In Florida, with our mild fall season, Halloween takes on a unique feel. Reservations are thrown to the wind as young and those young at heart enjoy the masquerading potential of the holiday.
Teens and adults enjoy the freedom to dress in ways that might be unthinkable in daily life, while babies and toddlers are dressed to be as cute as can be. However, for most kids, Halloween is all about the candy, and stomachaches are practically guaranteed.
Of course, stomachaches are really the least of the holiday’s worries. The real problem is safety. From costume safety to being visible at night, the holiday presents a host of potential dangers — most of which can be mitigated with proper planning.
For those without adult chaperones, preteens and teens are encouraged to travel in groups — there is safety in numbers. Cell phones have greatly revolutionized safety, and the idea that anything can be captured in a photo or a video is a deterrent for potential troublemakers. Also, be sure not to eat the candy along the way. All treats should be thoroughly checked for safety at home before being enjoyed.
The safest alternative of all is to celebrate the holiday in true community fashion at one of the many local celebrations. That way, youngsters can get their candy and costume fix in a protected atmosphere. Be sure to put these events on your calendar:
• The South Florida Fairgrounds will offer two levels of Halloween fun this season. For older and braver folks, Fright Nights (www.myfrightnights.com) is back for four weekends: Oct. 10-11, Oct. 16-18, Oct. 23-25 and Oct. 30-Nov. 1. Looking for something more laid back? Try Spookyville at Yesteryear Village over two weekends and on Halloween, Oct. 17-19, Oct. 24-26 and Oct. 31.
• The Palm Beach Zoo (1301 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach) will host “Boo at the Zoo” from Friday through Sunday, Oct. 17-19, Oct. 24-26 and Friday, Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guests can enjoy trick-or-treating, costume contests, the decorate-your-own pumpkin patch and much more.
• Wellington’s Fall Festival will return to Village Park on Pierson Road on Saturday, Oct. 18 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with haunted hallways, a petting zoo, a hay ride, trick or treating, face painting, bounce houses, live performances and more.
• Royal Palm Beach will host Fall Fest at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park on Saturday, Oct. 25 from 1 to 9 p.m. with a dog costume contest at 3 p.m., trick-or-treating at the park and costume contests starting at 5 p.m. There will also be craft vendors, great food and live entertainment.
• Wellington High School and the Village of Wellington will host the popular Trunk or Treat on Saturday, Oct. 25 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Wellington High School parking lot, for children 10 and under. Aside from candy, there will be food trucks, face painting, vehicle visits and more.