With Halloween falling on Tuesday, this weekend is the dress rehearsal with over-the-top parties, an actual carnival at Armature Works in Tampa and a 2-mile block party on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg.
The weekend before Halloween is always a big one, but this year event planners seem to be upping the tricks and treats.
A four-day carnival starts Thursday at Armature Works in Tampa, (Oct. 26-29) with rides, a $10,000 costume contest, a dog costume contest on Thursday at 4 p.m. and a music festival with DJs, including Diplo, Quavo, Above & Beyond, Wuki and more. Carnival tickets start at $5; music festival tickets start at $45. It runs from 4-11 p.m. Thursday and 4 p.m.-midnight Friday. It is open noon-midnight Saturday and noon-11 p.m. Sunday at Armature Works, 1910 N. Ola Ave., Tampa. tixr.com.
Nearly 2 miles of Central Avenue will be closed to traffic in St. Petersburg to allow a family-style costumed stroll with entertainment and candy stations. New this year is four-block Voodoo Vendor Village, between 16th and 20th streets, with more than 100 local makers and small businesses. There will also be live performances, dog- and family-friendly activities (including a wiener dog race) and, of course, plenty of candy for trick-or-treaters of all ages. Free. Noon-5 p.m. on Sunday (Oct. 29). PSTA’s SunRunner buses will be free for all riders during the event.
Sparkman Wharf has been transformed into the Haunted Wharf with a haunted pirate shipwreck featuring silly spooks for the kids and scary fun for the adults. Evenings include DJ dancing, Halloween-themed entertainment and photo props, including a siren swing, a jail cell, a drop-down scare window and a decorated “Tampa” sign. Free. Haunted Wharf hours are 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday (Oct. 27-29). Sparkman Wharf, 615 Channelside Drive, Tampa.
A drive-thru spectacle in New Port Richey called Huboween IV is ready to dazzle Friday and Saturday (Oct. 27-28) in the J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park. It takes about 45 minutes to cruise through its nine scare zones. The first 500 cars get a free swag bag with candy. $20-$25 per car. 6-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park, 10500 Wilderness Park Blvd., New Port Richey.
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One of the best Halloween scares is put on by the teenagers in St. Petersburg’s TASCO teen program. Called the Field of Screams, now in its 16th year, they produce an elaborate trail of scares in the woods of the Pinellas Pioneer Settlement. This year’s theme is Beyond the Bayou, “taking you into the swamps where whispers of rituals and spirits linger.” This is not for little kids. Participants are exposed to darkness, loud noises, bright lights, wooded trails and intense scare zones. $10-$15. 7 p.m.-midnight Oct. 27-29 and Oct. 31. Pinellas Pioneer Settlement, 2900 31st St. S., St. Petersburg.
How about a test run for trick-or-treating? The Riverwalk Trick-or-Treat in Tampa on Saturday (Oct. 28) will reward costumed kids at more than 50 treat stations along the Riverwalk from Water Works Park to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Free. 4-7 p.m. Saturday. 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa. Westshore Mall is also sponsoring an indoor Halloween Fest on Sunday (Oct. 29) with local businesses handing out candy. There will be free balloon animals, face painting, crafts, video games and meet-and-greets. Come dressed up as a family and you might win a prize. Free. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, 250 Westshore Plaza, Tampa.
For a free family outing, bring a blanket or low-lying chairs to Coachman Park in Clearwater to enjoy a free movie under the stars. Live music starts at 6 p.m., and the movie “Hocus Pocus 2″ begins at 7 p.m. Free. 6 p.m. Friday. Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater.