scare up some thrills!

by Kellie Abrahamson
terror on the
f irst coast!
Local Haunts

All area haunts are open for select nights through October 31st.
These events have a high fear factor and are not recommended for children.

Haunt Nights at Adventure Landing (Jacksonville Beach), 246-4386
Adventure Landing’s annual Halloween extravaganza returns for its most promising year yet. To ensure that their scares are second to none, the Jax Beach institution brought in a ringer: industry expert Dan Faupel. “It’s really nice to see Adventure Landing invest so much in their haunts this year,” Faupel said in a recent press release. “With the addition of dozens of scare specialists I brought with me, we will have over 100 years of combined, professional experience. Be prepared to be scared!”
Haunt Nights will feature two houses: Apocalyptia, a 3D haunt that throws guests into a post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with zombies, giants and mutants; and Dark Fables, a twisted stroll through childhood fairy tales gone terribly wrong. Tickets are $17.99, which includes admission to both houses. Express passes, group pricing and other ticketing options are available on the Haunt Nights website.

Horror Zone (St. Augustine)
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Youth Services Unit is once again sponsoring the 12th annual Horror Zone. The 15,000-square-foot haunt is manned entirely by deputies and volunteers and all proceeds go to support the many juvenile programs sponsored by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
Each year, Horror Zone gets better and better and this year is no exception. In addition to creepy clowns, caged freaks, swirling vortexes and rocking hallways, expect to come face-to-face with the criminally insane, demented doctors and the curiously named “Jack the Ripper Twirling Box.” Tickets for Horror Zone are $10 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under (parental discretion is advised). Directions and other info are available on the haunt’s website.

Night Terrors (Mandarin)
Boasting three terrifying attractions, Night Terrors is 30,000+ square feet of non-stop scares. The haunt is the brainchild of horror wunderkind Jordan Renda, who opened the frightening facility in 2009 when he was just 16 years old. Since then, Night Terrors has grown exponentially and has even been selected as one of America’s Best Haunts by industry insiders two years in a row.
Newly updated for the 2012 season, Outbreak is a terrifying look at what would happen to our fair city if its citizens become infected with a virus that turns them into blood-thirsty zombies. Madhouse tells the tale of the Adner Heights Asylum, a mental asylum that was shut down in the 70s when tales of the grotesque and inhumane treatment suffered by patients came to light. Now the tormented spirits roam its halls ready to give guests a glimpse of the horror they themselves experienced so long ago. Finally, The Vacancy is an all new haunt set in a remote (and extra creepy) bed and breakfast. Tickets start at $25 and discounts are available for members of the military. This year, Night Terrors has teamed up with Warehouse 31 to offer combo passes- – gain entry to all three Night Terror trails and all three Warehouse 31 trails for just $40. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the website.

Warehouse 31 (St. Augustine), 460-8608
Now in its fourth year, Warehouse 31 houses three horrific haunts, each with enough scares to leave your heart pounding and your blood curdling. According to the website, the warehouse was once home to a cult and, since their mysterious departure, is now plagued with strange happenings. But even without the creepy backstory, the facility is definitely freaky and has become a regional favorite this time of year.
Warehouse 31 is home to Rigamortis, 3D Clown Nightmare and Vertigo. Rigamortis is a 30-room trail plagued with strange smells and evil creatures lurking in the shadows. If you suffer from coulrophobia, steer clear of 3D Clown Nightmare! The psychotic big top rejects inhabiting this space will stop at nothing to gain admission into your nightmares. Finally, Vertigo is a dizzying maze where every room and every monster looks the same. Sounds pretty tame until you consider how you’ll ever make it out! While waiting for your chance to face your fears, be sure to visit the Roadkill Café where you can enjoy a snack, watch a classic horror flick or buy merch. Tickets start at $25 and discounts are available for groups and military. This year, Warehouse 31 has teamed up with Night Terrors to offer combo passes– gain entry to all three Warehouse 31 trails and all three Night Terror trails for just $40. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the website.

frighteningly fun!
Family-friendly Happenings

Halloween Walking Tours (St. Augustine)
Select nights through October 27, 829-1122
The Original Ghost Tours of St. Augustine will be hosting two goosebump-inducing tours in honor of Halloween. Adults will come face-to-face with crazed, feisty and swashbuckling spirits during “A Ghostly Experience.” While meandering through the streets of the Oldest City, these departed souls will appear to tell you the tale of their deaths. Kids (and the young at heart) will have their own tour: “A Children’s Halloween with Mother Goosebumps.” During this G rated event, participants will get to hear not-so-scary stories from puppeteer Mother Goosebumps and her friend Lucy Goosey. Both tours are approximately one-hour in length. Admission is $15 for the adult tour and $5 for the children’s tour. Reservations are required so book online today.

Conner’s A-Maize-Ing Acres (Hilliard)
October 6-November 10, 879-5453
Celebrate all things Fall at Conner’s A-Maize-Ing Acres! The First Coast fav features attractions like tube slides, hay rides, pumpkin patches and, of course, a massive corn maze. Admission is $13 for guests ages 5 to 64, $11 for kids ages 2-4, $11 for seniors ages 65 and up and free for children under 2. Prices include all attractions except concessions, general store purchases, horseback rides and the corn cannon. Special events, including Military Appreciation Day, the Redneck Olympics and Flashlight Nites are listed on the website.

Catty Shack Haunted Forest (Northside)
October 12-14 & October 19-20, 757-3603
Celebrate Halloween with some big cats and a whole lot of fun at the Catty Shack. Under the big tent at the front of the property, kids of all ages can enjoy crafts and games, face painting and more. Then, stroll through the sancatuary to wish all the animals a happy Halloween before making your way to the Haunted Forest. Costumes are encouraged (but not required) and all kids in attendance will get a bag of candy as a special treat (no tricks here!). Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 3-11 and free for kids 1 and under.

 3rd Annual Historical Ghost Walking Tour (St. Augustine)
October 18 & 20 at 8 pm, 731-2329
Sponsored by Ancient City Tours, the 3rd Annual Historical Ghost Walking Tour will feature costumed guides that will lead visitors on a 90-minute walking tour through St. Augustine’s Historic District, famous for its ghostly encounters and ghastly legends. Ancient City Tours will donate all proceeds of these eerie evenings to the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida and the money raised will stay in Northeast Florida to help the Jacksonville office fight to stop seizures. Tickets are $10 per person on the 18th and $20 per person on the 20th. RSVPs must be made by October 10th. For tickets, visit

Spooktacular at the Jacksonville Zoo
October 19-21 & October 26-31 at 6:30 pm, 757-4463
Kids of all ages will love the not-so-spooky fun at the Jacksonville Zoo this month. Celebrating its 25th year, Spooktacular is a family favorite. The nine nights of fun will include trick-or-treating, music, dancing, food, giant slides, bounce houses, hundreds of pumpkins and much more. There will also be three scare zones, for those who dare to enter. Admission is $10 for non-members ages 3 and older and $8 for members ages 3 and up. Discounts are available for those who purchase their tickets online.

Halloween Doors & More (Jacksonville Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall, Downtown)
October 20 from 3 pm- 8 pm, 886-3883
This annual Halloween event is a wonderful way to give back to our community and have a great night of family fun. Halloween Doors & More is a fundraising event to benefit Community PedsCare, a nationally recognized pediatric palliative and hospice program that offers support, comfort and care to more than 100 area children and their families. This year’s event will feature several new ventures and some familiar ones including a trip to the Groovy Goblin Family Disco, a spooktacular make-over at the Seussical Salon, a dreamlike journey into Alice’s Adventure, a magical voyage through Harry’s Wizarding World, plenty of gourmet food and much more. Individual tickets and sponsorships are available online at the event’s website.

4th Annual Yappy Hour Howl-O-Ween (Jacksonville Landing, Downtown)
October 21 from 2 pm- 5 pm, 353-1188
This annual Halloween bash is just for dogs and their owners and includes canine trick-or-treating, a pet expo, games, prizes, drink specials and live music by Radio 80. The event also boasts the First Coast’s biggest K-9 costume contest with two categories, one for small dogs and one for bigger pups. This event is free!

Hallo-WEE Party at Adventure Landing (Jacksonville Beach)
October 27 from 10 am- 2 pm, 246-4386
Children 12 and under can celebrate all things Halloween at Adventure Landing on October 27th. The not-so-scary celebration will include a costume contest, crafts, games, bounce houses, face painting, candy (naturally) and more. Cost for the event is just a $2 donation, with proceeds benefitting Seamark Ranch Children’s Home. Additional specials include the Triple Threat Combo, which features a ride on the Wacky Worm Rollercoaster, a ride on the Frog Hopper and a game of mini golf for just $5 per child.

Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra’s Symphonic Spooktacular (Times-Union Center, Downtown)
October 28 at 2 pm, 354-5547
Conductor Scott C. Gregg and the rest of the JSO have dreamed up a frighteningly fun afternoon perfect for little music lovers and their families. This annual Halloween concert also includes pre-concert fun and games with the Ann F. Skinner Instrument Zoo. Costumes are encouraged!

run for your life!
Halloween-themed Runs

Monster Mash Dash (Downtown)
October 19 at 6 pm
The Monster Mash Dash is a run of a different sort- it’s a fun-filled night of adventure and excitement for the entire family. The evening will begin with a 1-mile fun run followed by the 5K race at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds. It will also feature a costume contest, a restaurant village, adult beverages, children’s activities, entertainment by the Boogie Freaks and a glimpse of “a gala of a different sort”: Halloween Doors & More. Awards will be given for best team participation and individual times. Proceeds from this race benefit Community PedsCare.

Kids Fitness Zombie Chase & Zombie Buffet 5K (Downtown)
October 20 at 9:30 am
This zombie-infested event features two heart-thumping runs: the Kids Fitness Zombie Chase and the Zombie Buffet 5K. Beginning at the Jacksonville Landing, participants will have to run for their lives as hoards of the undead attempt to make them a meal. You gotta use your legs or lose your brains! The children’s race is less intense and runners will be rewarded for their bravery with an event t-shirt, dog tags and an invite to the after party. The 5K is for ages 17 and up and features more zombies (both of the slow shuffling and sprinting variety) and, quite possibly, a lot more terror. Not up for being zombie bait? You can sign up to be a zombie instead! All participants who register before October 6th will receive race swag. Proceeds benefit the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Running of the Ghouls 2012 (Nocatee)
October 27 at 8:30 am
Runners at this inaugural race can choose either a 1-mile fun run or a 5K trail run at the Nocatee Greenway Trails. Traditional prizes for the fastest runners in each age class and also prizes for the best costumes will be given. Proceeds from this race benefit St. Augustine Youth Services.

Evergreen Pumpkin Run (Metro North)
October 28 at 8 am
Racers can choose to run a 5K or a 10 mile course at the annual Evergreen Pumpkin Run at the Evergreen Cemetery. The mostly-shaded course is through the cemetery and along Winona Drive and will be lined with pumpkins. Registered runners will receive a long-sleeved race shirt, admission to the post-race celebration and one of the pumpkins that lined the course. Prize money will be awarded to the top three men and women overall. Register online or in person at any 1st Place Sports store.

Monster Dash & Creepy Crawl (St. Augustine)
November 3 at 8 am
This inaugural race, benefiting Haven Hospice, features a 5K and the Kid’s Costume Fun Run at Butler Park in St. Augustine. Registration for the 5K includes a race shirt and admission to the after party, which will feature a costume contest, live music, food, drinks, expo booths, awards ceremony and more. Fun run registration includes food, drink and children’s activities. Registration and sponsorship information can be found at the event website.