SIKESTON -- With Halloween just around the corner, there are plenty of events -- both spooky and family-friendly -- to help people celebrate the holiday.
Coming up Saturday is the Sikeston Historic Midtown Development Group's third annual Halloween Family Fun Day.
"It's just an excuse for families to get out on a Saturday and enjoy one of the last nice weekends we have," said Brandon Kuehn, executive director of the group. "It's a carnival-like atmosphere, but more of a festival for the kids."
Set to take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Malone Park, the day will feature costume contests for pets and children, story time with the Sikeston Public Library, face painting, concessions, games, pony rides, hayrides and a petting zoo. Craft vendors will also be set up, according to Kuehn.
"It's very laid back," he said. The costume contest, he said, will give children another chance to wear their gear -- as well as have the chance to win some prizes.
The Sikeston Jaycees also have family in mind while finishing final preparations for their Haunted Hayride. Back for the second year after a 10 or so year hiatus, Barry Johnson, a Jaycee who is the chair of the event this year, said it is bigger and better this year.
"We've added a few more scenes -- last year, there were nine and this year, there are 17," said Johnson. A few of the scenes are the same, but most, such as the vortex tunnel, are new.
"It's taking a lot of guys to throw it together and a lot of man hours," said Johnson. "There's a lot of engineering and building."
Johnson said the response to the hayride last year was quite positive. "We were very surprised because both nights, we had lines all the way out to the roads," he said.
Although parts of the tour, which includes a walk-through haunted house and half-mile hayride, are quite scary, it is for families, said Johnson. "It's scary enough for adults, but not too scary that the kids will be haunted for life," he said.
The Jaycees are also spooking for a good cause. All proceeds from the event will be put into the Jaycee's general fund, which is divided amongst area charities at the end of the year.
Tours will be from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the rodeo grounds. Cost is $3 for children and $4 for adults.
New to Sikeston this year is a Haunted House in the May Brothers Enterprises Building, the former location of Lambert's Cafe.
"We've put a lot of work into it," said Garrett May, who is in charge of the haunted house along with his brother, Gavin.
The Haunted House includes 10 scenes with inspiration from movies and other haunted houses the brothers have attended. It takes about 15 minutes to walk through, and has already been open for two weekends.
"Everybody that's come through here has really seemed to enjoy it," said May. "And each weekend, it has gotten bigger and bigger."
Tours will be from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, as well as Oct. 30 and 31. Cost is $6 per person.
Another new attraction to the area this year is Phobia Farm, a theme park-caliber haunt attraction at Beggs Family Farm in Blodgett. A walk-through haunt, each scene of the 15-room haunt has its own scents and sounds, according to farm operator Donnie Beggs.
The haunt tells a story and the background is available at www.phobiafarm.com. Tours will be from 6 to 11 p.m. Oct. 23-25 and Oct. 30, 31 and Nov. 1. Cost is $15, and no one under 10 will be admitted, while 10 to 13-year-olds must be accompanies by an adult.
Beggs Family Farm will continue to offer activities it has in the past several years including a corn maze and other activities for children and adults. It is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 1, and cost is $9 per person. For more, go to www.beggsfamilyfarm.com or call 471-3879.
Other upcoming Halloween-related events include:
* A Halloween party from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Eagles Club. Open to the public, proceeds will benefit the club's children charity for child abuse.
Children up to 12 years of age can take part in games, a cake walk and vie for prizes awarded for the best-dressed, prettiest and scariest costumes. The cost is $2 per person for food.
* The Portageville Rural Fire Department Association's Haunted Inn, which raises funds for equipment used by volunteers, is open 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and 7 to midnight Saturday, as well as Halloween. Tickets are $8 per person, with tours lasting 30 to 45 minutes. There is a free session for youngsters from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31, when they are invited to wear costumes and see the scenes with the lights on. It is located just off the Interstate 55 ramp on Highway 162.
* The Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores will have trick-or-treating for children from 4 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31 at all stores.