As darkness falls upon the downtown on Oct. 23 and 24, prepare for the second annual Scare in the Square.
Such a fearsome success was last year's event that organizers are making sure Harmony Square will once again be full of spooky activity designed to "scare the yell out of you," said Lori-Dawn Cavin, who is organizing the fright nights.
"This is very much geared to families," said Cavin, the city's community events co-ordinator. "We want to get them downtown and give them a positive experience."
The fun gets underway on Friday, Oct. 23 at 4:30 p. m., with the judging of the scarecrows entered by local businesses.
On Saturday, families are invited to trick or treat in the core beginning at 3 p. m. Trick-or-treaters are asked to register at the information kiosk in the square. Each child wearing a costume will receive a free trick or treat bag and a map listing the participating goodie sites. Costume judging will be held at 4:30 p. m.
At 5 p. m. on both nights, visitors can pull up a straw bale and enjoy hours of live entertainment. On the Bell Stage will be ghost stories; dancing to Michael Jackson's Thriller, led by the Academy of Dance; family entertainment by Freedom House; and theatre by Talk of the Town Productions. The haunting sounds of bands, including Two Year Toque, Monstereo and Flaming Youth -a tribute to Kiss -will also fill the square.
The scarefest wraps up with an outdoor movie -Casper the Friendly Ghost -shown on a giant inflatable screen. Bring your lawnchairs and an extra blanket or two.
"A family can come down and spend five hours being entertained and not spend a penny," said Cavin.
Up to 1,500 people a night came out to last year's Scare in the Square. Cavin said two major sponsors, BMO Bank of Montreal and Nesbitt Burns, have committed support to the festival for the next three years, allowing organizers to add to the fun.
The first 100 children to arrive each night will have a chance to visit Casper's Craft Corner to paint their own pumpkin -donated by Brantwood Farms -to take home.
Tractor-drawn hayrides, at a cost of $3, will make a stop at a secret pumpkin patch to hear a shocking tale offered by the Brant Taletellers.
The Brantford Arts Block dares visitors to brave the Scare in the Square Haunting when the Bodega Inn is transformed into a hotel of terror. The cost is $3.
The Brant Historical Society is once again offering spirited walks through the downtown on both nights. For $2, the lamplight tour guides will provide interesting details about the core's nooks and crannies.
New this year is the BMO Booville, located in the Market Street Bank of Montreal parking lot on both nights beginning at 5 p. m. Created especially for the youngest visitors, activities include a straw maze.