There are a lot of reasons I love living on Anna Maria Island. A lot of big reasons (like the beach, my kids’ schools, the laid-back atmosphere…) and a lot of little reasons. One of the little reasons is Halloween.
Halloween on Anna Maria is hard to beat. To kick things off is the elementary school’s Fall Festival, which starts with a costume parade down Gulf Drive – all of the kids in costume, carrying their class banners… led by a police escort, no less!
We have gone for the past three years, because that’s how long Jillian has been at the school, but the festival is open to the public which is pretty awesome. There are tons of games in the back field, bouncy houses, a rock wall, and even snow cones (yes, in Florida, we still have snow cones in late October!). The kids buy tickets to play games and then win tickets they trade in for prizes from the super cool (and quite impressive) prize room. Then, there’s the huge, and I do mean H-U-G-E, bake sale, which gets bigger and better every year!
And that’s just the weekend before Halloween.
On the big day itself, the possibilities of when and where to fill your candy bag are nearly endless! Each of the island cities (Bradenton Brach, Holmes Beach and Anna Maria) participates in the Trail of Treats, where island businesses generously open their doors (and buckets of candy) to all the dressed-up kiddos.
In years past, we have gone to the Holmes Beach businesses, which was always a lot of fun (and yielded quite a high volume of treats), but this year we chose to stroll down Pine Avenue, the City of Anna Maria’s “Greenest Little Main Street.” My son’s preschool is on Pine Ave., as well as lots of cute shops and our local Green Village (yay!).
I have to say, I was pleased with my decision. While I heard Holmes Beach was amazing, I enjoyed the quieter walk up and down Pine this year, popping into the shops easily, without getting run over in the process. My kids are 7 and 3, and they don’t move as swiftly as 11-year-olds on a mission, haha! Give them a couple years!
After gathering a decently full bag of candy on Pine, we headed home for a quick bite (of real food…), and then we were back out to our favorite Trick-or-Treating spot on the island, 75th street. We don’t live far, so we can actually walk there, and we do, because the parking has gotten a bit crazy!
Tons of houses, tons of people, tons of candy! This year, I decided to bring our new dog, Star. I thought she might enjoy an evening stroll… but the craziness of the crowded street full of costumed strangers running every which way proved a bit too much for her. So I carried her up and down the street, lol!
Other than the poor, terrified pooch, we all had a great time! We even discovered a house we had never been to before where we got to see a magic show. Trevor was amazed!! He begged and begged to go back, and we did. Then after we headed home, he did his own, 3-year-old version of a “magic show” for me for the next 30 minutes… in between mouthfuls of candy. Ah, the magic of Halloween. J