Horror film aficionados won't want to miss the eighth annual Lakewood Ranch Boo Fest expected to draw roughly 5,000 people to Main Street on Friday night.
As in year's past, the Haunted House Halloween spectacular will be held under a fully enclosed tent with themed rooms of legendary haunted movie, including "Bride of Frankenstein," "Motel Hell," "Brides of Dracula" and the "Wizard of Oz," with the meanest witch of all -- the Wicked Witch of the West.
A special committee of adult volunteers and many husband-and-wife teams from the Lakewood Ranch area will dress in scary costumes, paint their faces with ghoulish makeup, and try to scare the living daylights out of everyone who passes through.
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"What's special about the haunted house this year is we've come up with a theme based on horror flicks that will run through different sections of the house. This is also the first year with volunteer adults. Last year we did it with students, but the adults will give us more consistency and stability," said Lori Basilone, director of Lakewood Ranch Community Activities during a Haunted House Committee meeting Monday.
The Haunted House will be lit for the first hour at 6 p.m. for little ones to pass through eight unique movie exhibits. Later it will be darkened and characters and creatures will await wary passersby with all sorts of props, antics and tricks.
Volunteer Jay Traverso of the Lake Club in Lakewood Ranch said he and his wife, Marybeth Traverso, plan on handing out candy body parts formed like brains, lungs, kidneys and liver.
"We'll be part of a din
ing room scene seated at an 8-foot table along with two mannequins sitting on chairs holding up meals with a mannequin waiter off to the side. I'll be the butler and my wife is playing a maid. Expect random sounds of chains, people screaming and yelling, but the best part is we'll hand out candy body parts," Traverso said.
"We want to try and take this to the next level. This is our big draw and we're very excited about this team of volunteers who stepped forward," said Basilone, who said volunteer Joe Pfeiffer is director of the Haunted House for the third year in a row.
The free Halloween Spooktacular Party from 6 to 9 p.m. will feature a costume parade, trick or treating with Main Street merchants and sponsors, face painting, balloon art, music and "horrific" touchy-feely boxes designed by a Lakewood Ranch Girl Scout Troop. Admission is free and everyone is encouraged to attend in costume for the parade.
Parking is limited around Main Street. A free trolley service will pick up people around the Lakewood Ranch shopping centers off University Parkway.
Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.