Looking for a not-so-spooky spot to celebrate Halloween?
Winter Park has a treat for you.
The city’s Family Fun Program will host Winter Park’s eighth annual Pumpkins & Munchkins Trick-or-Treat Trail Wednesday, Oct. 31 at Shady Park, next to the Winter Park Community Center, 721 W. New England Ave.
Young Winter Parkers and their families can expect ghoulish carnival games, bounce houses, a DJ, a balloon artist, a costume contest and, of course, the Trick-or-Treat Trail at this free event.
The trick-or-treat pathway follows the sidewalk around the outside of the Winter Park Community Center and features six themed stations where children can grab their candy from staff members in costumes.
“What we do is we do this non-scary Trick-or-Treat trail, which allows kids from the neighborhood and the surrounding areas to know that they’re getting good candy and stuff from the Community Center so they can feel a little safer about their Halloween activities,” Recreation and Family Services Manager Cathleen Daus said.
It’s a special holiday event that has evolved over the years — from just a Trick-or-Treat Trail to a complete Halloween experience. New this year are the balloon artist and the kid crafts area, where children will have a chance to make some colorful magnet picture frames.
The event came from the desire to provide families with a safe place to get the Halloween experience – instead of wandering through neighborhoods, Daus said.
“We opened (the Winter Park Community Center) on Oct. 1, 2011, and we decided that we wanted to do something neat for the neighborhood,” Daus said. “We started with this non-scary Trick-or-Treat Trail, and it probably brought in about 300 people the first year. We’re now getting somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 people come through that trail in two hours. It just kept increasing every year, and we just get a lot of compliments that we buy the good candy, and we make sure you wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. That way you’re just so much safer.”
Winter Park Director of Communications Clarissa Howard said the event also makes it much easier on the parents.
“(Kids) can’t last very long as far as trick-or-treating — they get tired real quick, and they really don’t want that much candy,” Howard said. “But here, they’ll get candy but also break it up with all kinds of other arts and crafts activities. So not only for parents is it safe, but it also helps balance out that trail part.”
Halloween is always a fun holiday to celebrate at the Community Center, Daus said.
“It was done specifically for the kids in this area to have a really good time,” she said. “(Families) can expect to get lots of great candy and to have some good fun entertainment and a lot of interaction with our staff. That way it makes Halloween not so scary for the little guys — just fun.”