Halloween Events in Venice, Englewood and North Port

Fall has arrived in Sarasota County, bringing with it a plethora of delightful festivities and gatherings that capture the essence of the season. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the exciting upcoming events in Venice, North Port, and Englewood that are perfect for celebrating autumn.

Sun Fiesta

Originating in 1973 as a prelude to the winter snowbird season, Venice’s beloved Sun Fiesta returns this year October 22. This cherished autumnal festival features captivating art and craft displays, engaging children’s activities, and a variety of delectable festival fare. On Saturday morning, be sure to secure a spot along Venice Avenue to witness the amusing “bed races,” followed by a classic parade. Later in the afternoon at Centennial Park, enjoy musical and dance performances, and don’t miss the Miss Sun Fiesta Pageant, where local high school students vie for college scholarship funds.

Haunted Trails at Oscar Scherer State Park

For those seeking spine-tingling thrills and family-friendly Halloween fun, make your way to the annual Haunted Trails event at Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey, taking place on October 20 and 21. Kids looking for a milder scare can explore the Trick or Treat Trail around Lake Osprey, where local businesses adorn booths and distribute treats. The Haunted Trail, shrouded in darkness and mystery, offers a more intense experience, culminating in the spine-chilling Haunted Pavilion, crafted by the Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department. Brace yourself for a memorable evening of scares, complemented by food and drinks, s’mores, and a charming pumpkin patch. Tickets (pre-purchase advised) are priced at $10 for adults, $5 for children aged 6 to 12, and free for those under 6.

Halloween at Historic Spanish Point

From October 13 to 31, 2023, Historic Spanish Point’s campus transforms into ‘Spooky Point’ for a bewitching experience. Join us for a Halloween-themed light show with two nightly entry times at 6:30 and 7:45 p.m., beginning on Friday, October 13. As you stroll along the illuminated path, you’ll encounter fantastic creations and botanical decorations, striking a balance between creepy and cute for all ages to enjoy. Indulge your taste buds with a variety of food and beverages available for purchase.

Trick or Trot 5K Trail Run

Before indulging in Halloween candy, kickstart your day with some exercise at the Trick or Trot 5K Trail Run, commencing at 8 a.m. on October 21. This event raises funds for local scholarship programs and features a scenic trail through Ann Dever Regional Park in Englewood. Prizes will be awarded to top finishers in each age category and the best costume. 

Tour de North Port

Join the 12th Annual Tour de North Port, starting at 8 a.m. on October 22. This event is more of a leisurely bicycle ride than a race, with this year’s theme being “It’s the Green Pumpkin!” Cyclists can choose from on-road routes of 15, 35, or 65 miles, or opt for the “Gravel Grinders” off-road route tailored for mountain biking enthusiasts. Printed directions for all routes will be provided and can be downloaded. The event showcases the city’s parks and natural beauty, with riders passing through scenic spots like Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park and T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve. Registration is $50 per rider and $10 for children under 10.

Trick-or-Treat at North Port City Hall

On October 27 from 5 to 8 p.m., North Port City Hall opens its doors for a free, family-friendly evening of trick-or-treating. Youngsters and their costumed parents can explore all three floors of the municipal building, transformed into a Halloween wonderland. Outside, the North Port Firefighters Benevolent Association hosts a pumpkin patch where visitors can acquire pumpkins to create their perfect jack-o’-lantern. The event requests a donation of one canned food item per family to kickstart the city’s holiday food drive.

Venice Halloween Parade

On October 31 at 4:30 p.m., Venice invites you to witness the latest and greatest Halloween costumes at its annual Halloween Parade. Children dressed as superheroes, beloved TV characters, princesses, and other charming or spooky figures will parade down Venice Avenue, showcasing their creative outfits for parents and onlookers. Afterward, they can visit the avenue’s shops and restaurants, which generously distribute a variety of candies to the spirited trick-or-treaters.

Halloween Safe Walk

For a secure and enjoyable trick-or-treating experience, head to Dearborn Street in Olde Englewood Village on October 31 for the Halloween Safe Walk. From 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., the street will be closed to traffic, ensuring kids can dress up and collect candy without any concerns about vehicles. Expect to see many local adults joining in on the fun and admiring the youngsters’ Halloween attire.

How to Decorate Your Home for the Holidays Florida-Style

While snow might be a common sight in the rest of the country, residents of Florida know that they don’t need it to have the most beautiful and festive holiday season in the country. Warm weather keeps all of the leaves green, and all you have to do is bring in the red!

The most celebrated time of the year has arrived!  If you want to get into the holiday spirit, deck the halls. Decorate your Florida home for Christmas with these ideas.

Using LED lights to create designs on your lawn is a Florida way to decorate.

You can do more than snowmen and reindeer with the warm, tropical climate in Florida. Use plain white lights on palm trees for a subtle look, or multicolored, flashing LED lights to make your palms really stand out in the neighborhood. Rather than denying the tropical surroundings, embrace the Florida style with wacky lawn decor and ornaments. 

A Few of Your Favorite Things and Holiday Styles

 When you decorate for the holidays, it’s important to choose decor that you like and can use year after year. Make sure you have lots of options so that whether you want a traditional Christmas tree or a funky one, you have lots of decorations to choose from.

For a festive Christmas, you can use traditional ornaments (red and green bows, pine scents, peppermint sticks) or try bringing the Florida Gulf coast into your home. You don’t need to decorate your wreath and rug with red and green to make it feel Christmasy. For a bit of a Floridian theme, add some beach-inspired decor. Seashell ornaments and starfish tree-toppers are enough to make you wish Santa brought the Florida Gulf with him!

Decorating Ideas On Pinterest

Looking for more inspiration? Check out these decorating ideas for more design inspiration

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The holidays are quickly approaching, and contrary to popular belief, this is still a popular time to purchase a home. Indeed, many buyers are under additional pressure to close quickly at this time of year. Holiday home buyers are frequently looking to start a new job or secure financing before the end of the year for tax purposes. Others may have been waiting for a change in mortgage rates that did not occur over the summer, while the rest may simply want to move in before the cold weather arrives.

You don’t have to wait until the warmer months to list your home for whatever reason. However, if you do decide to sell during the holidays, there are a few rules to follow, particularly when it comes to one of the best parts of the season: decorations. Let’s look at the reasons why decorating your home when selling during the holidays can help it sell and some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind this holiday season when your home is on the market:

Why You Should Decorate when Selling During the Holidays

Decorated Homes are More Appealing

If your home is well decorated when selling during the holidays, without going too far, it will be more appealing to home buyers. There is something magical about festive decorations for children, and sometimes for adults as well.

A home that is decorated will be more inviting and will make buyers more likely to want to look around. Since the home is more appealing, there should be a greater chance that you receive offers.

Imagining Living in Your Home

Homebuyers want to imagine themselves living in your home, and a beautifully decorated home for the holidays looks very inviting. It will be cozier and seem like a nicer place to live. They should also be able to easily imagine their family and friends enjoying festivities in the home.

Decorating when selling during the holidays, isn’t going to be as easy as most other years. But if you keep it simpler than you usually would, it should be less difficult. Try to coordinate the decorations with the look of the home without doing too much.

You should also make sure your home is decluttered when decorating for the holidays. This will further make it easier for buyers to see themselves living in the home.

Decluttering is something you should do at whatever time of the year you are selling your home. It will make the home look better when it’s photographed for the property listings, and look tidier for showings. Since you are going to have to pack everything up for your move, you will need to deal with all the stuff in your home anyway. Decluttering your home and getting rid of things you no longer need, will make packing easier as well.

Decorations are Expected

If you don’t bother with decorations because you are preparing to move, it could give a negative impression to potential buyers.

Buyers will expect homes they tour during the holidays to have decorations, and other properties they see will have them. If your home isn’t decorated, buyers may not like your home as much compared to the other homes they have seen.

And if every other home on the street is decorated, your home will not only look out of place, it may appear strange to buyers. You never want your home to look dull compared to your neighbors when selling.

If you don’t have a tradition of decorating your house in your family, either for religious or other reasons, check with your Realtor for their advice on what you should do.

Finding a Connection

If your festive decorations enhance your home, a buyer could find a personal connection to your home. This will increase the chances of them making an offer. Emotional connections can actually be as important as the features or the layout of the home to help you find a buyer.

Do's and Don'ts of Decorating Your Home for the Holidays When it is on the Market

• Do complete a deep cleaning of your home before decorating and make sure to dust off and clean your decorations as well.
• Do keep your home elegant when decorating it for the holidays is to stick to a neutral color palette
• Do use warm scents like cinnamon, peppermint, pumpkin, pine, and apple to make your home feel more cozy.

 

• Don’t overdo it; your house will look cluttered and smaller
• Don’t use large and gaudy decorations or put up a Christmas tree that will make your space feel smaller.
• Don’t put out decorations with specific religious themes so not to detract buyers of other religions.

Bottom Line

Decorations can make buyers more attracted to the idea of living in your home, making buying the home a more appealing prospect. If you don’t have festive decor, your home will look out of place compared to your neighbors and the other homes buyers have been looking at. So make sure to keep this in mind when selling a home during the holidays.

Decorating your home when you are selling during the holidays will ultimately improve how easy your home is to sell. There are top ways staging your home can attract buyers, make a connection, and it might even cheer you up at the same time.

Make Thanksgiving easy

 Includes favorite thanksgiving recipes and preparing the perfect turkey.

Thanksgiving Recipe

Whether you pick just one of these recipes or use them to curate your whole menu, you'll definitely be bringing something impressive to the table.

Crock Pot Turkey Breast

Tender flaky, moist, fool-proof boneless turkey breast recipe that's perfect for Thanksgiving.

Acorn Squash Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette

Thanksgiving side dish or vegan fall dinner.

Thanksgiving Meatballs

Cranberry, stuffing, and turkey are true Thanksgiving Day staples.

Easy Root Vegetable Gratin

This simple mix of autumn veggies makes a no-nonsense holiday side.

Preparing the Perfect Turkey

Preparing a Thanksgiving turkey is a big responsibility and can feel very intimidating, especially if the task has been relegated to you for the first time. But freshman turkey makers fear not: there are plenty of tips and tricks to avoiding any disaster that might occur.

How much turkey should I buy?

This will obviously depend on the number of guests you are expecting, but a safe estimate is to account for about one pound of turkey per guest.

When should I take it out to thaw?

Depending on the size of your turkey, you may need to begin the thawing process anywhere from two to five days before serving, but a good rule of thumb is to allow for 24 hours per 4 pounds of turkey.

If you’re brining the turkey, allow it to sit in the brine in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before cooking.

What’s the first step in the preparation process?

Once the turkey is fully thawed, remove the bag of gizzards and organs from the inside, and thoroughly wash the inside and outside of the turkey with water. Pat the turkey dry, then cross the legs and tie them together with kitchen string.

How long does the turkey need to cook?

This will also depend on the size of the bird. Follow along with these time estimates based on the size of your turkey and your oven set to 350°F:

  • 9-11 pounds: 2.5 hours
  • 12-14 pounds: 3 hours
  • 15-17 pounds: 3.5 hours
  • 18-20 pounds: 4 hours

Tip: Baste the turkey with its own juices every 30 minutes as it’s baking. When the internal temperature at the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°F, remove from the oven.

Crock Pot Turkey Breast

INGREDIENTS
1 (5-7 lbs) boneless turkey breast
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 can (14 oz) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 packet onion soup seasoning mix
½ cup orange juice
Gravy
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
Instructions:
1. Unwrap turkey breast, making sure to leave the netting on the turkey, and place into a slow cooker. I use a 6-qt crock pot. 
2. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the turkey and rub it in. In a mixing bowl combine cranberry sauce, onion seasoning mix, and orange juice. Pour over the turkey.
3. Cook on LOW heat for 5-7 hours. Internal temperature needs to be at least 165 degrees. Mine cooked for 6 hours. 
4. Take turkey breast out of the crock pot and place onto the serving plate. Cover with tin foil to keep it hot. Skim the fat pieces from the crock pot. Pour the remaining liquid from the crockpot into a medium saucepan.
5. Mix together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Bring the sauce from the slow cooker to a boil. Once boiling add the cornstarch mixture and stir with a whisk until it’s thickened. You may have to turn the heat down while doing this to prevent it from boiling too much and burning. It should only take between 1-2 minutes for it to thicken.
6. Pour some of the gravy over the turkey breast and serve. I pour the extra sauce into a jar and set that out with the turkey so you can serve additional gravy with the turkey servings.

Acorn Squash Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS
1 medium acorn squash, halved, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch-thick wedges
1 medium red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
2 tbsp. olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. tahini
• 2 tsp. lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 c. baby kale
1/3 c. chopped dates
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. chopped roasted almonds

 

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss together squash, onion, and oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes. 
2. Meanwhile, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons water in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in additional water if the dressing is too thick. 
3. Arrange kale, squash, onion, dates, cilantro, and almonds on a platter. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with lemon zest.

Thanksgiving Meatballs

INGREDIENTS
1 pound ground turkey
½ onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
⅓ cup dried cranberries, diced
1 tablespoon fresh sage, diced
1 egg, beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs Salt and pepper, to taste
1 can gravy, to serve
Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Acorn Squash Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
 1 1/4 c. heavy cream, divided
3 large parsnips (about 1 pound), peeled and thinly sliced diagonally
•  2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and thinly sliced
•  2 large carrots (about 1/2 pound), peeled and thinly sliced diagonally
• 2 large beets (about 3/4 pound), peeled and thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
•  1 1/2 oz. Parmesan, grated (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Instructions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish. Pour 1/4 cup cream in dish. 

Step 2: Layer parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets in prepared dish. Season with salt and pepper. Top with cheese. Stir together garlic and remaining 1 cup cream in a bowl; pour over vegetables. Cover dish with aluminum foil. 

Step 3: Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake until vegetables are tender and golden brown, 14 to 17 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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