Ghost stories? Check.
Haunted mansions? Check.
Crazy cat ladies and gnomes on the moon? Check, and check.
Halloween in South Florida is both spooky and kooky this year, with ghoulish encounters, blasts from the past and kid-friendly events in store. Here are some events that will keep your hair raised throughout the weekend.
Spooktober at Zoo Miami
At Zoo Miami, there’s a little something for everyone — parents, kids, even the tigers.
It all starts with Dr. Wilde’s Creepy House, open now through Halloween Day.
“It’s pretty creepy,” said zoo spokesman Ron Magill. “There’s some really frightening things in there and some disgusting things in there.”
Prepare to meet your worst fear at Dr. Wilde’s, for every room in the haunted house has its own theme. Plain old monsters don’t send chills down your spine? Don’t worry, there’s either a demented butcher, a crazed cat lady or a ravenous zombie waiting just around the corner. And for the germaphobes? A roach-infested kitchen and grotesque bathroom await.
Magill assures that nobody leaves the haunted house without screaming at least once, and although he says, “I wouldn’t bring my 6-year-old kid into it,” he’s seen some daring young ones brave it before.
Dr. Wilde’s will be open during Spooky Zoo Nights, an after-hours Halloween event on Friday and Saturday. Families can take spooky tram rides, ghoulish carousel rides and listen to chilling stories around a fire pit.
And for the younger ones, there’s Zoo Boo on Saturday and Sunday during the day. Children 12 and under can trick-or-treat in costumes and make arts and crafts while learning about wildlife.
Naturally, the animals also get in on the fun.
“Tigers don’t like pumpkins, but they love the meat we jam into the pumpkins,” Magill said. “So the tigers tear into the pumpkins we give them.”
Spooktober at Zoo Miami, 1 Zoo Boulevard, 12400 SW 152nd St., Miami. now through Oct. 31. Spooky Zoo nights: Oct 26 and 27, 7 - 11 p.m., $10.95/person admission, $9.95 for zoo members. Zoo Boo: Oct 27 and 28, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., general zoo admission is $15.95 per adult and $11.95 per child (ages 3 – 12) plus tax. Children under two, Zoological Society of Florida members, and parking are free. Dr. Wilde’s Creepy House: Now thru Oct 31, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., $5/person (not included with the regular zoo admission). Call 305-251-0400 .
Halloween at Miami Children’s Museum
For kids with an artistic streak, the Miami Children’s Museum offers art gallery trick-or-treating and a variety of arts and crafts activities throughout the week where kids can get wicked with slime, have fun with Glinda the Good Witch’s bubbles or create their own Picasso portraits.
In the Science Lab, kids can experiment with touch boxes that hold creepy objects like “monsters eyeballs” or “brains.” Spooky surprises lie behind each wall in the maze-like haunted house, but even the littlest member of the family will be able to enjoy them.
“The experience is adapted to meet the audience,” museum CEO Deborah Spiegelman said.
Sunday will be another Halloween Bash, followed by Monster Monday and Tarantula Tuesday. The celebration will culminate with Wicked Wednesday on Halloween Day. The museum’s galleries will be open during the festivities.