From haunted houses to fall festivals, the calendar is crammed with special events for the entire family.
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 4257 Gulf Breeze Parkway, will host its 19th Annual Oktoberfest from 5-9 p.m. Oct. 17 and 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Oct. 18. Friday night’s entertainment will feature The Sawmill Band and an early garage sale, Good Shepherd’s Ladies Crafters’ exhibit quilts, local crafters’ exhibits and a silent auction. Saturday’s entertainment will feature The Johansens Band from 5-9 p.m. 932-3263.
Nightmare on the Safari
From 6-10 p.m. Oct. 17-18, 24-25, 30 and 31, The ZOO Northwest Florida will be transformed into a haunted safari after dark, featuring encounters with The ZOO’s creepiest animals, face painting, games, ghost stories and a haunted train ride, which will take visitors through The ZOO’s haunted wildlife preserve, filled with ghosts, witches and the undead. Visitors can also visit an old-fashioned carnival freak show and trick-or-treat on Halloween night.
The Fort Walton Beach Jaycees 2008 Haunted House at HarborWalk Village Destin will be open from 7 p.m.-midnight Oct. 17-18, 23-25 and Oct. 29 - Nov. 1. Tickets are $8 at the door. It is recommended for children at least 10 years old. Halloween Kid’s Day will be from noon-3 p.m. Oct. 25. Children 13 and under will be admitted free.
Pet Costume Contest
Pet Nation in Navarre will hold its fifth annual Halloween pet costume contest from 2 p.m. until the last pet goes in front of the judges Oct. 18 at Pet Nation, 1890 Andorra St. Pets that are hard to dress in costume or spook easily may have their cage or carrier decorated and entered with the pet inside. Event is pre-register only and registration ends at 7 p.m. Oct. 17. Call 936-8201 to register your pets.
Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest
The Great Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest will be from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Oct. 18 at Shoreline Park Pavilion in Gulf Breeze. Divers from all over our area gather to take a dip in the chilly Santa Rosa Sound and carve the best pumpkin they can in one hour while completely submerged. There is also a beach carving for youth.
‘Dracula’ to visit
Northwest Florida Ballet presents “Dracula,” based on Bram Stoker’s novel, on Oct. 18 at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College. Following Saturday’s performance will be Dracula’s Bash, an elegant party catered by Vin’tij and featuring a performance by Gareth Jones, located on the stage in Dracula’s castle. Tickets to the Dracula performance and Dracula’s Bash are $70 per person: $50 for the party and a 20-percent discount on the performance ticket. 664-7787 or www.nfballet.org.
From 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 18, visitors can get up-close-and-personal with the bats of The ZOO at the Bat Festival. Zookeepers will give visitors an in-depth look at the lifestyles of bats, including how they see and hear, what they eat and their general lifestyle. Activities for children include face painting, bounce houses and a bat coloring contest.
Glass Pumpkin Patch at Belmont
Just in time for fall, Belmont Arts and Cultural Center will host another signature art event, Glass Pumpkin Patch. The event will be from 10a.m.-2p.m. Oct. 18 at the center. Over 150 glass-blown and crafted pumpkins in an array of colors, sizes and styles will be available for purchase. Prices for the pumpkins begin around $30 and make great gifts and home accents. 429-1222, www.belmontartscenter.com.
Starting on Sunday, Oct. 19, the Navarre Presbyterian Church will open its pumpkin patch. Sales will be open every day from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., and from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday. The patch will be open from noon - 6 p.m. on Sundays.
A pumpkin-themed party will take place from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 19 at The ZOO Northwest Florida. The party is designed for younger visitors and their parents. At 11 a.m., visitors can enjoy an animal encounter, as they watch zookeepers feed select zoo animals a pumpkin snack. Afterward, a pumpkin decorating party will be held from noon-2 p.m.
Haunted History Tour
The City of Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park & Cultural Center presents a new Haunted History Tour based on authentic local history, folk stories and spooky downtown historic sites. The Haunted Tours will be held at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24, 25 and 31. Tours are limited to 30 people per tour. Early sign-up and ticket purchase is encouraged. Heritage Park & Cultural Center is located at 139 Miracle Strip Parkway SE. 833.9595.
Families will enjoy this fall festival, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 25, that will feature bounce houses, face painting, crafts and more. A costume parade and costume contest will be held and open to all interested participants. Prizes will be given for scariest costume, most creative costume, prettiest princess, “most likely to be found at The ZOO” and best overall costume.
West Navarre Primary School will raise money for the school with its inaugural fall carnival from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 25 at the school, 1955 Lowe Road. The event will feature food, games and a silent auction. Tickets for the games will be four for $1. Entry is free.
Halloween at the Y
The Fort Walton Beach Library will host “Spooky Night” starting at 6 p.m. Oct. 28. Storyteller Jimm Zajecek, who specializes in the famous “Jack Tales” of Southern Appalachia that appeal to ages 5 and up, will be the featured guest for the event. The event will also feature crafts, spooky music, treats and a costume contest. 833-9590.
Bell-bottoms, platform shoes and tie-dyed tees will be haute couture this Halloween as we celebrate Hippie Halloween in Historic Downtown Fort Walton Beach. The event is from 4–6 p.m. Oct. 31. Shop owners will be offering groovy goodies and funky activities for the kids. “Groovy goody bags” will be available for $2 each at participating merchants.
St. Ann celebration
Trunk of Treats is on Halloween night at 5 p.m. at St. Ann Catholic Church. Sign up now to decorate your car and hand out candy. The St. Ann Youth Office is also collecting candy donations. The church is located at 100 Daniel Drive. 932-2859.
Trunkload of fun
First Baptist Church of Navarre will have its Third Annual Trunk or Treat from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31. More than 50 cars will be decorated and children can trick or treat from vehicle to vehicle. There will also be a cake walk and carnival games, plus free hot dogs and soft drinks. First Baptist Church of Navarre is located at 9336 Navarre Pkwy., next to Wal-Mart. 939-3424.