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Finding Fall Fun in Great Falls

Spooktacular, horse shows highlight fall in Great Falls.

From left, Julie and Tyler Collins, 6, make their way through the Haunted House on the Great Falls Village Green. This year’s haunted house will be hosted by the Great Falls Friends and Neighbors.

From left, Julie and Tyler Collins, 6, make their way through the Haunted House on the Great Falls Village Green. This year’s haunted house will be hosted by the Great Falls Friends and Neighbors. Photo by Alex McVeigh.

— Many of Great Falls’ signature features will be in use this fall, including the Village Green and Turner Farm.

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From left, Anna Patel, 6, Kylie McKinley, 6, Brooke Dawn, 6 and Erika Castellano, 6, pose under a giant pumpkin during the annual Great Falls Spooktacular.

The Great Falls Village Green will be the site of this year’s annual Spooktacular, where pets, children and parents alike can show off their costumes for the whole community.

A tradition for more than 20 years, the Spooktacular will kick off with a pet parade on the Village Green at 4 p.m. Halloween night.

"The pet parade is my favorite part of the Halloween festivities, but it’s also one of the most challenging," said Janice Herlihy of Great Falls. "Last year we decided to put our dog Genie in the parade, but finding a costume for him was harder than we thought, you have to get creative at the costume shop when it comes to finding things that fit. But the kids enjoy going on the search, maybe even more than their own costumes."

AFTER THE PET PARADE, the humans in costume will get a chance to walk around the village green, where they can trick or treat at the businesses that set up displays at their sites.

"It’s tough to get kids to walk as much as a mile in between houses, in costume, and driving sort of takes all the fun out of it, so this is perfect for a community like this," said John Allen of Great Falls. "That way we can come here, see a bunch of people, the kids can fill their candy baskets, and then we can head home to sort through the goodies."

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Erin Gill, 9, rides My Guy at Turner Farm Park. Two shows will be held this fall to raise money for Turner Farm.

The event will feature a haunted house on the green, which will be run by the Great Falls Friends and Neighbors. The club was formed when the Great Falls Women’s Club and the Great Falls Newcomers Club merged last year, and donations for entrance into the house will support their scholarship programs.

"The haunted house was a favorite of my kids last year, and they’re looking forward to it this year, but not for the reason you might think," said Jared Kirsch of Great Falls. "They like to try and guess where the people inside will be, waiting to scare them. So maybe they don’t get to scream, but they have fun, and it’s a good cause to support.

The annual Spooktacular will take place Wednesday, Oct. 31 at the Great Falls Village Center. More information is available at www.celebrategreatfalls.com.

TURNER FARM will host two horse shows this fall, one Saturday, Sept. 29 and the second Saturday, Oct. 13. The shows, sponsored by the Saddlery in Great Falls, will raise funds for the Fairfax County Park Authority to maintain and enhance Turner Farm.

"Turner Farm is a great place for a horse show, the arena is in a great setting, and you can walk around and watch from wherever you prefer," said Sandra Engel, a local rider. "Turner Farm is an equestrian gem in this county, so anything to support that is a very good thing."

The Oct. 13 show will be the last of four shows this year, and will conclude with an awards ceremony, recognizing riders from throughout the year, including high point winners for each division, trainers/barns, ponies/horses and a sportsmanship award.

Both shows will start at 9 a.m. and go into the afternoon.