bash is a family-friendly Halloween alternative to going door to door on Halloween night. Members of the church will decorate their trunks and pass out candy and goodies to all children who come to the event. Although there will be no games, Heritage Church has planned several shows throughout the event as well as a bouncy house. Last year’s event attracted over 400 people and members of the church are hoping to see even more attendees this year.
Our Lady of the Rosary 16th Annual Trunk-or-Treat
Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church
2348 Collier Parkway
Land O’ Lakes, FL 34639
Date: October 26 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Although this church is not having games or activities, it is planning to have a safe trunk-or-treat event. Dress the little ones up in a costume and let them enjoy some trick-or-treating fun in a safe, community church parking lot. This event is always held on the last Friday of October. If you want to bring candy to pass out from your truck, contact Our Lady of the Rosary Church. Also, check with your local churches to see if they are having their own trunk-or-treat event.