Miami Beach

How to do Halloween, avoid Zika, score the best candy

Southside Elementary School kindergartners meet costumed superhero and Disney characters during a pre-Halloween parade on Friday at the Shops at Mary Brickell Village.
Southside Elementary School kindergartners meet costumed superhero and Disney characters during a pre-Halloween parade on Friday at the Shops at Mary Brickell Village.

From fending off Hurricane Matthew to fighting the Zika virus in Miami, this year has been a little crazy. It’s about time we had a fun distraction. So why not take advantage of our sweetest, candy-filled holiday?

Below are a list of tips and tricks for having a spooky and (safe) Halloween:

How to repel mosquitoes in a Zika zone

Miami Beach is still considered a Zika zone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (And Little River is too.)

Lincoln Road vendors and city officials are determined to make the occasion creepy, but crawly-free.

In addition to draining standing water that could be breeding spots for mosquitoes, the city will also be offering bottles of repellent to Lincoln Road patrons, said Melissa Berthier, spokeswoman for Miami Beach.

“We continue taking the issue of Zika seriously,” Berthier said. “It’s important for everyone to collectively fight the bite.”

As such, Lincoln Road storefronts are leaving repellent by the door.

Miami Beach police gave boxes of mosquito wipes on Thursday to the strip’s shops and restaurants, said Cem Onur, owner of Nexxt Cafe on Lincoln Road. Onur said he’s planning on keeping those out by the front door, too.

The owner said he’s not too concerned about mosquitoes dampening Halloween, which he said is always popular.

“Absolutely,” Onur said. “It’s the busiest day for Lincoln Road. It never gets this busy, not even for Thanksgiving or Christmas.”

In the 18 years he’s worked at Nexxt Cafe, Onur said foot traffic often comes to a standstill, and taxis are impossible to find.

“Ever year is always the same,” he said.

Where to go for fun in Miami Beach

Rather than storefronts competing for patrons with blaring music and activities, several businesses got together this Halloween to entertain the 30,000 revelers who visit Lincoln Road for the festivities.

The group effort is part of a special taxing district to raise money and enhance the strip with special events and beautification. The Halloween extravaganza is just one of them.

On All Hallows’ Eve, Lincoln Road will host a night to remember with music, circus performances and dancers. Storefronts will also be under 3D projections of dancing skeletons, larger-than-life ghosts and a giant spider.

Starting at 5 p.m. Monday, children and families can enjoy family-friendly Halloween music, trick-or-treating inside stores, interacting with stilt-walkers and getting their faces painted for free.

But at 8 p.m., the edgy portion of the night will begin: Ten disc jockeys will play music across five stages. The idea is to make patrons feel like they’re walking from one fun experience to the next.

Acrobats and dancers from the local performance troupe Circ X will also circulate throughout the area with pop-up performances. There will also be standing bars along the street selling refreshments to patrons who are of age.

The whole experience will be free and open to the public.

“Lincoln Road is fast becoming the place where the unexpected happens, and this year’s enhanced Halloween celebration is just one example of that. People are going to be amazed by what they see, not only for this one night, but year-round,” Ivannia Van Arman, executive director of the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District, said in a statement.

How to score free transportation

Lyft is offering free rides to select individuals in Miami who choose to star in its Horror Movie Mode. The feature will allow riders to make a five-second movie at their destination on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Passengers will work with a writer and director from 5 Second Films to come up with a script, which will take five to 10 minutes to shoot. Then they will edit and send the film to share on social media.

The best part? It’s all free.

“We love surprising and delighting passengers,” Lyft spokeswoman Mary Caroline Pruitt said.

To see whether Lyft is covering your zone, check out its map online.

How to score the most candy

Halloween is one of the most brotherly days of the year. It’s a day when people emerge from their abodes and greet their neighbors.

But with Halloween falling on Monday this year, children and families may need to figure out the most efficient way to score the goods before bedtime.

Rather than knocking on doors randomly and checking for lights, the mobile app Nextdoor has a quick and easy digital map for candy seekers. It’s called Treat Map.

The application allows neighbors to advertise whether they’re offering candy this year. They can also promote a haunted house. This allows neighbors to map out the quickest and most efficient route.

Because Nextdoor requires users to verify they’re residents before using the app, here’s a demo site so you can check out whether or not Nextdoor is right for you. (The Treat Map is in the upper righthand corner.)

Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez said she’s letting neither Zika nor the Monday blues affect her childrens’ trick-or-treating plans. She said she will arm herself and her daughter, Franny, against Zika by spraying their ankles and necks with repellent.

“Zika or not Zika Zone, we’re going trick-or-treating,” Rosen Gonzalez said.

She said Franny, 13, will be trick-or-treating as Winnie the Pooh with her friends in Lakeview. However, Rosen Gonzalez wasn’t ready to say whether she would accompany her daughter.

“If she lets me go, I’ll tag along, but she may want to ditch me at some point with her cooler friends,” Rosen Gonzalez said jokingly.

To avoid homes of sexual predators, check out your neighborhood on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement site.

Cresonia Hsieh: @cresoniahsieh