Halloween night always brings the promise of fun events for ghosts and goblins of all ages, but when it falls on a Saturday, the whole weekend is filled with bewitching events.
Whether it's a haunted house, spellbinding rock 'n' roll street festival or a scary water-ski show, there's something for everyone.
Trail of Terror and Spooktacular
If the kids prefer a traditional, but safer, Halloween celebration, head to Countryside Recreation Center in Clearwater for the Trail of Terror and Spooktacular.
The indoor Trail of Terror is designed for kids 10 and up and promises an "intensive interactive experience." It takes the recreation center staff almost two months to prepare and assemble the haunted house.
"Last year, it was pretty scary, and we're always trying to top ourselves," said Nicole Bell, recreation leader at the center.
The Spooktacular is designed for a younger crowd and features trick-or-treating, games and a costume contest.
"We want this to be an alternative for families," Bell said. "We want this to be a safe place for kids to come."
The Spooktacular is from 6 to 8:30 tonight. The Trail of Terror is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Both are free.
The Countryside Recreation Center is at 2640 Sabal Springs Drive. For information, call (727) 669-1914.
What started as a small, typical Halloween festival in 2000 took on a theme of witches and the metaphysical when Lesley Klein opened the Witches Brew coffee shop and pub on Florida Avenue in 2007.
That year, the downtown Palm Harbor festival became known as "Witchstock" and became more a celebration than a scary event.
"Halloween doesn't have to be scary — it should be fun," Klein said. "After all, it's the witches' new year."
With 2009 the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, event organizers have combined the rock 'n' roll of the late '60s with a celebration of all things witchy — including a performance of songs from the Broadway show Wicked, featuring performers dressed as the two lead witches in that play. There will also be a performance of songs from The Wizard of Oz.
The Witches Brew is the host of the free event, which runs from noon until midnight Saturday. The Palm Harbor Merchants' Association and Old Palm Harbor Main Street are also partners in the celebration.
Costume contests will be held for pets, children and adults. Trophies for winners are new this year as well as cash prizes for the best adult costumes.
Street vendors and downtown restaurants will sell food, and there will be live entertainment throughout the day and into the evening.
For information and a schedule of events, call (727) 423-1224 or visit witchstock.com.
Slightly wicked water skiing
The Tampa Bay Water Ski Show Team does just two night shows each year. One of them was last week, and the final performance of "Under the Haunted Big Top" is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
More than 20 skiers between the ages of 6 and 60 perform a show with a circus theme that's just a little spooky.
"The kids love it and they're not scared," said Vickie Wilmouth, a volunteer for the ski club. "We love being able to do something unique."
There is bleacher and lawn seating, and children and adults are encouraged to wear costumes.
The free show takes place at Tower Lake near the Oldsmar Flea Market. From Tampa Road, take Racetrack Road north to Douglas Road. Turn left. The ski site entrance is at the second dirt drive on the left. For information, call (813) 855-4678 or visit tampawaterski.com.