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Honeymoon Island ushers in spooky fun

HONEYMOON ISLAND

Welcome to the Hotel Caladesi. It's such a lovely place — especially this time of year.

The hotel is actually a picnic shelter turned into a haunted house with spooky scenes inside.

It's just one shining slice of "Halloween in the Park XII: Shipwreck Island," a fundraiser to benefit Friends of the Island Parks, the citizen support organization for Honeymoon and Caladesi Island state parks.

Admission is $10 per carload of participants. In return for their bravery, they get 10 game tickets for amusements like a bean bag toss.

Check in from 6 to 10 p.m. today and Saturday. Check out, well ... we'll get to that later.

Organizers promise food, pirate stories, face painting, fortune-telling and a shipwreck-theme trail on Honeymoon Island State Park.

Food choices include gumbo, hot dogs, burgers, popcorn and pretzels at a food wagon provided by Cafe Honeymoon.

The event should make for some rare, after-dark fun in the park, which normally closes at sunset.

Park manager Peter Krulder answered some questions about the event. Here's what you need to know:

This is the island's 12th annual Halloween in the Park. How did it begin?

The event began as a safe, family-friendly alternative to trick-or-treating. It's grown every year, and the themes change to make it new and different.

What are the scary trails like?

Guests will enter the "Port of Honeymoon" and see signs of shipwrecks past, including that of an old ocean liner. They'll walk through a jungle, where they may be enticed by the likes of Medusa. Warn them to beware of the Venus Flytrap and cannibals that hang around the sacred volcano.

After guests have made it through the quicksand, they can stop and dine with all of their ghostly friends at the Shipwreck Cafe. Featured menu items are heart of Pam salad, Pete roast with carrots and toes, Rat-tatouille and sweet bug sorbet. Hopefully, they'll be able to make it across Bloody Beach. If so, a wonderful night's stay awaits them at Hotel Caladesi, where guests can check in but may not check out.

Are there any age limits?

No. Parental discretion is advised. We also offer a Smokey Bear-themed area for small children.

Have a Diversions idea? Reach Terri Reeves at treeves@tampabay.rr.com.

If you go

Halloween in the Park XII: Shipwreck Island

What: An event to benefit Friends of the Island Parks, the citizen support organization for Honeymoon and Caladesi Island state parks.

Where: Picnic area at Honeymoon Island State Park, 1 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin.

When: 6 to 10 p.m. today and Saturday.

Admission: $10 per carload; receive 10 free game tickets.

Wear: Costumes (optional) and walking shoes.

Take: Insect repellent and a small flashlight.

Information: Call (727) 469-5942 or visit

floridastateparks.org.

Honeymoon Island ushers in spooky fun 10/22/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 22, 2009 6:20pm]
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