It's getting close to that time of year again: Halloween. Jacksonville has no shortage of things to do on Halloween, including haunted houses, celebrations and parties. Consider making one of these events part of your Halloween celebration this year, either in lieu of or in conjunction with taking the kids trick or treating (or going trick or treating yourself).
Join fellow Jacksonvillians and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra for the annual Symphonic Spooktacular. The event features Illusionist Mark O'Brien; the conductor has not yet been announced. Prior to the concert, the JSO is holding "ghoulish games" in the lobby. Adults and children alike are encouraged to wear costumes, although it's not required. The show starts at 3 p.m.; tickets range from $6 to $16.
Haunt Nights are held at Adventure Landing throughout October leading up to Halloween. Haunt Nights includes two haunted houses: Morbid Hotel and Nightmares: Happily Never After. Tickets are $10.99 for children and adults. Regular admission into Adventure Landing is not required. Adventure Landing's haunted houses are not recommended for the faint of heart, ill or elderly, or children under the age of 12.
Night Terrors groups of haunted houses have been selected as some of the scariest in the nation, according to AmericasBestHaunts.com. It features three attractions: Outbreak, Alchemia and Madhouse. Night Terrors uses professionally trained actors. The venue is approximately 30,000 square feet. The group's schedule has yet to be announced. Check the Night Terrors website in the near future for the full schedule, and to buy tickets online.
St. Augustine's Ghost Tours is a year-round event, but there's hardly a better time to check it out than Halloween. The group offers several tours through America's first city's most haunted places. Over the years, a number of participants have captured "ghost" sightings on camera. The group's website keeps a collection of them here.
Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens has been holding its annual Halloween celebration for 24 years. The special takes place from October 20 to 31, and features trick or treating, candy, music, food and three "scary zones" not intended for the faint of heart. Spooktacular begins each night at 6:30 p.m. and ends around 9 p.m. Tickets are $8 for Zoo members and $10 for non-members.