1. Pops in the Park: Maybe some free concerts in the park will bring on nice fall weather. The Florida Orchestra is doing its part by bringing back its hugely popular Pops in the Park with two shows, Friday at 7 p.m. at River Tower Park in the Sulphur Springs area of Tampa, and Saturday at 7 p.m. in Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. Gerald Steichen, one of the most versatile young talents in music, will guest conduct all your favorites. (Tchaikovksy's 1812 Overture, people!) Of course you should bring a picnic, and while you're at it, bring canned goods to donate to Tampa Bay Harvest's food bank services. Free.
2. Vampire Ball: Sexy blood suckers are all the rage these days, so if you can't beat them, join in for True Blood drink specials at 9 p.m. Friday at Push Ultra Lounge, 128 Third St. S in St. Petersburg. It's $5 for guys, ladies free, and the party benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Florida. Bring your fangs.
3. Free movies: You have a couple of choices this week to bring a blanket and catch a movie outdoors. The Theater on the Bay at St. Petersburg's Pier will show The Gold Retrievers, starring Steve Guttenberg, at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Costumes are encouraged (there will be prizes). Over in Gulfport, the 1960s classic Mad Monster Party will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the point behind the recreation center at 5730 Shore Blvd. S. Movie munchies will be sold to support the Gulfport Teen Council. Free.
4. Family Friendly Haunted Hike: Take the kids on a 1-mile walking tour through the St. Paul-Euclid neighborhood's creepy alleys, old homes and landmarks where costumed characters tell spooky stories. It's $5 adults, $1 ages 12 and younger; 2 and younger free at www.espna.org or onsite at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Meet at 13th Street and 13th Avenue N in St. Petersburg. For more Halloween fun — much of it free or cheap &mdash.
5. San Antonio Rattlesnake Festival: The toughest-sounding festival in the bay area gets under way this weekend in rural Pasco County with snake shows, gopher races, reptile shows, arts and crafts, a Western wear contest, photography contest, food and more. It's at the San Antonio City Park off State Road 52, east of Interstate 75, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Free.
Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer