Increased sightings of pumpkins and scarecrows confirm that fall has arrived in St. Johns County.
Each year in October, individuals, churches and organizations host family-friendly events to celebrate Halloween and the arrival of fall.
Here’s a look at some of the creative, fun and scary happenings around town this season.
SYKES FAMILY FARMS CROP MAZE: 6 to10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; Sykes Family Farms, 5995 Brough Road, Elkton; General admission $13. children 2 and under free, seniors (65 and older), military (with ID) $11. For information, call 904-692-1370.
The nine-acre maze is the main attraction at Sykes Family Farms, but there are also other fun fall activities including hayrides, playgrounds, races, viewing of farm animals and snack vendors.
RYPE & READI PUMPKIN PATCH: Patch open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, pumpkin paintings 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday; Rype & Readi downtown farm market, 115 La Quinta Place; prices vary per pumpkin, painting $3 plus pumpkin purchase. For information, call904-429-3070.
HAUNTED BARN: Spooktacularly Scary Nights 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday; Rype & Readi downtown farm market,115 La Quinta Place; $5 plus two cans of food. Rype & Readi will have canned goods available for purchase, which can be used for admission, in their downtown market. For information, call 904-429-3070.
The historic Colee Stables will bedecked out and transformed into a haunted barn with a scary graveyard, gory scenes and jump scares. It is also a canned food drive, with each night of the event benefiting a different local charity.
DARK SIDE TOUR: 7:30 p.m. Friday; Departs from Tour St. Augustine, 4 Granada St.; $20 per person; advance reservations required. Call 904-825-0087.
The family-friendly tour tells stories about the original Halloween and explains how beloved Halloween customs began, from bonfires to jack-o-lanterns to trick-or-treating in costumes. The guide also shares stories of the dark side of St. Augustine’s past while exploring back alleys downtown.
PARANORMAL INVESTIGATIONS: 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday; meets at Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, 14 St. George St.; $59 per person. For information, call 904-829-1122.
Those who dare will have special access to some of the ancient city’s most historic haunts in old homes, museums, inns, taverns, the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse and sacred grounds. The 1 ¾ hour tour will offer the use of paranormal investigation equipment.
ORIGINS OF HALLOWEEN AND TALES OFST. AUGUSTINE’S DARK SIDE TOUR: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26; Tour St. Augustine,4 Granada St.; $20 per person; for reservations, call 825-0087.
Explore the stories of how many of our present-day Halloween customs began — bonfires, jack-o-lanterns, costumes and masks, trick-or-treating and more. The family-friendly evening tour will feature enchanting stories on the history, myths and legends of the original Halloween, also known as Samhain — the Celtic New Year.
HOWL-O-WEEN WALK: 2 to 4 pm. Sunday, Oct. 21; Treaty Park, 1595 Wildwood Drive; $20 per person/dog team; call 669-6612 to register.
Costumes are strongly encouraged for both dogs and their humans. The best dog costume and best team costume will be awarded a prize. Dog supplies will be collected and donated to the St. Johns County Animal Control Pet Center.
CREATURES OF THE NIGHT: 5:30 to 7 p.m., Oct. 26–28; St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, 999 Anastasia Blvd.; $10 for adults and $8 for children ages 2–11.
Join the wild side for three nights of treats, costumes and fun. Meet eerie bugs and beasts during this hands-on experience while collecting creepy creature cards around the park.
ESTUSCARY FESTIVAL & HAUNTEDFOREST TRAIL: 6 p.m. Oct. 26–27; GTM Research Reserve, 505 Guana River Road.
Admission to the festival is free. Held at the GTM Research Reserve Visitor Center, the festival includes kid-friendly booths, candy, popcorn, food truck and games. Haunted Forest Tours are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. For reservations, go to gtmnerr.org.