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Sunny, beach-fringed Sarasota may not be a standard locale for autumn festivities, but its lively culture and fun atmosphere allows locals to keep warm while still enjoying all the best parts of the Halloween season. Here are a list of some of the best Halloween events that our community has to offer.

October 30-Nov. 1: The 2014 Frightmare’s Haunted House

Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd

Coined “The Biggest and Baddest Extreme Haunted House this Side of the Grave,” this is sure to spook even the bravest of patrons. The house is directed by horror filmmaker John Rusnak, who uses actual movie props to decorate his sets. For more information, including times, go to www.frightmareshauntedhouse.com.Tickets are $16 at the door.

October 24: Boo Fest Halloween Festival at Lakewood Ranch

8131 Lakewood Ranch Main Street

6-9 p.m.

The 8th annual Boo Fest will feature a safe trick-or-treating environment for kids of all ages to enjoy. There will be face painting, music, a balloon artist and much more. Main Street will be transformed into an autumn utopia with graveyards, haunted houses and scare crows. Guests can make and enter their own scarecrows for judging and display. Every participant will receive a prize. Food and drinks are available for purchase. Admission is free. For more information visit: http://www.lakewoodranch.com/Boo-Fest

October 24-25: Oscar Scherer State Park’s Haunted Trails

Oscar Scherer State Park

8-10 p.m.

Featuring two frightening trails, the most daring will have to find their way through the haunted woods. A trick-or-treat trail will also be set up for the faint of heart.Tickets are $5 per person and children under 4 are free. More info at (941) 483-5956

McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre presents “Bewitched Burlesque” starring Black Diamond Burlesque

McCurdy's Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd., downtown Sarasota

8:30 pm

Cited as “Sarasota’s sexiest performance” Black Diamond Burlesque will entice with tricks and treats of the most daring nature. Special guests include drag king Spikey Van Dykey, sword swallower Bill Berry, and new Black Diamond aerial enchantress Ambience Le Fleur. Black Diamond perfectly blends the elegance and allure of vintage burlesque with the class of traditional vaudeville acts. Gypsy jazz and swing music will be performed by “The Aland Trio.”

Tickets available at http://www.mccurdyscomedy.com/ or (941) 925-FUNY

October 24, 29, 31: Halloween Happenings at Historic Spanish Point

Historic Spanish point is a go-to location for your festive fix, with a variety of Halloween-themed events.

Ghost Hunting Tours

Ghost Hunting Tours will take place on Friday, October 24, at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.

The 6:30 p.m. tour is recommended for families (appropriate for ages 8 and up). Tour guides will use electronic devices; attendees should bring a smart phone on their tour. Space is limited for these tours, so early registration is recommended.

$20 per non-member adult; $15 per non-member child; $10 per member adult; and $5 per member child.

Book Reading and Signing

Local author Kim Cool will be doing a book reading and signing Wednesday, October 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the Visitors Center. Cool has written a selection of ghost books including "Ghost Stories of Venice," "Ghost Stories of Sarasota," and "Haunted Theatres of Southwest Florida." She'll have a selection of books for sale. Bring your already loved copies and she'll sign them for you.

Victorian Funeral

A Victorian funeral will be held at Mary's Chapel on Halloween night, Friday, October 31. Join fellow mourners and spectators as the grieving widow bids farewell to her beloved husband. A family-appropriate program will be held at 7 p.m., and one for the general public at 9 p.m. Seating in the chapel is limited and reservations are required.

Tickets are $15 per non-member adult; $10 per non-member child; $8 per member adult; and $4 per member child.

Tickets for the Ghost Hunting Tours and the Victorian Funeral are available by calling (941) 966-5214, ext. 2600 or online at www.historicspanishpoint.org/thingstodohalloweenhappenings.

October 31: Siesta Key Village Association Presents “Safe Treats for Kids”

Friday, October 31, 2014

3-6 p.m.

For the 30th year, the Siesta Key Village Association will once again host “Safe Treats." Children can trick-or-treat in Siesta Village along Ocean Blvd. and the surrounding streets. Look for participating members displaying orange and black balloons and pumpkin flyers in their windows.  For more information visit www.siestakeyvillage.org or call Helene Hyland at (941) 685-2274 or email helenehyland@comcast.net

October 29: Humane Society of Sarasota County to host its 17th Annual Howl-o-Ween Pet Costume Contest

Humane Society of Sarasota County, 2331 15th Street, Sarasota FL 34237.

Noon

On Wednesday, October 29th, the Humane Society of Sarasota County will host its 17th Annual Howl-O-Ween Pet Costume Contest at Phillippi Farmhouse Market. This popular contest welcome pets of all shapes and sizes dressed in their favorite “Howl-o-Ween” costumes. To enter your pet early, go to www.hssc.org/howl-o-ween  or call (941) 955-4131 to register.  The contest entry fee is a $10 donation per pet. All proceeds benefit The Humane Society of Sarasota County.

October 30: Martians Invade Bradenton!

Bishop Planetarium at the South Florida Museum, 201 10th Street West, Bradenton

7:30 p.m.

Thanks to Little Grey Hat Productions, the Martians will be invading Bradenton, just in time for Halloween. Don’t be alarmed—It’s just a live recreation of the 1938 radio broadcast of “The War of the Worlds.” Produced and directed by Dylan Jones, the performance stars Ross Boehringer, Marty Fugate, Dylan Jones, Allen Kretschmar, Matt Quick, and Scott Vitale. Tickets are $20 and available at the door or at www.southfloridamuseum.org. For more information, call (941) 746-4131, Ext 17.

October 31-November 2: Big Cat Habitat presents “Wild-O-Ween”

Big Cat Habitat, 7101 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota, FL

Noon-5 p.m.

This event is kid-friendly with food, games, prizes, and a pumpkin toss for the bears and big cats. Children 12 and under will be admitted free with a donation of nonperishable food items for All Faiths Food Bank. The fun includes visiting with the Habitat’s exotic and other animals, petting zoo, music, children’s costume contest, games, prizes, and photos with a white tiger. Attendees may bring small pumpkins to toss to the bears (they’ll eat them) and the big cats (they’ll play with them). Admission for adults is $15, and regular admission for children 12 and under is $7. Parking free.  For more information visit www.bigcathabitat.org or call (941) 371-6377.

October 24-26: The 6th Annual Sarasota Pumpkin Festival

Payne Park

The festival will feature over 100 free shows, a pumpkin patch and maze, contests, petting zoo, craft vendors, food and more! Families can safely trick-or-treat in a safe environment, take free hayrides and enjoy live bands. The festival is open from 5-10 p.m. on the October 24, 12-10 p.m. on the October 25, and 12-8 p.m. on the October 26. For more information, call (941) 706-7605

October 25-26: Fruitville Grove’s 26th Annual Pumpkin Festival

Fruitville Grove, 7410 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota, FL 34240

10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The festival will feature a pumpkin patch, hayrides, pony rides, crafts, vendors, bungee jumping, rock climbing, games, mini-train rides, tons of delicious treats to taste and much more. For more information go to www.fruitvillegrove.com/pumpkinfestival.html

October 25: 11th Annual Boo Run

Main Street, Lakewood Ranch

8:30 a.m.

The Boo Run is a family friendly 5K run/walk where participants can dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes and garb to win prizes. Costumes will be judged in three categories: best couple, best hero and best villain. All runners will receive a t-shirt and treat bag at registration. For more information, visit lakewoodranchrunningclub.com/boo-run-5k/

October 25: Third Annual Doggie and Kitty Halloween Festival

Five Points Park, North Pineapple Ave., downtown Sarasota

9 a.m.-noon

Bring your pet and dress them up for an afternoon of raffles, music, games and refreshments. Prizes will be awarded to the best pet costumes. A parade will be held at 10:15 a.m. More info at (941) 388-3647.

October 25: Italian American Club of Venice Presents: the Halloween Costume Party

Italian American Club of Venice, 1375 Ringling Drive, Venice

6-10 p.m.

Costumes are required for this night of fun and fright. There will be a “Boo-Boo Q” dinner served and 6:30, a cash bar and live music by Broadway Brooce from 7 until 10.   Members: $18, Guests: $22. Call Barbara T. for tickets at (941) 493-8883 or visit italianamericanclubofvenice.com.

October 31: Fright Night on St Armands Circle

St. Armands Circle

6 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

St. Armands’ sixth annual Halloween event will feature haunted storefronts, frightening characters around every corner and statues dressed in the Halloween spirit. Kids can trick-or-treat around the circle. In collaboration with the Sarasota High School Drama Department, a production of Michael Jackson’s Thriller will be put on at 8:00 pm.

October 25: Safe Sex Halloween Bash: “Midnight on the Bayou”

Michael's On East, 1212 South East Ave, Sarasota, FL 34239

9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Join Planned Parenthood for its annual Safe Sex Halloween Bash (this year’s theme is Midnight on the Bayou). The event includes an open bar, New Orleans-inspired late-night fare, DJ and dancing, live entertainment, costume contests, Planned Parenthood’s famous "Shag Bags" with candy and other assorted goodies, and more.Tickets are $85 in advance, $100 at the door. Must be 21 to enter. For more information go to http://www.safesexhalloweenbash.com/

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