With Halloween around the corner, southwest Orlando residents are about to get treated to some happy haunts and fall festivities right in their own backyards.
From haunted graveyards and trunk-or-treating to costume contests and parties so good that it’s scary, here are a few places where you can get your fill of spooky celebrations and family-friendly events.
St. Luke’s UMC’s Trunks, Treats & More
Rain or shine, fun will be had by all at St. Luke’s UMC’s Trunks, Treats & More Halloween event. The family-friendly event takes place 5 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at St. Luke’s UMC, 4851 S. Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando.
The whole family can enjoy trunk-or-treating, food, entertainment, a children’s costume contest, inflatable games, a sensory-friendly area and a pumpkin patch.
Dawn Fleming, executive director of marketing at St. Luke’s, said there are a couple of new and exciting things coming to this year’s event. One of those things is an inflatable corn maze.
“I didn’t even know this was something that existed, but we’re pretty excited about it,” Fleming said. “It takes up about the size of a house, so it should be pretty fun. In the city or the suburbs it’s hard to find a corn maze, so this is going to be the next best thing. The pictures are pretty cool, and all of the staff is really excited to go through it.”
Also new this year is the “Candy, Sweets & Musical Treats” concert featuring the children’s choir, youth choir, handbell choir and John R. Mason III on the organ.
“It’s a free concert and will be at the end of the event,” Fleming said. “It’s just a chance for people to come in, cool off and listen to some music by the children and our handbell choirs. The event has just been growing in popularity — more and more people have attended in the past and bring their friends, neighbors, coworkers and family members.
“We wanted to make sure we have plenty of things for people to do,” she said. “We really just wanted to be a good neighbor in the community and offer a fun opportunity for kids to come and have fun with friends and their community.”
And although sweet treats are a big part of the event, the church is participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, which promotes inclusion for trick-or-treaters with food allergies or other conditions. The church will offer non-food items for these children, such as small toys and prizes.
For more information, visit st.lukes.org/trunks.
The Allen Asylum
In years past, the gates of the Allen Asylum have opened for a couple of days each October to the public for a full-scale haunted house experience. Bay Hill residents Matt and Amy Allen display a graveyard scene in their front yard, and the walkthrough haunted house — complete with special effects and “scaractors” — is open on Halloween and at least one other day prior to Halloween.
However, the Allens announced that festivities for 2019 will be toned down. There will be no walkthrough haunted house this year, but the full Halloween yard display will be ready on Oct. 15. The family also has moved over to the South Bay neighborhood in the Bay Hill area, they wrote on Facebook.
For more information on the Allen Asylum, location and this year’s display, visit facebook.com/theallenasylum.
The Grove’s Halloween Boo Bash
Are you ready for a scary good time? Once again, The Grove Orlando is gearing up for its annual Halloween Boo Bash. The complimentary, family-friendly event promises fun for all — and there will be plenty of candy.
The party kicks off with a DJ, Halloween-themed music, games and a costume contest. Children will get to experiment with dry ice, make ghost eggs to take home and also experience a “gross” sensory station with Mad Science.
Attendees also will be able to decorate a Halloween bag at The Grove’s craft station and trick or treat throughout The Grove’s shops. Boo Bash takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at The Grove Orlando, 4744 S. Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando. For more information on Boo Bash, visit bit.ly/2pMdXIn.
Windermere High Truck or Treat Night
For the third year now, the Windermere High Wolverines are banding together to put on a fun, family-friendly trick-or-treating event in the school’s courtyard.
This year’s event will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the school, 5523 Winter Garden Vineland Road, Windermere.
Windermere High’s PTSO is the presenting sponsor for the truck-or-treat night, and Wolverines clubs, sports teams, student organizations and community partners decorate their own booths. Some offer games and crafts, and all of them provide treats.
Attendees can also visit their favorite food trucks and enjoy music and fun for all ages. For more information, visit bit.ly/2LXGFPr.
Windermere Halloween Costume Parade and Hayride
A beloved Windermere tradition continues from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, with Windermere Parks and Recreation’s annual costume parade and hayride.
In years past, the mayor has led the short parade through downtown Windermere as ghosts, goblins, witches, princesses and superheroes followed with treat bags in hand. Children gather on the front porch of Town Hall for a photo with the mayor before heading inside for snacks and a hauntingly good story time. Hayrides for all cap off the fun morning.
Admission to the event is free. For more information, visit windermereparksandrecreation.com.