Most events are free or nearly so, and all are open to the public.
As always, check the fear factor so that your kids have as much fun as you do.
- 9th Annual Florida Bat Festival – Oct. 26, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Lubee Bat Conservancy, 1309 N.W. 192nd Ave., Gainesville, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. A rare opportunity for guests to visit a working research and conservation center to see some of the largest bats in the world face-to-face. Live music, bouncy huts, bat-themed crafts and games for kids, presentations by bat experts, raffle prizes and the unique opportunity to see live fruit bats with 5ft. wingspans on exhibit in our Bat Zone. Food, beverages, and batty merchandise. Donations welcome. For more information, email the festival coordinator at BatFest@Lubee.org.
- Micanopy Fall Harvest Festival – Sat., Oct. 26, 10 a.m. Downtown Micanopy, NE 1st St., Micanopy, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Fall arts & crafts festival in "the town that time forgot." For more information, please visit, www.micanopytown.com.
- Sunny's Halloween Howl-A-Palooza – Sun., Oct. 27, 3-6 p.m. Sun Country Sports Center, 333 SW 140th Terrace, Newberry, Fla. Admission: $5-$18. An afternoon of play complete with carnival games, bounce houses, rock climbing, KidQuest indoor playground and haunted houses. Sun Country Dance Theatre presents numerous performances and outside will be Sun Country's Gym Bus, hay rides and train rides, sno-cones and pizza. In lieu of candy, goody bags and prizes will be awarded. Child-friendly costumes are welcome and encouraged. Proceeds benefit the March of Dimes. For more information, please call 352-331-8773.
- Halloween Trick or Treat at Thornebrook Village – Fri., Oct. 25, 6-7:30 p.m. Thornebrook Village, 2441 NW 43rd St., Gainesville, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Enjoy a nice, safe trick-or-treat at participating stores. Maps provided the day of the event. No Purchase necessary while supplies last. For more information, please call 352-371-0800 or 352-377-0996.
- Halloween Molecular Mania 2013 – Sat., Oct. 26, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oaks Mall - Belk Court, 6419 Newberry Rd., Gainesville, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Join student volunteers from the Universty of Florida Chemistry Dept for array of interactive demonstrations designed to convey chemistry concepts to the youth of our community. These 20+ demonstrations range from electroplating pennies and making slime, to super-cool chemistry featuring liquid nitrogen, and even imploding soda cans. Kids attending the event have a chance to win cool chemistry prizes in a free raffle.
- 4th Annual Nightmare Factory Haunted House – Oct. 25-27, 7:30-9:30 p.m. 1327 Lost Acre Rd., Green Cove Springs, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public, donations appreciated.
- Annual Magnolia Layne Boo Bash – Sat., Oct. 26, Noon-2 p.m. 1305 N. Orange Ave., Green Cove Springs, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. All activities FREE while supplies last. FREE fruit punch, water and cookies. Popcorn, sno-cones, cotton candy, small pumpkin decorating, Halloween bag decorating, sandy candy art, face painting, balloon artist, interactive game center. For more information, please call 803-765-9881.
- Fall Family Fun on the Farm – Sat., Oct. 26, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Seamark Ranch, 3631 Seamark Ranch Rd., Green Cove Springs, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public, donations glady accepted. Everyone is invited to this free day of family fun, which includes barnyard games, hay rides, petting zoo, face painting, music, and other fun activities. Food will be available for purchase. For those with their own horse, the ranch will also sponsor a benefit trail ride through the miles of trails that thread their way through the campus. Registration opens at 8 am and reservations are required and can be made on our website. A waiver, helmet and proof of Coggins are also required. For more information please call 904-288-8885 or visit www.seamarkranch.com.
- Fall Festival – Fri., Oct. 25, 6:30- 8 p.m. Dye Clay Family YMCA, 3322 Moody Ave., Orange Park, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Come enjoy the fun at this free community event! Activities include games, arts & crafts, and trunk-or-treating. For more information, please visit www.firstcoastymca.org/branch/dyeclay.
- Pumpkin Plunge – Sat., Oct. 26, 10-11 a.m. Dye Clay Family YMCA, 3322 Moody Ave., Orange Park, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Join us at the pool for a fun-filled family event! We'll bring the pumpkins and the refreshments, all you need to bring is a swimsuit so you can be ready to jump in and retrieve a pumpkin. For more information, please visit
- Spooktacular at O2B Kids – Sat., Oct. 26, 6:30-10 p.m. O2B Kids, 1821 Town Center Blvd, Fleming Island, Fla. Admission: There’s a fee to attend. Eerie art, haunted house, creepy carnival, spooky science, trick-or-treating, costume contest and more. For more information, please call 904-264-4202 or visit www.o2bkids.com.
- St. Catherine’s Bazaar & Fall Festival – Oct. 25-27. St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, 1649 Kingsley Ave., Orange Park, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Security patrolled for family safety. Food booths, raffles, face painting, indoor bingo, bakery, homemade crafts, carnival rides. Live entertainment by the Clay County Sheriff’s Pipes & Drums, Mid-Life Crisis Band, Latin dancers and band dancers and from Panama. For more information, please call 904-264-0577 or visit www.stcatherinesbazaar.com.
- Halloween Party at the Casket Factory – Sat., Oct. 26, 8 p.m.-1 a.m. 314 Palmetto St., Jacksonville, Fla. Admission: $48.50. For more information, please visit jaxhistory.com/halloween-party.html.
- Symphonic Spooktacular – Sun., Oct. 27, 3 p.m. Jacoby Symphony Orchestra, Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, 300 Water St Jacksonville, Fla. Admission: Call or visit www.jaxsymphony.org for ticket prices. Part of the EverBank Family series. Celebrate Halloween with thrills, chills and the acrobatic artistry of Vladimir and Alina, who have performed with Cirque de la Symphonie. Bring the kids in their favorite costumes and enjoy spirited favorites. For more information, please call904-354-5547 or visit jaxsymphony.org.
- A Shake Rage Family Halloween – Sun., Oct. 27, 2-5 p.m. Shake Rag Arts & Culture Center, 882 N. Hwy 21, Melrose, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Ghoulish games and freaky fun. Face painting, balloon animals with the Magic Man, “Eyeball” hunt with prizes, children’s costume contest, dog costume contest, adult costume contest. Win a ribbon for most spooktacular. For more information, please call the Shake Rag Culture Center at 352-475-5551.
ST. JOHNS COUNTY
- Creatures of the Night – Fri., Oct. 25, Sat. 26 & Thurs., Oct. 31, 5:30-7 p.m. St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, 999 Anastasia Blvd., St. Augustine, Fla. Admission: Adults $9, Kids $7. For more information, please call 904-824-3337 or visit www.alligatorfarm.com.
- Halloween Magic – Fri., Oct. 25, 8 p.m. Colonial Quarter, 33 St. George St., St. Augustine, Fla. Admission: $10 Adults, $5 Kids. Halloween-themed magic show with Mathem di Magnifico and crew. For more information, please call 904-599-2113 or visit colonialquarter.com.
- Oddtoberfest – Sun., Oct. 27, 2-6 p.m. Ripley’s Believe It or Not, 19 San Marco Ave., St. Augustine, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. For more information, please call (904) 824-1606 or visit www.ripleys.com/staugustine.
- OLGC Harvest Festival – Sun., Oct. 27, 11 a.m. Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, 5950 SR 16, St. Augustine, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Children's activities, music, international food, pumpkin patch, hay rides, ice cream, beer, wine, baked goods, games, prizes and more.
- Ripley’s Ghost Train Adventure at Oddtoberfest – Sat., Oct. 26, 8 p.m. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! St. Augustine, 19 San Marco Ave., St. Augustine, Fla. Admission: $24, ages 18 & up. Musical entertainment by VIP Entertainment Ripley’s Haunted Castle investigations and a special late night showing of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” free to guests who purchase a ticket for any of Ripley’s ghostly experiences. For more information, please visit www.ghosttrainadventure.com.
©2013 All rights reserved.
OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org