PINELLAS COUNTY - Halloween is an exciting time of the year and a particularly special treat for young children.
Local businesses and community organizations and groups can't wait to celebrate and are offering numerous family-friendly events beginning this weekend through Halloween on Oct. 31.
If you prefer your Halloween with more smiles than scares, check-out the list below of upcoming festivities including costume and pumpkin carving parties, haunted walks through houses and natural trails, and carnivals, hayrides, scavenger hunts, and even a ghost hunt.
It is also an important time to be extra vigilant for potential safety risks. Local law enforcement officials share tips to ensure everyone has a happy, fun, and safe Halloween. The Pinellas Sheriff's Office offers these safety tips:
• Examine all children's treats before they are consumed. This applies to packaged items as well as homemade treats – if there is a doubt – throw it out!
• Adults with flashlights should accompany young trick-or-treaters. Walk in groups, stay on the sidewalks or walk against traffic on the side of the road.
• Even though Halloween is on a week night this year – drivers should expect costumed children to be out after dark in the neighborhood – and drive cautiously.
• Unless children are trick-or-treating at the home of a relative or close friend – children should never enter a stranger's home to obtain Halloween treats.
• In addition to trick-or-treating near home – there are any number of safe Halloween activities sponsored by shopping centers, community groups and parks. Check the many online listings in Pinellas County.
List of events:
Belleair Rec Halloween Party – Join the spooky fun, sponsored by the Belleair Parks and Recreation Department and the Belleair Civic Association, on Saturday from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Dimmitt community Center, 918 Osceola Road. The event will feature a free pizza dinner, costume contest, Trick-or-Treat Trail, Not-So-Scary Maze, Haunted House, Haunted Trolley Ride, Bounce Houses and prizes. For more information, call (727) 518-3728 or visit www.townofbelleair.com.
Magic Tree House Halloween Party – This Halloween event starts at 2 p.m. Friday at the Clearwater Main Library, 100 N Osceola Ave. Children up to age 12 are invited to enjoy activities associated with Mary Pope Osborne's book series including “Mummies in the Morning,” “Ghost Town at Sundown,” “Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve” and “Good Night for Ghosts.” Costumes are encouraged. Following the book series, the library's annual Halloween story and costume parade will be held. Free. Call (727) 562-4970 or visit www.myclearwater.com/cpl.
Halloween and Day of the Dead – Wear your Halloween costume for this party featuring books, music and crafts at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Clearwater East Library 2251 Drew St. Free. Call (727) 562-4970.
Halloween Crafts – Kids can dress in costume and make scary holiday themed crafts on Wednesday, at 3:30 p.m. at the Countryside Library, 2741 State Road 580 in Clearwater. Free. Call (727) 562-4970.
Halloween Carnival and Trunk or Treat – Come in costume for a fun night with free dinner, trunk or treating and carnival activities at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Hope Presbyterian Church, 1698 S Belcher Road in Clearwater. Free. Call (727) 531-3200.
Babies and Toddler Halloween Party – This special Halloween themed "Mother Goose on the Loose" program includes finger plays, music, stories, a costumed parade through the library and bubbles. The party begins at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, at the Clearwater East Library, 2251 Drew St. in Clearwater. Free. Call (727) 562-4970.
Boo Bash – This free event is a safe community Halloween celebration, featuring many interactive areas for kids, including games, hayrides, a Haunted House, and plenty of candy. The event will be held from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, at Bright House Field, 601 N. Old Coachman Rd. For more information, call (727) 467-4457 or visit www.thresherbaseball.com.
16th Annual Halloween in the Park – The Honeymoon Island State Park will get a little spooky with a Western themed haunted house and a scary trail through the woods. A child-friendly area will also be set up with games, face painting, fortunetellers, bungee jump and storytelling. The cost is $10 per car (includes 10 game tickets). The event is both Friday and Saturday starting at 6 p.m. located at west end of Dunedin Causeway. For more information, call (727) 469-5942.
Haunted Friday in the Park - This week the Haunted Mansion features safe trick-or-treating in the downtown district from 2 to 9 p.m. Friday. Then, bring chairs and blankets for the family movie screening beginning after the sun sets at the Pioneer Park, Main Street and Douglas Avenue. Free. Call (727) 812-4530.
Dunedin Halloween Happenings – The haunted fun includes "Boo in the Zoo" trick-or-treat house for preschoolers, carnival games, bounce houses, haunted hayrides, crafts, costume contest and storytelling beginning at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Highlander Park, 1920 Pinehurst Road. Cost is $10 for a wristband for games and activities; $5 hayride. Call (727) 812-4530.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH
Pumpkin Carving – The city will host its annual pumpkin carving on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Kolb Park, 1507 Bay Palm Blvd. In the event of rain, the event will take place in Pilgrim Hall at the Church of the Isles. For more information, call (727) 517-0404 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. or (727) 595-6889 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Halloween Spooktacular for Kids – The spooky afternoon includes a scavenger hunt for treats, food, games, arts and crafts and a costume contest. Join the fun at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Armed Forces History Museum, 2050 34th Way N. Cost is $10 and $5 ages 4-12. Call (727) 539-8371.
19th Annual Halloween Spooktacular Event – This family-friendly annual Halloween Spooktacular event at Largo Central Park (101 Central Park Drive) takes place on Saturday from 12 noon to 6 p.m. and includes activities and games for kids 14 and under. Enjoy a free trick-or-treat trail, games, music, concessions and much more. Wristbands cost $5 in advance for recreation cardholders and $6 without a card or $7 on the day of the event. Limited on-site parking will be available for $5. Free park and walk from Everest University and Largo Middle also available. For more information, call (727)587-6775 or visit LargoEvents.com.
OWL-O-ween – Celebrate Halloween among nocturnal friends starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the McGough Nature Park, 11901 146th St. N. Trick or treat along the haunted nature trail, learn about creepy critters, play games and roast marshmallows around a campfire. Cost is $3. Those ages 2 and younger are free. Registration recommended. Call (727) 518-3047.
Pumpkin Palooza – Bring a pumpkin to decorate and enter it into a contest on Friday at 6 to 9 p.m. at the Safety Harbor Museum and Cultural Center, 329 S Bayshore Blvd. The museum will provide the decorating supplies. The event is free and open to all ages. Call (727) 724-1562.
City Ghost Hunt – The city will host two ghost hunts; the first begins at 3 p.m. on Tuesday at the North City Park, 2075 Swan Lane and the second hunt will take place on Wednesday at Douglas Park, 601 Ninth Ave. N. For more information, call (727) 724-1545.
Main Street Trick-or-Treating – Put on a costume and head to Main Street for safe trick-or-treating at the fire house and area businesses starting at 4 p.m. Thursday. Call (727) 724-1572.