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Get your thrills -- and chills

Halloween events include non-scary festivals and, more commonly, frightening gatherings.

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 27, 2000

Here are some haunted happenings, Halloween alternatives and festivals going on in Hernando County this week:

The ninth annual Ethnic Festival at St. Joan of Arc Church will be held through Sunday at the church, 13485 Spring Hill Drive. The event features ethnic foods, entertainment and carnival rides. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. today; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. For information, call 688-0663, ext. 24.

Halloween Party, 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Disabled American Veterans facility, 16314 Cortez Blvd. This event is for ages 14 and younger. There will be a haunted house, games, prizes, costume contest and munchies. Sponsored by the DAV and DAVA. 796-1679. The seventh annual Halloween Haunted Trail will be open today through Monday at the Spring Hill Civic Center's Nature Trail, at the end of Kenlake Avenue in Spring Hill. Trail hours are 8 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday and Monday. The event is sponsored by the West Hernando Jaycees and Professional Firefighters of Spring Hill. Cost is $3 for adults, $1.50 for children. Hot dogs and soda are $1. Proceeds benefit Hernando County charities.

The 11th annual Haunted House and Halloween Bash will be held Saturday, Monday and Tuesday at the Hernando Park Community Activity Center, 205 E Fort Dade Ave., Brooksville. This year's events include a pumpkin carving contest, costumes, games and entertainment. Admission is free. For information, call 754-4031.

Hernando Beach will have a Halloween party for children through age 11 at 10 a.m. Saturday at VFW Post 9236 on Shoal Line Boulevard. There will be costume contests for three age groups, with prizes. Sheriff's deputies and the Hernando Beach Fire Department will present safety programs. There will be a cake sale with proceeds to benefit the VFW National Children's Home. The event is free. For information, call 596-9236 or 666-5468.

A Brooksville church will have a free community picnic/country festival (Halloween alternative) from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday. First Baptist of Garden Grove is at 18131 Stromberg Ave., off Broad Street across from Spring Hill Drive. Children are encouraged to wear costumes but not dress like vampires, witches, etc. There will be free food, gospel music, games, a cake walk, door prizes, candy and more. 796-4000 or 848-6211. Spring Hill Church of the Nazarene's Halloween alternative will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the church, 9600 Century Drive, Spring Hill. There will be candy, games, apple bobbing and a costume contest. No ghouls, devils, witches, etc. 683-1945. Pasco County Parks & Recreation's Scream Acres Halloween Event will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. today, Saturday and Sunday, J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park, 10500 Wilderness Park Road, New Port Richey. The cabin area has become a spooky hanted village filled with ghosts and goblins -- and candy. Bring flashlights. Brian, (727) 942-7439 or (727) 934-4198..

Whispering Meadows Equestrian Center will have a haunted barn complete with an 1867 horse-drawn hearse from 7 to 10 p.m. today through Tuesday. The cost is $4 per person. For younger visitors, the ranch offers a horse-drawn hayride into the pumpkin patch, where visitors can stop and feed goats, ostriches and four-horned Jacob sheep. The ride to the self-serve pumpkin patch is free and runs through Tuesday. Hours for the hayride are 1 to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Pumpkins range from $3 to $8. Whispering Meadows is at 20930 County Line Road in Spring Hill just west of Cortez Boulevard. For information, call 799-9505.

Weeki Wachee Spring will hold Wacky Witchery Night today and Saturday at the water park at Cortez Boulevard and Commercial Way. Visitors can take a stroll through the haunted forest, see an underwater ghoul revue and take home a bag of candy. Hours are 7-11 p.m. and admission is $6.95 for adults, $5.95 for children ages 3 to 10, and free for children younger than 3 and annual pass holders. For information, call 596-2062.

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