11 Boo tanical arborTricks and treats await Halloween fans at the family-friendly Boo-tanical Garden event coming to Cape Fear Botanical Garden Oct. 25-27. Each night from 6-9 p.m., guests can enjoy a haven of all things Halloween. Costumes? Check. Fun and games? Check. Candy? Check. Check.

   Now in its fifth year, Boo-tanical Garden is a highly anticipated event for those wishing to expand the Halloween season beyond a one-day calendar celebration. The festival is one way, according to CFBG Director of Events and Marketing Sheila Hanrick, “to get your Halloween going before the actual day.”

 “Boo-tanical is for all ages — children, adults, families and individuals,” she said. “This year, we are offering the same community favorites such as the Boo-tanical holiday lights and trick-or-treat stations throughout the garden, but also some new activities our guests are sure to enjoy.”

Candy stations are scattered throughout the nearly 16 acres of the garden proper lit with the Halloween colors of orange, purple, green and white found among garden flora and in the form of themed light sculptures. The warm glow of some 300 jack-o-lanterns, both friendly and frightful, will light up the Cypress Pond lawn.

The fright factor is small, said Hanrick, emphasizing the child-friendliness of Boo-tanical. However, “any time it is Halloween, you have to have a little bit of fright going on,” she said.

The smidgen of spookiness can be seen in the Boo-Crew skeleton vignettes, courtesy of Fayetteville Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. Guests may find one of the Boo Crew planting flowers, weeding a garden bed, jumping rope or even fishing off the pond pier. They will be up to all kinds of mischief, said Hanrick, no bones about it.

Friendly animated monsters will guide children in the Monster Bash dance on the garden’s Great Hall lawn. Singing pumpkins and friendly ghosts continue the animation action, with songs and skits galore. The children’s play area features lawn games, a hay bale maze and a giant tunnel slide built from hay bales. A tractor-pulled hayride around the Great Lawn completes the heyday of outdoor fun.

Indoors the excitement continues with educational activities sponsored by Fayetteville Academy. Guests will learn about odd “monsters” in nature through hands-on lessons and touch boxes. They can meet CFBG’s eastern king snake, Duke, and eastern box turtle, Carlos. Face painting and balloon-animal making round out the inside fun.

Don’t miss the festival fare, either. Boss Ross Dogs will be serving up hot dogs and sausages all evening, along with Nothin’ Fancy funnel cakes and the Pretty Stickie company’s candy and gourmet apples, and custom cookies. Find more food offerings at the newly opened garden cafe, including soups, salads and sandwiches.

Tickets for Boo-tanical Garden can be purchased at the door each night. Tickets are $9 for garden members, $11 for nonmembers, $5 for children aged 2-12 and are free for children under 2. The event is weather dependent, so if in doubt, check the garden’s Facebook or website before heading out. For out more at https://www.capefearbg.org/.

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