On Halloween, the streets of downtown Auburn will look like something out of a storybook as fairytale creatures, movie characters and superheroes come out to play.
The city's Downtown Trick or Treat event will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31, and the candy will be flowing and music pumping until 8 p.m.
"It's the biggest, spookiest street party in Auburn," said Ann Bergman, public relations specialist for the Parks and Recreation Department. "It's for those who have ever wanted to dance on (Toomer's) Corner in full costume."
Downtown merchants will be open late and supplying candy for trick-or-treaters during the event, which serves as an alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating.
Music will be provided by DJ Ozz and attendees dressed their best will have a chance to win the annual costume contest.
The costume contest will feature three categories — individual costume, group costume and pet costume. If your costume is in the running to win, a city employee will notify you during the event. You'll then report to a specified location where winners will be selected and awards handed out by Auburn Mayor Ron Anders.
Bergman said the judging process will be "accelerated" this year so that those in the running to win aren't kept away from trick-or-treating for too long.
"There won't be an additional selection process," Bergman said of the quicker judging style that will be adopted this year. "We're trying to eliminate that so the people who enjoy the costume contest have time to enjoy the event."
She said she is always impressed by the costumes people come up with for the event.
"The thing I'm amazed at is full-family costumes. We're talking 'Game of Thrones;' we're talking Harry Potter, where Daddy is Dumbledore, son is Harry, daughter is Hermione," Bergman said. "It's just amazing creativity. I think the fact that you get to compete in a contest is fun, and your pet, too!
"It's crowded, it's head-turning, like, 'Oh my gosh, there's a Flintstone! There's the Wizard of Oz!' It's just a huge street party, and it's really fun."
The event is free and open to the public and will occur rain or shine.
"It's going to be spooktacular; it's going to be epic," Bergman said. "It always is."
Fright Night and Enchanted Forest
Other spooky events leading up to Halloween include the final Friday Fright Night movie night, for which gates open at the Davis Arboretum at 6 p.m. on Friday. At 6:30 p.m., "Hocus Pocus" will be shown, and at 8:30 p.m., the night will end with "The Craft."
Also on Friday and continuing on Saturday is the Halloween Enchanted Forest at the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center.
The event takes place both evenings from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and is a family-friendly event where costumed actors, dressed as the center's native wildlife, entertain visitors with stories and songs. Patrons will discover the characters along a lighted trail during a guided hike.
After the hike, Halloween games and crafts will be available, as well as s'mores kits and a campfire. Visitors are encouraged to wear costumes.
"In a magical transformation, the forests of the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center become enchanted for Halloween," said Michael Buckman, center manager, in a release. "With the trails lit by sparkling string lights, visitors will step into an enchanted world when they set off on a guided hike to meet the nature center's woodland creatures."
Hikes depart from the main pavilion at 10-minute intervals. The last hike of the night will leave at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 per person when pre-purchased online, and $10 when purchased at the door. Children ages 2 and younger are admitted free.
The event will be postponed or canceled in the event of inclement weather, and the Kreher Preserve's Facebook page will offer updates. Find more information about the event at auburn.edu/preserve.