Free and cheap things to do with the kids this week
As we are sure you are well aware, there are tons of Halloween happenings this weekend, from haunted houses to a graveyard's worth of just plain fun. So forgive us if this week's free and cheap list is heavy on the scare zones, but we look forward to the coming sugar coma. Meanwhile, you should also check out some of the fun planned in the John's Pass Seafood Festival or take advantage of the $2 admission deal at a great children's museum, among other wallet-friendly diversions:
See the Freak Show starring the Weeki Wachee Mermaids at Wild n’ Wicked Nights, the annual Halloween festival Friday and Saturday night at the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, left. There will be costume and scream contests, hay rides, a pirates quest for the Fountain of Youth, a carnival, a “Final Destination Tour” bus and boat ride, haunted mazes, a haunted forest and a presentation of The House of Horrors by John Leggio. $5 for adults, $3 for ages 6-12. It starts at 7 p.m. both nights at the park, 6131 Commercial Way, Weeki Wachee.
The John’s Pass Seafood Festival washes ashore this weekend with fresh local seafood, a blessing of the fleet, live music, a street dance, fiddler crab races and a children’s area. Kids can come in costume for a Halloween costume contest and trick-or-treating (3 p.m. Saturday). Everyone entering the contest gets a prize. Free admission. John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk, Madeira Beach. (727) 322-5217. 4-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
Get a cheap $2 peek at the Glazer Children’s Museum for $2 Target Tuesday, a monthly price break on the first Tuesday of the month from 2 to 7 p.m. at museum in Tampa's Curtis Hixon Park, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza. Call (813) 443-3861.
Hallelujah Night is a skating party that's also a Halloween alternative on Monday that includes fellowship and fun while skating to Christian music. 6-9 p.m. at two locations: the United Skates of America, 5121 N Armenia Ave., Tampa and USA Skateplex, 5313 E Busch Blvd., Temple Terrace. $5. (813) 989-2100.
On Friday the Beach Theatre will have free admission at 7 p.m. for the kid-friendly 1958 film House on Haunted Hill, starring Vincent Price as an evil millionaire who offers a group of people $10,000 each to spend the night in a haunted mansion. Theater owner Mike France says, "the great William Castle film will be presented in the miracle of “Emergo” -- you will see skeletons come to life right from the motion picture screen!" For the older teens and adults, at 9 p.m. its $5 admission for the original unbeatable George Romero zombie flick, Night of tghe Living Dead. The audience is urged to come in zombie attire and sample some of bloody drinks at the concession stand. The theater is at
315 Corey Ave. St. Pete Beach.
Is that the Phantom of the Opera at the organ for this eerie concert? Well, of course. Listen as several Tampa Bay organists perform Pipe Screams, creepy holiday favorites on Christ United Methodist Church’s Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ (with more than 4,000 pipes!). Costumes are encouraged and there’s even singalongs like Deck the Halls with Poison Ivy. Don’t leave before the main event: Bach’s Toccata and Fugue. It’s at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the historic church at 467 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free.
Go trick-or-treating in the Glazer Children’s Museum on Halloween night for the museum’s Halloween Spree, with bobbing for apples, spooky stories, games, costume parades, and candy and noncandy treats. Sessions are by age: 4 and under 4:30-6 p.m. Monday and ages 4-12 from 6-8 p.m. $5. Registration in advance is requested so they have enough treats to go around. $5. Glazer Children’s Museum, 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. (813) 443-3861.
Take an educational, nonfrightening Gothic Graveyard Tour of the resting place for early area notables including 13 mayors, veterans of seven wars and victims of five yellow fever epidemics. Tampa historian Maureen Patrick appears in elaborate 19th century mourning attire as Miss Prudence Fipwhistle (born 1855, died 1899) telling stories of Tampa’s most notorious and prominent residents , religious customs and taboos, and Civil War history. $5 (donation appreciated). Proceeds benefit the Tampa Historical Society. It’s at 3 p.m. Sunday at Oaklawn Cemetery, 600 E Harrison St., Tampa.
What’s cuter than dogs in costume? Dogs in the pool, that’s what. At the Doggy Derby, pups can dive in and play in the pool Saturday at the Seminole Family Aquatic Center, while they play games and compete in contests for best costume and dog/owner look-a-like. Every dog takes home a swag bag of treats. It starts at 1 p.m. at 9100 113th St. N, Seminole. $5 per dog. (727) 397-6085.
Forget about the candy. Put on your costume and come ride a horse to help support rescued horses. The Halloween Horse Ride party starts Saturday at 4 p.m. at Equestrian Inc. Horse Rescue Farm, 4902 Timberlan St., Tampa. $5 suggested donation. Phone: (813) 407-6805.
For Twilighters who haven’t already seen the movies a hundred times, you can rewatch the first three Twilight movies before the premiere of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part I, which opens Nov. 18. Opening night features the original Twilight. Each showing is preceded by behind-the-scenes footage. $12.50. Park Place Stadium 16, 7200 U.S. 19 N, Pinellas Park, and also Hyde Park Cinebistro in Tampa, Veterans 24 in Tampa, Woodland Square 20 in Oldsmar, Citrus Stadium 20 in Tampa, Regency 20 in Brandon, Hollywood 18 in Port Richey and Grove 16 in Wesley Chapel. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Sponsored by Operation PAR, an organization that provides parents with resources to battle drug addiction, the Red Ribbon Health Family Fun Fest on Saturday aims for a day of family fun. Dress the kids in costumes and decorate their wagon for a parade led by a marching band and special guests including the Tampa Bay Buccaneer cheerleaders, “Stuff” the Orlando Magic mascot and Phinley the Clearwater Threshers mascot. A family festival follows with inflatables, a train, Touch a Fire Truck, carnival games, music, food and a rock-climbing wall. Free. Vinoy Park, 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 545-7564. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
Wear your costume for this month’s event Sci-Fi and Sky Night with a Halloween twist. Activities include a costume contest, trick-or-treating for goodie bags, a viewing of the PG-rated film Spooky Buddies (8 p.m.), Planetarium shows (6:45, 7:05, 7:25, 7:45 and 8 p.m.), creepy bug shows (7 and 8 p.m.) and an alligator show (7:30 p.m.). $6 per person. Science Center of Pinellas County, 7701 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 384-0027. 6:30-8 p.m. Friday.
More than 100 waterskiers ages 6 to 60 perform theatrical (and free) water ski shows similar to those seen over the years in Cypress Gardens. This week is “Pirates! Catania’s Revenge,” which takes place in the dark with spotlights to highlight the skiers. Free. Tower Lake, 130 Burbank Road, Oldsmar. (727) 480-9365. 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Blast Friday is the free Clearewater block party the last Friday of every month. This month, in addition to live music by the Fabulous Thunderbirds, the street festival will also have a costume contest, and participating merchants will offer trick-or-treating. At 10 p.m., the Capitol Theatre will present a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Free. Cleveland Street District, 433 Cleveland St., Clearwater. Toll-free 1-888-532-5278. 5:30 p.m. Friday.
The popular peace festival Circus McGurkis returns Saturday with a people’s fair sponsored by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). There will be art, crafts, musicians, dancers, storytellers, community action groups, kids activities and food. Costumes welcome. Free admission. Lake Vista Park and Center, 1401 62nd Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 346-8598. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
The festival with the turtle theme (a turtle is also known as a “cooter”) known as the Great American Cooterfest returns with turtle races, a soccer collies demonstration, the floating “Duck, Duck, Cooter” race, a “Cooterween” costume contest, live music, a magic show and trick-or-treating. Kicks off with a block party at the courthouse square. Free parking and admission. Liberty Park, 286 N Apopka Ave., Inverness. (352) 726-2611. 6-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. If you really want a laugh, check out the video when The Daily Show came to town and Ed Helms (of The Hangover) had fun with the festival's silly name.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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