Zoo Boo

Danielle and Leighton Burton collect a bag of treats at the Texas Zoo’s Zoo Boo in 2017. "They were excited to come to the zoo," said their mother Janna Vlasin. This caption was updated Oct. 24, 2019 to correct the mother's name.

The Crossroads will offer a ghoulishly grand array of ways for families to make spooky but safe Halloween memories in the Crossroads.

Cultural events with a thrilling twist include the Victoria Symphony Orchestra’s Symphonic Spooktacular, a Literary Haunted House at Texian Books, and Calavera Mask-Coloring for Dia de los Muertos at the Victoria Public Library.

A witch’s cauldron is boiling over with offerings for traditional Halloween and fall fun in the Crossroads. A few bubbles in the brew include Trunk or Treat hosted by the Southside Community Coalition, Zoo Boo at the Texas Zoo and the Fall Pumpkin Patch at Outlaw Pass.

6:30 p.m. Thursday, Victoria Fine Arts Center

Children and adults alike are encouraged to get into the Halloween spirit by wearing costumes to the Victoria Symphony Orchestra’s Symphonic Spooktacular. Members of the orchestra will pluck and graze their instrument strings, blow their horns and bang their drums in full costume at the event that has been a Victoria family tradition for more than 20 years. This year, the theme of the hour-long concert is “Con Brio,” which means “with fire.” Appropriately, a fire performer and stilt walker will light up the stage along with dancers from the Victoria Ballet Theatre. Tickets are $5 for students and children, and $7 for adults online and at the door.

5-8 p.m. Saturday, Texian Books, 408 W. Forrest St.

Crossroads residents can put those costumes to good use again at the Literary Haunted House at Texian Books in downtown Victoria. The kid-friendly haunted house will be in the garage apartment area located behind the bookstore.

In splashes of light provided by a strobe light, they will encounter bookstore employees and recruits dressed as characters from horror and thriller novels. Old standbys like Freddy Krueger will be supplanted by Pennywise the Clown from “It” and the creepy twins from “The Shining,” all characters from Stephen King novels.

They will find their way to the bookstore where friendly faces, pizza, candy and other refreshments will greet them. The guest who names the most characters in the haunted house along with the books to which they belong will win a Texian gift card. And the child with the best costume also will win credit in the bookstore.

4-6 p.m. Sunday, F.W. Gross Parking Lot

The Southside Community Coalition will host its first Trunk or Treat event in the parking lot of F.W. Gross School. Cars will park and pop their candy-laden trunks decked out in Halloween décor. DJ Joey Sandoval will spin his web of tunes while children collect treats and partake in games and other activities provided at the various stops.

“The point of this is to breathe life into that area. It’s a welcoming neighborhood and a safe place for kids to have fun,” said Justin Urbano, president of the coalition established about one year ago. “Last year, there were absolutely no kids trick-or-treating in the neighborhood.”

Face-painting and a costume contest also are part of the plan for the fun-filled end to the weekend.

4-7:30 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Sunday; Outlaw Pass, 78 Tate Road

The Fall Pumpkin Patch will flourish all weekend at Outlaw Pass. Children can purchase their favorite pumpkin in the patch and proceed to paint its rind. They can climb up a giant tractor tire and jump into piles of soft, billowy hay on either side. And they can paint monster rocks and paste decorations to them.

A rustic pickup truck and old tractor will provide ideal fall backdrops for parents wanting the create photo memories for their families. And the center already is a virtual cornucopia of fun for children with miniature golf, go-karts, a rock-climbing wall and 35 “brand new” video games. And then there’s pizza.

10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 110 Memorial Drive

The 35th annual Zoo Boo will see a steady stream of smiling children in disguise. They will play games and collect candy from booths set up by local businesses. And the zoo will provide ladder toss and corn hole games.

Children can purchase small pumpkins for painting for $3. Raffle tickets for a chance to win a Family Pack Pass will cost $1. A decorated patch on the zoo grounds will provide a free fall backdrop for photos with some of the zoo’s animal ambassadors.

Costumes will be sized up at 12:15 p.m. both days in contests for two groups, ages 7 and younger and ages 8 to 18. The winners will leave with a prize from the zoo gift shop and the highly coveted right to brag.

4:30 p.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 31, Victoria Public Library, 302 N. Main St.

On Halloween, the Victoria Public Library will host a Calavera mask-coloring event in the afternoon. Decorating skull masks will provide a creative escape for children and adults in preparation for the Dia de los Muertos block party in downtown Victoria on Nov. 2. Dia de Los Muertos is a day for remembering the departed to help them on their spiritual journeys.

Elena Anita Watts covers arts, culture and entertainment for the Victoria Advocate. 

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