From exciting carnivals to mystical paddle parades, there’s a multitude of entertaining options on the horizon in the next two weekends for Halloween enthusiasts.
With Halloween falling on a Tuesday this year, early celebrations and spooky events are filling the weekends leading up to the big night. Here are some of our favorite upcoming activities for you to mark on your calendar:
- 13 Ugly Men Halloween Party: Always known for its fantastic costume contests, Tampa Bay’s most stylish individuals gather at the Ugly Men’s annual event, with this year’s proceeds benefiting Friends of Joshua House, dedicated to abused and abandoned children. The historic Cuban Club in Ybor City, often associated with ghostly tales, will be transformed into a hub of UFO activity. An otherworldly indoor and outdoor experience awaits, with the party going until 3 a.m., beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 21st. Address: Cuban Club, 2010 N Avenida Republica de Cuba, Tampa. Contact: 813-248-2954. Tickets can be found at eventliveus.com for $50.
- Halloween on Central: A family-style costumed stroll awaits along nearly 2 miles of Central Avenue, which will be temporarily closed to traffic. The festivities include entertainment, candy stations, and a new Voodoo Vendor Village spanning four blocks between 16th and 20th streets on Central. Over 100 local artisans and small businesses will be present, along with live performances, dog- and family-friendly activities, and a wiener dog race. Plus, there’s an abundance of candy for trick-or-treaters of all ages. This event is free and runs from noon to 5 p.m. on October 29th. Address: 1600 to 2400 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg.
- Haunted Carnival at Armature Works: Pied Piper Productions, a renowned Halloween event planner, has expanded this year into a four-day carnival from October 26th to 29th. The festivities include rides, a $10,000 costume contest, a dog costume contest, and a music festival featuring top DJs like Diplo, Quavo, and Above & Beyond. Ticket prices for the carnival start at $5, while the music festival begins at $45. The carnival runs from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday, noon to midnight on Saturday, and noon to 11 p.m. on Sunday. Address: Armature Works, 1910 N Ola Ave., Tampa. Tickets available at tixr.com.
- Tarpon Springs Witches/Warlocks Paddle Parade: This uniquely Floridian Halloween event features numerous participants dressed as wizards, witches, and skeletons paddling on paddleboards and kayaks down the Anclote River. Plan to arrive early, as the Tarpon Splash Park launch can become congested with participants unloading. The event commences at 10 a.m. on October 28th with a casual 2-mile paddle (4 miles round-trip) along the historic Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks’ restaurant and shop village. The group will navigate to the bayou of Victorian homes in Craig Park for a lunch break before returning. Don’t forget to bring a life vest, whistle, beverages, snacks, and lunch. Parking and restrooms are available at the Tarpon Splash Park, located at 508 Live Oak St., Tarpon Springs. This event is free.
- An Eerie Evening at the Tampa Bay Hotel: The Henry B. Plant Museum will transform into a beautifully lit Victorian setting, complete with candles and artifacts, offering a rare chance to explore the museum after dark. The evenings feature spooky Victorian mourning traditions and ghost stories, with a mystery to solve using evidence and clues scattered throughout the rooms. This event runs from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on October 27th to 29th. Address: Henry B. Plant Museum, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Contact: 813-254-1891. Tickets cost $35, with members paying $25.
- Haunted Wharf: Sparkman Wharf will undergo a transformation into a haunted pirate shipwreck, with fun for kids and chilling experiences for adults. Evenings include DJ dancing, Halloween-themed entertainment, and various photo props. On Monday, October 23rd, there’s a “Howl-O-Ween” dog costume contest from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on Tuesday, October 31st, there’s a free Movies on the Lawn showing of “Ghostbusters” at 6:30 p.m. Haunted Wharf hours are from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on October 27th and 28th. Address: Sparkman Wharf, 615 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Contact: 813-345-5881. Admission is free.
- Huboween IV: Brace yourself for a spine-tingling 45-minute drive-thru experience featuring nine scare zones. The first 500 cars receive a complimentary swag bag filled with candy. This event takes place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on October 27th and 28th. Address: J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park, 10500 Wilderness Park Blvd., New Port Richey. Contact: 727-382-2710. Tickets range from $20 to $25.
- Field of Screams: St. Petersburg’s TASCO teen program is in its 16th year of producing a spine-chilling trail through the woods. This year’s theme, “Beyond the Bayou,” takes you into the swamps, where whispers of rituals and spirits abound. Participants will encounter darkness, loud noises, bright lights, wooded trails, and intense scare zones. This event is not suitable for young children and runs from 7 p.m. to midnight on October 27th to 29th and October 31st. Address: Pinellas Pioneer Settlement, 2900 31st St. S., St. Petersburg. Contact: 727-892-5060. Tickets cost between $10 and $15.
- Riverwalk Trick-or-Treat: Children in costume can enjoy trick-or-treating at more than 50 treat stations along the Riverwalk, stretching from Water Works Park to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. This free event runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on October 28th. Address: Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa.
- Hocus Focus: Halloween Experience: The creative minds behind the arts collective Fairgrounds of St. Pete have created a fun and eerie adventure featuring Halloween games and goodies. More creative than creepy, this limited-time Eerie Eyeball scavenger hunt offers fun for everyone. It runs from noon to 10:30 p.m. on Fridays, 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Sundays through November 6th. Address: Fairgrounds St. Pete, 2606 Fairfield Ave. S., St. Petersburg. Tickets are available at tickets.fairgrounds.art and are priced at $37, with those aged 4-12 paying $32, and children 3 and younger enter for free.