As the brilliant fall colors slowly start to fade, the nights get longer and the days get colder, Halloween happenings are gradually creeping up on the local events calendar.

The Detroit Lakes Public Library starts off the spooky goings-on this week with a special "Boo-a-palooza" event on Thursday, Oct. 19 from 3 to 5 p.m. Kids, get out those costumes and head on over to the library for a costume parade, pumpkin and cookie decorating, a candy-filled building competition and other fun activities. Though this event is free and open to the public, it's geared toward elementary-age children, so those who are preschool age and younger should be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

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More kid-friendly fun is coming to the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center on Saturday, Oct. 28, as the DLCCC gears up to host its 2nd Annual Halloween Spooktacular. From 4 to 7 p.m., The Backyard at the DLCCC will host a full slate of family-oriented activities including a haunted house, scavenger hunt, pumpkin decorating and inflatable games.

"We encourage people to come in costume," says event organizer Rachel Loreth, "and pick up a free gift bag to fill with Halloween treats."

Admission is just $5 per person, or $20 per family, and includes a meal of hot dogs, chips and beverages.

"New this year, people can register online before the event at," says Loreth, adding that it will hopefully mean shorter lines at the door on the day of the event. "We're also still looking for volunteers, so anyone who'd like to help out can contact me here at 218-844-4221, extension 120."

Also on Oct. 28, the Washington Square Mall will host its annual Halloween Hoot from noon to 2 p.m. Kids are invited to dress up in costume and bring their families to the mall for an afternoon of carnival games, Halloween treats and lots of fun.

And on Halloween itself, Tuesday, Oct. 31, Essentia Health-St. Mary's EMS is hosting its second annual "Trunk or Treat" event from 5 to 8 p.m.

"I moved here in September of last year, and a couple of weeks before Halloween I went to our director and asked, 'can we do a Trunk or Treat event on Halloween and try to get all the kids here in town to come?'" said organizer Kelli Senske, who is a paramedic at Essentia Health-St. Mary's. "After we got it approved through Essentia, we went door to door at all the businesses in the community, put out flyers and tried to get people to do a decorated trunk and give out candy during the event."

The premise of the Trunk or Treat is simple, Senske noted: EHSM staff and other supporting businesses, churches, organizations and families in the community can bring their vehicles to the EMS parking lot by 4 p.m. on the day of the event, get the trunk of the vehicle decorated for Halloween and give out candy or other small, kid-appropriate items to trick-or-treaters between 5-8 p.m. Popcorn, glow-in-the-dark bracelets, licorice, cookies and other treats will also be handed out while supplies last.

"We didn't think we were going to have that many kids for the first year," said Senske, noting that there were only about a half-dozen decorated trunks for that event. "We had over 250 within the first 40 minutes."

By the end of the evening, over 1,200 kids and parents had shown up, and the participants had pretty much bought up all the Halloween candy left in town to keep the trunks well stocked.

This year, Senske says, they are hoping to have more local businesses and organizations join in on the fun.

"There are unlimited ideas for decorating," she added, noting that her daughter had taken all of her stuffed animals, put bandages on them and dressed up as "Doc McStuffins" to hand out candy last year, while her sister's trunk was decorated to resemble a hippopotamus.

Prizes will be awarded for the best-decorated trunks, Senske said. For more information, or to reserve a spot for your vehicle, please call Kelli Senske at 480-278-1143 or Melissa Harthun at 218-847-1817.