Fall-o-Ween 2019 on the Nature Coast
The humidity is waning, and the temperature is dropping. It’s time for pumpkins, scarecrows, and outdoor celebrations.
Then there is Halloween, a uniquely American holiday that revolves around costumes, witches, goblins and trick-or-treating – or haunted houses that range from kid-friendly to spooky to mess-your-pants adults only.
Put all these great things together and you’ve got Fall-O-Ween on the Nature Coast.
Fall Festivals and Walking for Alzheimer’s
Before we get to the Halloween-themed activities, this weekend is Camping with the Blues at the Sertoma Youth Ranch in Brooksville. A three-day festival featuring local, national and international blues acts in one of the prettiest campgrounds ever is a nice way to spend Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, October 18-20. You don’t have to camp to enjoy all this festival has to offer and tickets are available at the gate but bring a chair. This event kind-of kicks off fall, so get out and enjoy!
You can join the Walk Aware for the Alzheimer’s Family Organization on Saturday morning in Floral City. For an entry fee donation of $25.00, walkers have a choice of walks: 1/4 mile walk, 1.5-mile walk, or a guided historic tour of Floral City.
Late-comers can register at the Lion’s Club at the Town Center in Floral City from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, October 18, or at 8 a.m. on the following morning. The Walk will begin at 9 a.m. on the 19. Kids under 13 are only $10, 5 and under are free with a paid walker.
Last, but not least, The Rattlesnake Festival is this weekend at the Pasco County Fairgrounds. The Rattlesnake Festival is an educational family event featuring rattlesnake and other wildlife shows, an arts and crafts village, music, bounce houses and other children’s activities, fair rides, a pumpkin patch, local talent, a food court, and more.
Proceeds benefit The Thomas Promise Foundation, which provides weekend lunches to food-insecure students in Pasco County. Admission is only $5 and it is a great cause!
Haunted Tram Rides and Weird & Wicked Oz Haunted House
The Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park’s Haunted Tram Rides on October 26-27 from 6-10 pm. The Haunted Tram Rides are a blast, where after boarding one of the park’s trams, guests are toured through spooky scenarios created by local organizations and businesses. It can be a bit much for some youngsters. Each year these elaborate, live scenarios provide plenty of fright without the bite of actual contact with visitors. All this entertainment for only $5.00 for ages 13 and over and $3.00 for those under 12.
Guests can park at the Visitors Center and participate in a myriad of family-friendly activities, including Halloween costume contests each day, starting at 7 pm, face painting, and games. Weird and Wicked Oz is the theme of this year’s Haunted House with a $2.00 suggested donation.
Best of all, this event is put on by the Friends organization supporting the park and all funds raised go toward maintaining and improving the park!
Paddle Craft Costume Contest & Beetlejuice Movie
A new event is the Paddle Craft Costume Contest and Movie at the Beach in Hunter Springs Park on October 26. Dress like a pirate, a witch, a banana, a superhero, a shark, or anything else you can think of and bring your kayak or paddleboard to the Park at 4 pm to join the first-ever Paddle Craft Costume Contest. If you would prefer, you can rent a paddle craft on-site for the parade. Donations of $10 get you in the running for some great prizes and benefit Cayla’s Coats, a Citrus County nonprofit that provides lifejackets and drowning prevention education.
After the Paddle Craft Costume Contest, there will be a kids’ costume parade along the Hunter Springs Boardwalk, and then the City of Crystal River will play the movie, Beetlejuice, for attendees. It’s all free and you can donate to help Cayla’s Coats while having a wet and wild blast!
Cooterween at the Annual Cooter Festival
The Cooter Festival is held over 3 days from October 25-27, and the City of Inverness has moved the festival to Whispering Pines Park for 2019, with activities all week long! Cooter Fest kicks off on Friday, October 25 at 5:00 p.m. with vendors and carnival rides. Enjoy live performances by Peace of Woodstock and Come Back Alice. Saturday, live music will be played throughout the day by acts such as the Contenders, Humans in Disguise, and Fleetwood Max.
On Sunday, starting at noon is the wildly popular Cooterween, with costume contests for all ages from infant to adult, and even pets! A scavenger hunt, autographs by Sunny Cooter and friends, and Halloween treats. Live music will be in the afternoon by Band 4Play and Leesburg Blues Brothers.
Haunted Houses, Trains, and Corn Mazes too
The May-Stringer House in downtown Brooksville offers ghost tours by appointment, but October 19-20 and 26-27, they kick things up a notch with their Annual Haunted House and Fall Festival from 7-11 pm. Enjoy a bonfire with marshmallow roasting and storytelling. $7 adults and children 12 and up/$5 children under 12, free children’s games, food booth, maze, and a fortune-teller.
There are two spooky train rides: Central Pasco & Gulf Railroad has their annual rides after dark October 19-20 and 26-27 from 6-9 pm in Crews Lake Park, and new for 2018 is the Spooky Train at the Concourse Friday and Saturday nights through October 26 from 6-10 pm. Both train rides cost for everyone over 12 months.
There are corn mazes in Masaryktown. Both Sweetfields Farm and Harvestmoon Farm are open most weekends through the end of October. Be prepared to wait in long lines at both locations, but they are great family-friendly events.
If you want to be scared, really scared, Scream-A-Geddon offers a huge haunted attraction that competes with those put on by theme parks in Tampa and Orlando. It’s adults-only in my book.
Halloween Events and Fall Festivals on Florida’s Nature Coast
There are many, many more events happening for fall and Halloween, and you can stay up-to-date at our NatureCoaster.com Calendar sponsored by Hits106, Citrus 95, NatureCoast Country and The Fox. Bookmark it and check back often.
We are entering the best time of year to live