Tots & Teens: Lantana to scare up Halloween fun at haunted Nature Preserve

The path at the Lantana Nature Preserve will feature all sorts of haunted characters for the town’s fifth annual Halloween party on Oct. 25. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

By Janis Fontaine

Lantana has a commitment to bringing family-friendly events and activities to its 12,000 residents that are as good as any around. The “Enjoy Lantana” events have included Winterfest, Movies at the Beach, the Easter Egg Hunt at Maddock Park and the July Fourth celebration at Bicentennial Park.

But one of its most popular free events is the Haunted Nature Trail, a Halloween party at the Lantana Nature Preserve at 440 E. Ocean Ave. This year’s event is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 25.

The front of the 6½-acre preserve becomes a harvest festival and another portion is turned into a haunted trail with live actors ready to scare up Halloween fun. Lantana has hosted the Haunted Nature Trail since 2015. “The event is really fun,” said Nadine Shawah, parks and recreation coordinator. “The trail is fun, too, even for adults.”

The front of the preserve is a fall festival with a DJ dance party, kids carnival games (with prizes), a hayride, trick-or-treating and other entertainment geared toward younger kids. The all-ages costume contest, which has a $25 prize, will also be in the harvest festival area.

Shawah said the fall festival is great for younger kids, but the haunted trail part is probably too scary for children younger than 10. But the older kids will definitely be drawn deeper into the preserve, where the shadows aren’t just shadows and the howling isn’t from the wind. Participants are encouraged to stick close to their guide and not lose track of friends and family along the way.

OK, so it’s not that scary. This is a family event. The costumes are frightening especially in the dim light, but there are no weapons and no blood, and no one touches any of the guests. The event doesn’t use any strobe lights, which can trigger reactions like migraines or seizures in some people, and all volunteers are carefully screened.

The Haunted Nature Trail uses about two-thirds of the preserve. Participants can park in the nearby Lantana Beach lot. Handicapped parking is available near the Carlisle senior living facility next door, in town-designated spaces.

Volunteers are still needed. Call 540-5754 or email

If You Go...
What: Haunted trail
When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 25
Where: Lantana Nature Preserve, 400 E. Ocean Ave.
Admission: Free

Other Halloween events...

Fright Nights at the South Florida Fairgrounds — Oct. 11-12, Oct. 17-19, Oct. 24-26 and Oct. 31-Nov. 2, South Florida Fairgrounds, 9067 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach. Four terrifying haunts, plus midway rides, scare zones, games, live entertainment by local bands or DJs and performers. Go to to learn about ticket packages.

Spookyville — Oct. 18-20, Oct. 25-27 and Oct. 31, Yesteryear Village at the South Florida Fairgrounds, 9067 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach. This non-scary Halloween is designed for kids ages 10 and younger. Trick-or-treat your way through Yesteryear Village, where costumed volunteers offer treats at historic buildings. Play games, ride the train, stop in the candy shop, make a spooky craft, get a glitter tattoo, enjoy live music, explore the pumpkin patch. Wear your costume and compete for prizes on both Sundays. Food and drink vendors will be on site. Cost is $10 and includes trick-or-treating, contests and activities. Free for ages 2 and younger. Hours: 5-9 p.m. Fridays and Halloween, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Boo at the Zoo! — 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Oct. 18-20 and Oct. 25-27, Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, 1301 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach. Entertainment, crafts, costume contest, animal encounters.

Shriek Week — Oct. 18-19 and 24-26, Sugar Sand Park, 300 S. Military Trail, Boca Raton. Opens 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 5 p.m. Thursday, a night designed for younger kids. Haunted houses, blacklight game room, family activities, trick-or-treating, animal shows, carnival games, glitter tattoos, inflatable maze, magic shows, Mystery Marketplace. 347-3948 or for event and ticket info.

Boca Pumpkin Patch Festival at Mizner Park — 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 19-20, Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. More than 2,500 pumpkins, plus games and activities, carnival rides, a cornstalk maze, a dress-your-own scarecrow village, a pumpkin-decorating craft, a pumpkin food court. $20. Free for kids younger than 2.

Lake Worth Beach Zombie 1K Run — 5:30 p.m. Oct. 25, Bryant Park, Lake Avenue at Golfview Road. $15. Register through Oct. 18 by going to For more info, call 260-7593 or email

Kidsfest and Halloween Festivities 2019 — 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 26, Delray Beach. Includes parade, trick-or-treating on Atlantic Avenue and kids activities at Tennis Center.

Boynton Beach Pirate Fest and Mermaid Splash — 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Oct. 26 and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 27, East Ocean Avenue at Northeast Fourth Street, downtown Boynton Beach. Visit the lively pirate village and mermaid lagoon with roaming actors, street performers. Eleven activity areas with entertainment for all ages. 600-9093;

Halloween in the Garden — 10 a.m.-noon Oct. 20 at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, 1801 North Ocean Blvd., Boca Raton. For ages 2-6. Treats, crafts, face painting and photographs with Luna the sea turtle. Costumes welcome. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Members, $7, non-members, $10. Limited parking. Registration required at 544-8611. Details at; search the program and events calendar for Oct. 20 or “Halloween.”

Clematis by Fright — 6-9 p.m. Oct. 31, the Great Lawn at the West Palm Beach Waterfront, 100 Clematis St. “Spooktacular” family fun, entertainment and thousands of dollars in prizes in the annual costume contests in categories for kids, adults, families and pets. Free.

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