31 Best Halloween Events in the Sarasota Area 2019
October 24, 2019
Get ready for Halloween! First, visit Big Jim Self Storage to retrieve your stored costumes and decorations. Then, go out and have some fun! Following is a great Sarasota Herald-Tribune article that reviews the 31 best Halloween events in Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice-Punta Gorda.
From scary to family-friendly, our picks for top Halloween events in Sarasota and Manatee counties
Halloween’s just around the corner, but have no fear if you haven’t made plans yet. From trick-or-treating and other family-friendly activities to haunted houses and parties for the older crowd, there’s plenty of fun local events going on.
Here are the biggest, best and most fun Halloween happenings in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties.
Haunted Sarasota Tours
Discover Sarasota Tours ramps up for Halloween with a tour about the city’s colorful haunted history dubbed “Haunted Sarasota: Mummies, Murder & Mayhem!” The tour debuted last month, and many dates have been added now through Halloween, with prizes given every night for best costume. Today-Thursday and then every Friday at 8 p.m.; DST Trolley Depot, 1826 Fourth St. Sarasota; 941-260-9818.
Halloween Trail Carnival
Participate in games, trick-or-treating and a costume contest around the walking trail of the Arlington Park & Aquatic Complex at this event presented by The City of Sarasota’s Parks & Recreation District. The event is free and geared toward families. 5-7 p.m. Friday; Arlington Park & Aquatic Complex, 2650 Waldemere St., Sarasota; 941-554-2110.
Haunting on the Harbor
This 6,000-square-foot haunted house also features a festival with live music, Halloween party, and costume contests. 5-11 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Oct. 31; 7-10 p.m. haunted house only Sunday; 115 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda; $15 adults, $10 children 6-11, $20 fast pass (haunted house), free festival.
Clancy’s Halloween Party
Clancy’s, atop St. Patrick’s Day destination in Manatee County, also goes all out for this month’s big holiday with its 19th annual Halloween party featuring a costume contest ($500 in cash and prizes), “insane drink specials” and live music. 6 p.m. Friday; Clancy’s Irish Sports Pub & Grill; 6218 Cortez Road W., Bradenton; 941-794-2489.
The annual event features a costume contest, balloon artist, dancers and treats, so kids should bring their trick-or-treat bags. 6-9 p.m. Friday; Lakewood Ranch Main Street, 8100 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch; 941-757-1530.
Crowley Museum & Nature Center hosts this family-friendly event with stories about Sasquatch and paranormal encounters, UFO sky-searching, attempts to communicate to spirits and ghosts and more. 6-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; Crowley Museum & Nature Center, 16405 Myakka Road, Sarasota; $15 per night, $100 VIP weekend camping; 941-322-1000.
Eerie Evenings at Historic Spanish Point
Historic Spanish Point celebrates the holiday with tours of its houses, mounds, and cemetery, with paranormal investigations by the Paranormal Society of Bradenton. 7, 8 and 9 p.m. Friday; Historic Spanish Point, 337 N. Tamiami Trail, Osprey; $25, $20 members; 941-966-5214.
Oscar Scherer State Park hosts this event featuring a haunted house and “scary trail.” Neither are suitable for young children, but there is a trick-or-treat trail for them with candy and activities. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; Oscar Scherer State Park, 1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey; $10, $5 ages 6-12, free five and under; 941-483-5956.
Escape Reality Sarasota costume contest
Escape Reality Sarasota will celebrate the launch of their new Area 941 escape room (based on the real Area 51 & some silly people tried to storm) with a costume contest where everyone who dresses up will automatically get $5 off VR games or tickets to Area 941. There will also be science-fiction trivia and more fun activities. 8-11 p.m. Friday; Escape Reality Sarasota, 1900 Main Street, Suite 104, Sarasota; 941-444-6766.
Raffurty’s Halloween Party and Costume Contest
The two-floor downtown Sarasota bar throws a Halloween party with a costume contest featuring $1,000 in cash prizes at midnight and DJs all night long. 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Friday; Raffurty’s Bar and Grill, 1888 Main St., Sarasota; 941-260-5285.
Boo Run 5K and Boo Dash
The 16th annual family-friendly race features a costume concert with awards for funniest, most creative, best couple, and best under ten years old. 5-11 a.m. Saturday; Lakewood Ranch Main Street, 8100 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch; $11-$40.
Howl’ween Pet Parade
Put the spotlight on your Halloween-costumed pooches during the annual Howl’ ween Pet Parade, held during the Downtown Bradenton Farmers’ Market. There will be prizes for several categories, including Best Pet Costume and Best Dog/Owner Costume Combo. This event is presented by the Friends of Manatee County Animal Services and Manatee County Animal Services with our own Wade Tatangelo and his wife Kristin Tatangelo, of Kristin’s Paws in Paradise, serving as judges. 10 a.m. Saturday; Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton; $5 minimum suggested donation to enter.
Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary is hosting a kid-friendly Wild-O-Ween Halloween weekend including contests, wild animal encounter shows, face-painting, and trick-or-treating throughout the habitat. Noon-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, 7101 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota; $18 adults, $8 children; 941-371-6377.
Halloween Block Party
Gator Club’s 15th annual block party features music from 22N, Johnny Diamond and DJ Ryan, Smokin Momma Lora’s BBQ and Funky Fusion food trucks and two costume contests, benefiting Designing Daughters. 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday; The Gator Club, 1490 Main St., Sarasota; 941-366-5969.
Haunted Souls Mansion
Soul Studios hosts a haunted house for those eight years old and up, with a dance party for those five or older and light refreshments served. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday; Soul Studios, 3303 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota; $10 cash only; 941-955-4444.
Recently reopened Bradenton country music nightclub Joyland also brings back its annual Halloween event, with a costume contest offering $3,000 in cash. There will also be live music by The Voodoo Cowboyz, with 92.1 CTQ’s Maverick hosting. 7 p.m. Saturday; Joyland, 5520 14th St. W., Bradenton; $10 advance, $15 day of; 941-226-1629.
A Night to Dismember
Oddity Tattoo celebrates the opening of its new University Town Center location with a Halloween party and art show featuring work from more than 30 artists, along with a costume contest with over $500 in prizes, food from Mouthole BBQ and drinks from Big Top Brewing Company and O & A Coffee. Oddity Tattoo on University, 6307 Center Ring Road, Sarasota; 941-358-6338.
‘Stranger Things’ Halloween Party
Dress in your favorite ’80s garb and head into the Upside Down for this party inspired by the hit Netflix series, with $1,000 in cash and prizes awarded to the evening’s scariest, sexiest and most original costumes. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday and Oct. 31; Beach Club Siesta Key, 5151 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key; 941-349-6311.
Mattison’s Halloween costume contest
Mattison’s City Grille in Downtown Sarasota (1 N. Lemon Ave.) and Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille in Downtown Bradenton (101 Riverfront Blvd.) will be hosting their annual Halloween costume contest with multiple categories and gift card prizes valued at up to $100. Judging starts at 10 p.m. in Sarasota, where the band Shift Change will be performing, and 9 p.m. in Bradenton, which will be hosting a performance by Lisa Ridings Band. Contestants are encouraged to get to the restaurants early so diners can see their costumes.
Black Diamond Burlesque’s Halloween Show
Sarasota’s premier burlesque revue, Black Diamond Burlesque, presents “Ghost Stories: Things That Go Bump & Grind in the Night” in the Grove grand ballroom with striptease, feats of daring and tales of local hauntings and scandals. 7:30 p.m. Saturday; Grove Restaurant, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch; $30 general admission, VIP sold out.
Spooktacular at Selby Gardens
The daytime, family-friendly Halloween event features trick-or-treating, pumpkin decorating, educational activities, and scarier (but not too scary) options. 10 a.m.-noon Sunday; Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota; free with admission ($20 adults, $10 children 4-17, free members/3 and under); 941-366-5731.
NBP Trick Or Treat On The Lake
The inaugural NBP Trick Or Treat On The Lake will feature family-friendly fun including movies on the big screen, games, and food, and it’s all free. Also, for the second year in a row, the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance has built a hay maze for the little kids to help celebrate the Halloween and Thanksgiving season. 6-8 p.m. Tuesday; Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota; 941-358-7275.
THURSDAY, OCT. 31
Siesta Key Safe Treats
Participating North and South Siesta Key merchants displaying balloons give out treats, with free rides offered on the Siesta Key Breeze Trolley in a continuous loop between Siesta Village and Turtle Beach. 3-6 p.m. Oct. 31; Siesta Key; 941-349-3800.
Ellenton Premium Outlets
Costumed children younger than 12 are invited to join Ellenton Premium Outlets for a center-wide trick-or-treating event from participating retailers. Stop by the photo booth located inside Under Armour to snap a free picture of “a very special superhero” and stop by Tommy Hilfiger to meet another superhero. All trick-or-treaters will also receive some special treats with parents encouraged to look at their treat bags too to see if they are winners of a $20 gift card. 4-6 p.m. Oct. 31, Ellenton Premium Outlets, 5461 Factory Shops Blvd., Ellenton.
Children’s Halloween Parade in Downtown Venice
Here’s a chance for children to show off their costumes to the delight of spectators, parents, and grandparents as they participate in a parade down Venice Avenue, led by the Lions Club of Venice Float and members. The Venice Lions Club has proudly sponsored this event for 61 years, and more than 500 children are expected to receive candy treats from Lions Club members. Following the brief parade, children will be free to trick-or-treat for more goodies at stores along the avenues. 4:30 p.m. Oct. 31; Centennial Park, 200 W. Venice Ave., Venice; free; 941-484-6722.
Main Street Live
Downtown Bradenton’s free block party concert series Main Street Live returns for the 2019-20 season with a special Halloween edition, with attendees encouraged to wear costumes while enjoying live music by T.L. Jentgens. Old Main Street will be filled with food trucks and other vendors, plus all the bars, pubs and restaurants along the road are open for business as usual. 5 p.m.-midnight Oct. 31; Old Main Street, Bradenton; free admission.
Dearborn Street Halloween Safe Walk
The 24th annual trick-or-treating event also features live music, a pumpkin patch photo prop, and pet costume contest. 5-7 p.m. Oct. 31; Dearborn Street, Englewood.
Village of the Arts Trick-or-Treat
The colorful Village of the Arts neighborhood features trick-or-treating, with residents and businesses passing out treats. 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31; Village of the Arts, 1113 12th St. W., Bradenton.
Fright Night on St. Armands
The annual event features decorated storefronts, frightening characters, trick-or-treating, and more. No performance of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” though: that was retired after last year’s 10th-anniversary event. 6-8:30 p.m. Oct. 31; St. Armands Circle; 941-388-1554.
Haunted Mansion Halloween Party
Restaurant and rooftop bar Sage, housed in the historic Sarasota Times building, turns into a haunted mansion for Halloween with live band MeteorEYES and DJ music, fire-breathers, sword-swallowers, ghouls and more. The party is in collaboration with The Overton, with a trolley between the two being offered from 8-10 p.m. 7 p.m.-midnight Oct. 31; Sage, 1216 First St., Sarasota; $30, $50 both venues; 941-445-5660.
Haunted Halloween Tour at the Players Centre
The Players Centre for Performing Arts, Sarasota’s longest-running theater established in 1929, will present its second annual Haunted Halloween Tour featuring ghost-hunting with the Paranormal Society of Bradenton, psychic readings with Michael Newton-Brown, adult beverages and more. 11 p.m. Oct. 31; The Players Centre For Performing Arts, 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $10 advance, $15 at the door; 941-365-2494.