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Annual Halloween-fall event to offer fun for the whole family

By Staff | Oct 29, 2019


Families and all ages are invited to a holiday event that has run for nearly two decades.

The Fall Family Festival and Candy Carnival will be held on Oct. 31 from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Community House on Sanibel. Young and old are welcome to come in costume, with carnival games, hayrides and more for the children. The event admission is a bag or two of candy per family.

“It’s one of the best multi-generational events we host,” Sarah Jacobson, director of marketing and event planning, said. “It started after 9/11 as a safe place for kids to do their trick-or-treating.”

According to officials, the idea stemmed from Salli Kirkland and her daughter, Vanessa Flynt. The Community House was looking to host a holiday event, so the first festival was held in 2001.

Since its inception, the event has grown and evolved every year.


“It’s fun to see all the people come out and celebrate fall and being back on the island,” she said.

Open to all, the festival will feature about 20 to 25 carnival-style games.

“There’s everything from feel the body part and guess what it is, like peeled grapes as eyeballs and boiled spaghetti as brains, to pull the Dum Dums lollipop that’s a ghost to win a prize,” Jacobson said.

Youths also can spin a wheel and win a prize.

“I’ve changed it a little bit,” she said, explaining that games like the body parts one were included for the older children and preteens. “So there is something for all ages, not just for the younger kids.”


Youths can collect candy by participating, plus earn tickets for winning.

The tickets can be redeemed for prizes.

Jacobson noted that there are toys, trinkets and goodies available for all ages also.

“From tattoos and stickers, to creepy crawlers, rubber duckies and stuffed animals,” she said.

In addition, the event will entail a costume contest.

Jacobson explained that no registration is necessary. Staff will roam the crowd and offer to sign up attendees who are dressed up. There will be different age categories, plus a family or group one.

“I have spotters that will keep an eye out for the costume-wearers,” she said.

“Most of the volunteers are also dressing up,” Jacobson added.

Outside, attendees can hop on a wagon for a hayride.

“It will take you across the street to the parking lot on the other side and bring you back. You get to go on a little adventure,” she said. “And it’s free – everything is included with your candy donation.”

Food and beverages will be available at a nominal cost.

“There will be adult beverages, as well,” Jacobson said.

Residents and visitors are invited to stop by.

“It’s a fun way for parents or grandparents to have the kids trick-or-treat in a safe environment. It’s all enclosed, it’s all right here,” she said. “It’s a fun way for the family to spend time together.”

“It’s a nice way to see your friends you maybe haven’t seen in a little bit,” Jacobson added.

This year’s event sponsors include Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Friends Who Care, the Montclare family, Billy’s Rentals, The Island Cow and Kiwanis Club of Sanibel-Captiva.

For more information, call 239-472-2155.

The Community House is at 2173 Periwinkle Way.