Is Halloween your favorite holiday?
Ask around, and you're likely to get a lot of "yes" votes to that question. Halloween is not just trick-or-treat night but a season of celebration that begins when the leaves change colors and goes through early November (or until the pumpkins are smashed).
Halloween falls on a Monday this year, and that's a good thing -- because it extends the weekend. In fact, the Fox Valley Park District is giving us an early start when it hosts Halloween Family Night next Friday, Oct. 28, at the Prisco Community Center.
That's followed by the final two days (Oct. 29 and 30) of Pumpkin Weekends at Blackberry Farm, and then the month's capper on Monday.
Halloween Family Night runs from 6 to 8 p.m. when the Prisco Center is turned into a haunted house full of friendly fun seekers.
It's a great time to test out that new costume in advance of the big night. The night's activities are highlighted by a costume contest, when guests will be paraded on the Prisco stage to strut their scary stuff.
The event will be two hours of sensory sensations. Children 2 and older are welcome (children must be accompanied by an adult), and kids 12 and younger will receive goody bags.
Admission is $10 per resident family of four and $15 per nonresident family.
A Halloween-themed movie -- and fresh popcorn made from an old-fashioned popper cart -- will be part of the scene. A haunted house will "welcome" visitors as well.
"Nothing too scary," said performing arts supervisor Kyle Donahue. "We're mostly expecting young children here, so we're making everything family-friendly."
That will include scooter races, creepy crafts and wacky games -- such as Halloween-style bowling that will involve ghosts and pumpkins -- and fishing in a kettle of witch's brew.
A little science will be involved, too -- spooky science. Think ice balloons, food coloring and monster's eyeballs -- that's enough to send chills.
An added bonus will be the announcement of winners of the park district's fourth annual Halloween Decorating contest. For those residents in Aurora, North Aurora and Montgomery who entered the contest, their decorated homes were judged this week. The winners will be awarded gift cards from local businesses, but need not be present to win.
It's shaping up to be a frightfully delightful weekend.
Step aside, Fourth of July. I think Halloween is my new favorite day of the year.
• Jeff Long is the public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org