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MyerHouseWith Halloween fast approaching, ghosts and goblins taking to the streets in search of sweet treats may find a pirate’s booty of candy at this house, which has been transformed into a swashbuckler’s lair, boasting a ship’s steering wheel and a pirate graveyard among its many decorations.

ALACHUA COUNTY – Little feet hit pavement. Candy falls in pillowcases. Shrieks and shouts echo throughout streets. Costumes billow in the wind.

Halloween is the one night of the year when you can transform into someone, or something, else. What better way to spend it than with friends and neighbors?

Whether you have a child dressed to the nines in a costume, or you feel like blowing your diet on sweet candy and becoming a child for a night, there are plenty of activities throughout the area to make an unforgettable Halloween.  And with Halloween falling on Monday, places to go and things to do are springing up all week, into the weekend and culminating on the 31st.

To get into a festive mood, come out to the Alachua Historical Society’s Walking Tour of Alachua’s Main Street on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Participants will gather in front of the Alachua Woman’s Club on the south end of Main Street to begin the journey. Each step will lead guests to a new Halloween destination, where shops and restaurants will be giving out candy to each visitor, and brightly decorated scarecrows hang from each lamppost.

Take on ghouls and ghosts when walking through the spooky haunted house sponsored by the Alachua Police Explorers. For just $2 for adults and $1 for kids, explore a house that has surprises around every corner.  The haunted house will also be open Saturday night and Halloween night until 10 p.m.

There will also be free horse-drawn carriage rides up and down Main Street until 9 p.m. on Friday. Golf carts will be available for those who can’t walk the whole street.

It’s the pirate’s life for one Alachua family who has been walking the planks… of wooden floors, that is.  Decorating the Historic Meyer House on Alachua’s Main Street has been months in the making.  Complete with a pirate graveyard and a ship steering wheel, the Historic Meyer House is expected to welcome upwards of 3,000 trick-or-treaters on Oct. 31.

But trick-or-treating can be fun anywhere, even from the trunk of a car.

The Abiding Savior Lutheran Church is hosting a Trunk-or-Treat event, where families can collect candy from the trunks of decorated cars.

Kids will show off their cute costumes, goodies will be shared with everyone, and hotdogs, chips and soda will be sold for dinner.

The event, hosted on Halloween night from 5 to 7 p.m., is located at the church and is a safe environment for everyone to enjoy.  The address is 9700 W Newberry Road in Gainesville.

Animals are even getting into the Halloween spirit, and they will be celebrating with visitors at Boo at the Zoo, a trick-or-treating event at the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo.

Families can play games, win prizes and visit 12 candy stations staffed by costumed zookeepers in the clearing in front of the zoo. Costumes are encouraged, and decorations among the different parts of the zoo will create the holiday atmosphere.

The event typically attracts 6,000 people, according the event’s website. Admission to Boo at the Zoo is a donation of one can of food that goes to local food banks. To be admitted into the zoo, visitors ages 4 and up pay $3, while visitors 3 and under are free.

The zoo’s hours will be extended on Halloween, and visitors may enjoy the festivities from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  The zoo is located at 3000 NW 83rd Street in Gainesville.

While exploring the zoo and succumbing to the temptation of a sweet tooth, guests can also learn about sustainable living. The Gainesville chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council is holding the event Green Halloween concurrently with Boo at the Zoo.

Games, prizes and educational activities that promote green lifestyles will be available to entertain and teach children of all ages about the environment.

Leading up to Halloween, a surefire child pleaser is the First United Methodist Church of Alachua’s 11th annual Pumpkin Patch, located on U.S. Highway 441 just north of Hitchcock’s Market in Alachua.  The patch is open for business Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 12 noon to 9 p.m.  Pumpkins of every size and shape are available, along with gourds.

A huge event not to be missed is Alachua’s Trick-or-Treat on Main Street on Halloween night from 6 – 8 p.m., with a costume contest at 7 pm.  Sponsored by the Alachua Chamber of Commerce and the City of Alachua, Main Street businesses stay open to hand out treats to everyone in costume, and the event has become a much anticipated community celebration.

No matter the event, costume or chocolate bar of choice, Halloween is sure to be a time to remember.