It’s that time of year again to get in the spirit of Halloween. Put all the finishing touches on your fabulous costume and head out on the town. Spend a night inside a closed and haunted library – watch out for ghosts lurking around the bookshelves – and then head over to the Park District and dance with all kinds of vampires, witches and pirates. From story telling to decoration contests to trick-or-treating, there are plenty of spooky events taking place throughout Forest Park this week for the young and old.

Spine-tingling tales

Oct. 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the Austin Room at the Forest Park Public Library

Guest storytellers will spend the evening at the library to share bone tingling tales sure to cause some fright. Come if you dare. (Designed for ages 6 and up.)

Kids Spooktacular Halloween Party

Wednesday, Oct. 27 from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m., $10 for residents, $15 non-residents

The Park District is throwing a “spooktacular” party for kids who just can’t wait to show off their Halloween costumes. The best dressed costume will even earn a prize. Kids will also have the opportunity to cook some “creepy crawler treats” and decorate pumpkins. (Designed for ages 5 to 10.)

Halloween fear home makeover contest

Thursday, Oct. 28

The Park District is hosting the 7th annual Halloween home makeover contest, and the best decorated houses in Forest Park will receive free pool passes for up to four family members. On Oct. 28, the Park District Commissioners and staff will serve as judges and drive through the village to determine the winners. In order to be considered, you must register your address with the Park District office. Factors being considered are: curb appeal, creativity, use of theme, place, use of yard and house and originality. Families may win only once every three years.

Story time Halloween party

Friday, Oct. 29 at 10:30 a.m. in the Austin Room at the Forest Park Public Library

Kids can come dressed in their Halloween best and listen to some spooky songs and story telling, followed by a costume parade around the library. The event ends with a Halloween-themed puppet show. (Designed for ages 6 and under.)

Hauntin’ Halloween dance

Friday, Oct. 29 between 7 and 9 p.m. at the Administrative Building, $5 at the door

Dance the night away at the park district’s costume party and dance. Kids can dress up and rock out to the DJ. Snacks and beverages will be provided, and prizes will be handed out to those with the best costumes. (Designed for 4th through 8th graders.)

After-hours haunted library night

Saturday, Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the Austin Room at the Forest Park Public Library

After the library closes it doors, the basement will be transformed into a spooky haunted house complete with wild decorations, creepy music and interactive themes. Drama club students and other volunteers will dress as goblins and ghouls roaming around the library floors. (Designed for kids 12 and under.)

Trick-or-treating

Sunday, Oct. 31 between 3 and 7:30 p.m.

The official trick-or-treat hours in Forest Park this Sunday are from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Don’t start early. Don’t be late.

Don’t have a costume yet? For some inspiration, check out the list of 2010’s most popular costumes, according to the National Retail Federation. For the sixth year in a row, princess tops the chart for kids with about 4.3 million costumes sold nationwide. Approximately 1.8 million children will parade the streets as Spider-Man, which came in second place. And believe it or not, 11.5 percent of people will dress their pet in some sort of Halloween costume as well.

Mayor receives complaint about kids asking for money instead of candy

An anonymous letter supposedly written on behalf of some senior citizens in Forest Park urged Mayor Anthony Calderone to “do the right thing” and call off door-to-door trick-or-treating this year.

The writer of the complaint said that kids are asking for money rather than candy when they knock on the door on Halloween.

“Times are not what they used to be,” laments the senior.

At the village council meeting on Monday, village commissioners discussed possible solutions – but shutting down trick-or-treating was not one of them.

“I would hate to see it go away because of a couple of bad apples,” said Commissioner Mark Hosty.

Instead, they tossed around the idea of capping the age of trick-or-treaters at around 13 or 14 years old. They also said homeowners who do not want to participate in the Halloween tradition should turn their lights off as a signal for kids to move on to the next house. In any case, residents should call the police immediately if they feel threatened by anyone at the door.

So as for this Sunday, candy-craving children can don their costumes and stretch their legs. Trick-or-treating is on.

Halloween by the numbers

  • $66
The average amount one person will spend on Halloween this year
  • $6 billion
  • Total holiday spending nationwide
  • 50.1%
  • The percentage of people that will decorate their yards for Halloween
  • $20.29
  • The amount consumers will spend on candy
  • 40.1%
  • The percentage of Halloween shoppers that will dress in costume

    -National Retail Federation