By CHERIL VERNON
PALESTINE — Trick or treat?
No matter if you are a goblin, a ghost, a zombie or a princess, there's plenty on tap to do in the Palestine area for Halloween. Those looking for non-scary activities also have lots to choose from area churches holding fall festivals and “trunk or treat” events.
One of the biggest events is the Palestine Public Library's Mall-O-Ween event which will include free candy, games, bounce houses and more from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Palestine Mall. An estimated 3,000 people attended last year's event.
“It's a safe place to bring the kids where they are not in the roads having to worry about the traffic,” PPL Event Coordinator Rachel Menjivar said. “It's safe, fun and informative all wrapped into one.”
The first phase of the costume contest will start about 6:30 p.m. at the mall's center stage, where all Mall-O-Ween announcements will be made throughout the evening.
“We will have trophies for first, second and third places in the different age categories: 0-4, 5-8 and 9-12,” Menjivar said. “We also will be giving out a best overall costume trophy this year.”
There will be at least 29 booths where free candy and/or game will be offered in the mall's concourse.
The Palestine Library Friends are providing an outside free bounce zone including two obstacle courses, one toddler-sized jungle-themed bounce house and a princess and pirate bounce house. The Palestine Library Memorial Board will provide balloons.
Also outside in the Palestine Mall parking lot will be a children's carnival — however, parents will have to purchase tickets for these rides. A portion of the proceeds will go toward Mall-O-Ween 2014.
Here is a list of other events going on now through Halloween:
• Crockett Road Church of Christ will host “Truck and Treat” after evening worship services in the church parking lot.
• The Palestine Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will host “Trunk-Or-Treat” from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Chapel parking lot. Admission is free.
• New Life Worship Center of Palestine will hold its annual Family Fun Fest at 6 p.m. at the church. Game booths, food concessions, bounce houses and more are part of the event. The church is located at 104 Cedarvale St., across U.S. 79 from Westwood High School.
• The Palestine Fire Department will open its doors for the last time for its Fright Night haunted house from 7 p.m. to midnight on Halloween. The haunted house is located in the old garment factory at 3600 W. Oak St. in Palestine. Check out the event's website, www.palestinefrightnight.com for directions.
Admission is $10, or half-price to any patron who helps “scare out hunger'” by bringing two canned goods to donate to local food banks or a bag of dry pet food to donate to the county animal shelter. Proceeds of Fright Night benefit the Palestine Firefighters Association.
• Southside Baptist Church’s annual Fall Festival — an alternative to trick-or-treat — will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday on the Sierra Drive parking lot. There will be free games, candy, face painting, inflatables, food and more.
• FBC Palestine — The church's annual Fall Festival is from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the FBCP parking lot and includes games and candy. Children through fifth grade are invited and must be accompanied by an adult.
• Dogwood Trails Assisted Living & Memory Care is inviting children to stop by to trick-or-treat from 6 to 8 p.m. The facility is located at 1625 W. Spring St.
• Freedom Fellowship Church — A Fall Festival featuring game booths, prizes, cookies, cakes, drinks and lots of candy, will be held Thursday night. The church is located at 125 Kickapoo St. Call 903-729-1310 for more details.
• First United Methodist Church — The church will host a Trunk or Treat in the church parking lot on Thursday. Children are invited to wear costumes and enjoy games and treats. FUMC Palestine is located at 422 Magnolia St. For more information, visit www.fumcpalestine.org or call the church office at 903-729-6205.
• Court Drive Church of Christ will hold its annual “Trunk or Treat” event on Thursday. The church is located at 1434 Court Dr. in Palestine. For more information, call 903-729-0196 or visit www.courtdrivechurch.org.
• FBC Neches will host a “Trunk or Treat” at 5 p.m. Thursday in the church parking lot. For more information call 903-584-3453. The church is located at 200 Anderson St.
• First Congregational Methodist Church of Elkhart, located at 510 U.S. 287 in Elkhart, will hold a Halloween Bash from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. There will be free games and food. For more information, call 903-764-5618 or visit www.facebook.com/fcmcofelkhart
• FBC Elkhart will hosts its annual Great Pumpkin Party, for children ages 1-12, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday. The free event includes slides, bounce houses, games, booths, candy and food. Non-scary costumes, please.