Ghoulish Go-Tos

Your Guide to Halloween 2018

So we've got palm trees and 80-plus-degree weather—you can still fully embrace the Halloween spirit thanks to these fun events.

By Giulia Heyward October 18, 2018

Spirit University's Psychic Fair 

Oct. 19-20

For anyone who loves dusting off their old Ouija board: get in contact with a real medium. Spirit University is hosting a Psychic Fair, split into two nights of  intuitive readers and card readings to quench the curiosity suspecting they have that fifth sense. There will also be ghost stories and a paranormal investigation.

Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival 

Oct. 20-21 and 27-28

The granddaddy of all area fall festivals, this 27th annual event features hayrides, pumpkin games, scarecrow displays, a petting zoo and children’s train rides, craft vendors, homemade ice cream and so much more. Get the scoop here.

Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Fest

Oct. 20-21 and 27-28

Celebrate all things autumn at this popular event, now in its 30th year. Admission, parking, petting zoo, playground, live music, and decorated photo spots are free; individual rides and activity booths, including pony rides, a rock wall, bounce house, and pumpkin painting, have their own set price ranging from $2–$7. Cash is encouraged; festival runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Details here.

Fish, Fun and Fright at Mote

Oct. 20

Calling all buoys and ghouls for an afternoon of Halloween fun at Mote Aquarium, with shark teeth hunts in “Coffin Creek,” deep sea delights in the “Diner of the Dead” and Mad Science experiments and activities. There’s even an underwater pumpkin carving in the shark habitats. Come in costume; children 3 and under admitted free. Details here.

Downtown Bradenton Ghost Tour

Oct. 23

Experience a haunting adventure throughout downtown Bradenton, in which guides will share documented and personal experiences from the downtown area. The walking tour lasts for approximately 90 minutes and departs from the Bradenton Riverwalk (in front of Pier 22).


Historic Spanish Point Ghost Tours

Oct. 24

Spooky times afoot at Historic Spanish Point, as the 30-acre living museum on Sarasota Bay presents three full moon walking ghost tours next Wednesday evening. Stops at the prehistoric burial mound and pioneer cemetery are included, natch.  

Head to the Rocky Horror Picture Show at Sarasota Sky Bar 

Oct. 25

Let's do the time warp! From die-hard fans of the iconic film to newbies who want to be indoctrinated into the cult classic, fans can head over to the Sarasota Sky Bar for a night of debauchery, laughs and a couple surprise. You can reserve tickets online.

Sixth Annual Haunted Trails at Oscar Scherer State Park

Oct. 27

Oscar Scherer State Park volunteers created new props, new and improved kid's activities, a friendly Trick or Treat Trail, and things that haunt the woods as you walk through a deep, dark haunted path. Bring a can of food (your donation will support All Faiths Food Bank) to trade in for a token that you must give the cannibal clowns in order to get off the trail, and go through the Gates of Doom on your way to the Haunted House. It promises to be spooky fun for all.

Trick or Treating at the Bazaar on Apricot and Lime 

Oct. 27 

It just isn't Halloween without the chance to go trick or treating door to door. Or in this case, store to store at the indoor market Bazaar on Apricot and Lime. Children can trick or treat indoors while also waiting in line to have their faces painted and enjoying live music. Even if you're not one asking for candy, costumes are expected from attendants of all ages. This event is also for a good cause: it's sponsored by Every Child Inc, a non-profit that loves to support children in our community. 

Awards for Best Overall, Most Scary, Most Creative, Most Funny and Best Pet with Pet Parent will be distributed at the Howl'ween Pet Costume Contest & Parade.

Howl'ween Pet Contest & Parade 

Oct. 27 

If the promise of fresh produce wasn't enough of a reason to head to the Bradenton Farmers' Market, then adorable pets at the Howl'ween Pet Costume Contest & Parade will do the trick. All of the best dressed animals will strut their stuff in a parade featuring a full panel of judges, and coveted prizes (we think the competition will be looking pretty ruff!). The parade begins at 10:30 a.m., with participants expected to arrive sooner

Selby Spooktacular

Oct. 28

This annual event is fun for the whole family, with daytime activities including trick-or-treating and pumpkin decorating, fun and educational activities like seed planting, as well as a mad scientist experiment center.  Children are encouraged to bring their own trick-or-treat bags to collect their goodies and come in costume! Grilled foods will be available for purchase from the Michael’s on East grill, Selby House Cafe will be open with its full menu and B’s Cool Treat’s will have its ice cream cart on-site with a wide assortment of frozen treats.

Costumes and Cocktails at Marina Jack

Oct. 31 

Those Pinterest boards and YouTube tutorials may finally pay off at the Costumes & Cocktails Halloween Party at Marina Jack. Featuring free drinks and creative costumes, it's the best place to enjoy lovely piano music courtesy of Rock Lee on the piano bar. Or you could do the Monster Mash! 

Fright Night on St. Armands Circle

Oct. 31

This Halloween event, now in its 10th year, returns on Halloween evening. Fright Night transforms St. Armands Circle from island sophistication to Halloween fun. Decorated storefronts set the stage for wandering spirits of St. Armands past; frightening characters appear around every corner in between statues dressed in the Halloween spirit. Children can trick-or-treat throughout the circle, with a number of retailers and restaurants offering customized promotions.  And of course, as is tradition, the Sarasota High School Drama Department will perform "Thriller" around 8 p.m.


Donate Blood 

Oct. 31 

It's the best way to starve off vampires. With locations in Sarasota, Venice, Lakewood Ranch and Bayshore Gardens, the Sun Coast Blood Bank is getting in on the festivities by collecting blood this Halloween day. All donors leave with a Chick-fil-A gift card, and the chance to win a 2018 Ford Fiesta, no car payments necessary. 

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Fish, Fun and Fright at Mote

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

Buoys and ghouls of all ages are invited to dress up in costume for an afternoon of Fish, Fun & Fright at Mote Aquarium.