Now that it's finally October, things are getting spookier around here.
Check out our looks at theme park haunted houses, from the 'Stranger Things' at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights to the many ghouls roaming at Busch Gardens for Howl-O-Scream, plus some pretty impressive indie haunts.
For families, here are the many kid-friendly Halloween parties at Disney, SeaWorld, Legoland and more. And here's this week's basket of treats, parties and Halloween events in the Tampa Bay area:
A 10,000-square-foot horror flick-themed haunted house. Ages 12 and older only. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. Benefits SPCA Tampa Bay. $15. Scarehouse, 12461 Creekside Drive, Largo. (727) 742-1432. 7-11 p.m. Friday, 7-11 p.m. Saturday, 4-8 p.m. Sunday.
Artist Rebekah Lazaridis uses discarded theatrical scenery and variations of light to explore how the human mind can perceive images as messages from the afterlife. Remains on display through Oct. 14. $10. [email protected], 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 895-6620. 7-9 p.m. today, 7-9 p.m. Friday, 7-9 p.m. Saturday, 7-9 p.m. Sunday.
Senior Singles Dance and Social Party
Dress in a costume, or your Sunday best, for this senior singles Halloween dance. $7. Colreavy Hall, 820 Jasmine Way, Clearwater. (727) 446-1619. 7-10 p.m. Saturday.
Sunset Cinema at Pier 60
Bring blankets or low lawn chairs to watch free movies on a jumbo sized screen. No alcohol. Shows start around dusk. Free. Pier 60, 10 Pier 60 Drive, Clearwater Beach. (727) 449-1036. Ghostbusters (1984) (PG): 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Adams Family (1991) (PG-13): 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Ghost Tour St. Petersburg
Explore the shadows and mysteries of the "Sunshine City" on this candlelight walking tour of St. Petersburg. Costumed guides tell tales of ghostly lovers, haunted mansions, age-old curses and wandering spirits as you leisurely stroll downtown area streets and the waterfront district. $20, $12 ages 4-12, 3 and younger free. Sweet Divas Chocolates, 400 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 894-4678. 8 p.m. today, 8 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday, 8 p.m. Sunday.
Gulfport Ghost Tour
A two-hour walking tour of the buildings believed to have ghosts and paranormal activity. Reservations required at tourgulfport.com. $20, $10 ages 8-12. Peninsula Inn and Spa, 2937 Beach Blvd., Gulfport. (727) 687-8785. 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Safety Harbor Ghost Tours
A two hour walking tour to learn about the history of Safety Harbor and its paranormal activities. $20, $10 ages 8-12 (registration required). John Wilson Park and Gazebo, 401 Main St., Safety Harbor. (727) 687-8785. 7:30 p.m. today, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday,
A Night at the Museum
Families may run into pirates, explorers, Florida pioneers and even the Storm Troopers from Star Wars as they trick-or-treat among the hands-on exhibits. There's also a kid's silent disco, costume contest, crafts and games. This year brings two sessions to choose from. $12, $10 children. Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water St., Tampa. (813) 228-0097. 1:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Creatures of the Night
The Halloween event with activities for all ages includes the Knock Knock: Trick or Treating with the Animals show, scare zones, Pumpkin Palooza, trick or treating, night time animal encounters and a ghoulish dance party. New this year is Medusa's Stone Cold Cave, a scare zone located in the manatee encounter starring the serpent-headed queen. Also new is the Fairy Frightful Forest diversion for older kids and adults. Included with admission. Also, $24.95 after 4 p.m., 2 and younger free. Runs through Oct. 27. Zoo admission: $34.95, $25.95 ages 3-11, 2 and younger free. ZooTampa at Lowry Park, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. (813) 935-8552. 4-10 p.m. Friday, 4-10 p.m. Saturday.
Undead in the Water
Board a fully operational World War II-era ship in an attempt to escape ravenous zombies. $13, $10 military/veterans. SS American Victory, 705 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Toll-free 1-866-468-3399. 8-11 p.m. Friday, 8-11 p.m. Saturday.
I-4's Premier Fear Park
Three dark, intense walking trails in a wooded forest. The Carving traces the wrath of unlit pumpkins that turn into terrifying, killing machines. In Silent Walls, a boogeyman steals children from an orphanage and tortures them. Twisted Souls tells the tale of a double personality complex killer. Upgrade to VIP for 'Til Death Do Us Party laser tag and the Hyde and Seek Escape Game. New this year is a daytime event with a scavenger hunt, arts and crafts, face painting, games and friendly monsters. Benefits K9's for Warriors. $30, $45 VIP. Sir Henry's Haunted Trail, 2837 S Frontage Road, Plant City. (863) 944-0748. 7:30-10 p.m. Friday, 7:30-11 p.m. Saturday.
Ages 45 and older are invited to this "Senior American Bandstand" dance. $12, $10 members. Tampa Bay Dance Club, 5601 Hanley Road, Tampa. (813) 390-7160. (This week features Band On Our Own with Mario and Albi.) 7:30-10:30 p.m. Friday.
Haunted River Tours
A docent delivers spooky tales of ghosts as you glide along the Hillsborough River. Includes treats and a stop under the "bat bridge." Tours depart hourly. Through Oct. 28. $25, $15 children. Pirate Water Taxi, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 559-1804. 7-10 p.m. Friday, 7-10 p.m. Saturday, 7-10 p.m. Sunday.
Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens
Get spooked by six haunted houses and scare zones and the chance to ride coasters in the dark, sometimes with a zombie sitting next to you. New haunts this year are Insomnia, set in an asylum and Simon's Slaughterhouse. Includes early access to the park at 5 p.m. and remains open until 1 a.m. $39.99 and up. Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. (813) 884-4386. 7:30 p.m. today, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Sesame Street Safari of Fun Halloween
Kids can join the fun of this Sesame Street themed party with a hay maze, pumpkin ring toss, dancing to kid friendly music, the new Not-Too-Spooky Howl-O-Ween radio show and appearances by Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, Grover and Rosita in Halloween costumes. Included with admission. $104, 2 and younger free. Save $15 if you order online. Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. (813) 884-4386. Super Grover: (Super Grover leads kids through super-hero inspired crafts and character encounters.) 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.
Steam Fridays: Halloween Party
"A Room Full of Bottoms" at this Halloween party with deadly drag shows by Amy DeMilo, Alisa Summers and cast, music by DJ Charles Machado, sexy zombie dancers, $1 drinks from 10 to 11 p.m. and $3 Svedka drinks from 11 p.m. to midnight. Free, $5 after 10:30 p.m. The Honey Pot, 1507 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. (813) 247-4663. 10 p.m. Friday.
Brace yourself for this one. The interaction meter goes off the charts at this Halloween haunt this year with the addition of Rage 3D, Demon's Revenge and Zombie Paintball Assault in which you literally hunt, shoot and kill zombies. $19.95-$39.95, $9.95-$19.95 paintball. Scream-A-Geddon, 27839 Saint Joe Road, Dade City. (813) 452-5412. 7:30 p.m. today, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Monday, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Paws on Parade
The pet parade and costume contest, sponsored by Operation Kindness for Hernando County Animal Services, will be held in conjunction with the 28th Annual Halloween Harvest Festival. Parade registration begins at 6:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded. Free admission, $10 parade entry fee. Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 Broad St., Brooksville. (352) 796-4552. 7 p.m. Friday.
German American Club Oktoberfest
Event includes music, food and dancing. Dress code: Trachten/club casual. No shorts or jeans. Music provided by the Manni Daum Trio. Bring your own beverage. No tickets sold at the door. Call Lisa for tickets. Doors open at 4 p.m. Advance tickets are $18 for members, $22 for guests. Hernando County Shrine Club, 13400 Montour St., Brooksville. (352) 688-3744. 4:30-10 p.m. Friday.
Halloween Harvest Festival
The two-day annual event includes a haunted house (recommended for ages 8 and older), hay rides, games, face painting, food, pet parade and costume contests for children. The Paws on Parade will begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 12 (pre-registration at 6:30 p.m.) and the costume contest (ages 0-3, 4-5, 6-7 and 8-12) will begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 (pre-registration at 6 p.m.) Free admission. Game tickets, four for $1, haunted house $4, hay ride $3; $10 entry fee for pet parade and $2 entry fee for costume contests. Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 Broad St., Brooksville. (352) 754-4031. 6-10 p.m. Friday, 6-10 p.m. Saturday.
Candlelight Halloween Tour
Visitors will enjoy candlelight tours of the dimly light Gamble Mansion to see its rooms decked out in Halloween decor. Children are encouraged to wear fun costumes for treats at the end of the tour. Scary or bloody costumes are not allowed. $6 (cash or check only), 5 and younger free. Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, 3708 Patten Ave., Ellenton. (941) 723-4536. 7-9 p.m. Saturday.
Sweetfields Corn Maze
The fun includes a new corn maze design, hayrides, hay play area, animals, farm fun, human foosball, pumpkins and more. Runs through Nov. 4. $9.50, $5 ages 3-11, 2 and younger free (no pets allowed). Sweetfields Farm, 17250 Benes Roush Road, Masaryktown. (352) 279-0977. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday.
Known as "Tampa Bay's most authentic Oktoberfest," join the German American Society of Pinellas for live German oompah music, keg tappings, a parade, dancers, a variety of imported beers, authentic cuisine and German vendors. Benefits the German American Society of Pinellas County. $10, 12 and younger free. German American Society of Pinellas County, 8098 66th St. N, Pinellas Park. (727) 238-8201. 5 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday.
HarvestMoon Fun Farm and Corn Maze
Explore the five-acre corn maze and play Farm Scene Investigation or travel the storyline path of Spookley the Square Pumpkin, along with a 70-foot jumping pillow, pumpkin patch, cow train ride, pedal carts, tree house, mineshaft slide, spinning wizzer, barnyard games, throw footballs and baseballs and shoot hoops in the ball zone, and a candy cannon. Runs through Nov. 4. $11.95, 2 and younger free. HarvestMoon Fun Farm, 15990 Stur St., Masaryktown. (727) 326-3256. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
St. Petersburg's new Oktoberfest party features live music by 15 bands, German food, contests, a Lederhosen dance off, games, axe throwing, raffles and giveaways. Benefits the Arts Conservatory for Teens. $10, $35 bottomless beer. Ferg's Sports Bar & Grill, 1320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 822-4562. 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday.
Experience the sights, sounds and ''suds'' of Oktoberfest at the October installment of Brews and Bites with a fleet of food trucks in attendance. Free admission, charge for food and drink. The Sail, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 274-7355. 6-11 p.m. Friday.
Oktoberfest at the Hofbrauhaus
Nightly German music, food and dancing are going by face painting, balloon twisters (Tuesdays), the Hofbrau Hauswives Afterhours Drag Show (Thursdays) and Bier Olympics (Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 13). Kids can get into the Bier Olympics action with root beer chugging, belching contests and a chicken dance off. Runs through Oct. 21. No cover. Hofbrauhaus St. Petersburg, 123 Fourth St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 898-3333. 4-10 p.m. today, 11 a.m.-11:59 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11:59 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, 4-10 p.m. Monday, 4-10 p.m. Tuesday, 4-10 p.m. Wednesday.
Rum revelry at Bahama Breeze's take on Oktoberfest nightly through Oct. 28, with rum-inspired specialty cocktails, drink specials, rum-infused menu, and a special RumBash Friday party each Friday through Oct. 26. Drink and food prices vary. Bahama Breeze at the Brandon Mall, 805 Brandon Town Center Drive, Brandon. (813) 681-0904. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. today, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Wednesday.
Heights Fall Festival
Bring non-perishable food items to this seasonal festival with a pumpkin patch, children's activities, games, Oktoberfest beer samples, live music, vendors, face painting and a food drive. No cover. Tampa Armature Works, 1910 N Ola Ave., Tampa. (813) 250-3725. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
Taste 25 local craft beers and vote for your favorite at this festival with a barbecue dinner, face painting, raffle and an auction. Benefits the Epilepsy Services Foundation. $25-$30, $20-$25 students, $5 15 and younger. Southern Brewing & Winemaking Supplies, 4500 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa. (813) 374-8907. 5-8 p.m. Saturday.
Oktoberfest On the Beach
Live music and dancing all day long with food, German music, arts and crafts for sale, stein carrying, keg throwing, silent auction and activities for the kids during kinderfest. Free (food/drink additional). Kolb Park, 16th Avenue and Bay Palm Boulevard, Indian Rocks Beach. (727) 400-6672. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday.
Tampa's waterfront park transforms into a giant beer garden with traditional dancing, live music, Bavarian games, stein hoisting, keg stacking, tug of war, brat toss and carry the wench. $10, $25 weekend. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. (813) 397-8722. 4-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
Oktoberfest: Family Fall Festival
A family festival with midway rides, games, music, food, an over-sized flea market, craft beer and sports tent, live entertainment and raffles. Benefits Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School. Free (food/ride/game tickets extra). Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, 750 San Salvador Drive, Dunedin. (727) 733-3776. 5-9 p.m. today, 3-11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
Sacred Heart Fall Festival
Sacred Heart's annual community event features carnival rides, live bands, mixed entertainment, food, games and craft vendors. Benefits Sacred Heart Interparochial Catholic School. Free; $20-$25 (daily ride armbands); $75 (4 day armband). Sacred Heart Interparochial School, 7951 46th Way N, Pinellas Park. (727) 541-4447. 6-11 p.m. Wednesday.
Make your own scarecrow and enjoy a touch-a-truck, pumpkin patch, bounce house, face painting, slide, carnival games, corn maze, barrel train rides, photos with a scarecrow and pony rides. $10, $5 students, 4 and younger free. Pioneer Florida Museum, 15602 Pioneer Museum Road, Dade City. (352) 567-0262. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.
Sweetfields Farm Fall Festival
This year's festival brings the return of the corn maze, along with hay rides, hay play area, farm activities, animals, human foosball and pumpkins. Runs through Nov. 4. $9.50, $5 ages 3-11, 2 and younger free. Sweetfields Farm, 17250 Benes Roush Road, Masaryktown. (352) 279-0977. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday.
Oktoberfest with Santa's Angels
Celebrate the harvest and the anticipation of cooler weather at this German themed party with a Halloween twist. It includes German sausages, unlimited beer and wine, food from area restaurants, spooky party games, haunted photo booth, live music, dancing and a costume contest. Benefits Santa's Angels. $30, $25 with a new toy. Friendship Park, 164th Avenue and Second Street, Redington Beach. (727) 631-1737. 6-10 p.m. Saturday.
Kids can wear their costumes for trunk-or-treating, games, crafts, snacks and fall activities. Free. St. Paul United Methodist Church, 1199 Highland Ave., Largo. (727) 584-8165. 6-8 p.m. Friday.
Take photos in the pumpkin patch while playing games and hearing stories. Free. Heritage United Methodist Church, 2680 Landmark Drive, Clearwater. (727) 796-1329. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. today, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday.