Iowa City will celebrate its official Trick or Treat Night on Halloween, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, from dusk until 8 p.m. In the meantime, the Parks and Recreation Department has loads of other spooktacular fun planned for the season.

Halloween Parade and Carnival: Friday, Oct. 27  

Tricksters of all ages are invited to meet at 6 p.m. at the Mercer Park Aquatic Center, 2701 Bradford Dr., dressed in their Halloween attire. Participants will then parade around the park and into the Mercer Park Aquatic Center for the carnival, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Activities includes carnival-style games, crafts, face painting, treats, prizes, a haunted art gallery, inflatables, magicians and jugglers, a fortune teller, and loads of other Halloween fun.

All ages and abilities are welcome and no pre-registration or fee is required. Children must be accompanied by an adult to attend these events. In case of inclement weather, the parade will be cancelled, but the carnival will still be held.

Tot Monster Mash: Tuesday, Oct. 31

This annual Halloween adventure, designed for kids ages 2-6 (accompanied by a  parent or guardian), is Tuesday, Oct. 31, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Dress up in Halloween costumes and join Parks and Recreation staff at the Mercer Park Aquatic Center, 2701 Bradford Dr., to enjoy inflatables, games, crafts, and more. No pre-registration or fee is required to participate.

Tips for a safe Trick or Treat Night: Tuesday, Oct. 31

Iowa City’s official Trick or Treat Night will be Tuesday, Oct. 31, from dusk to 8 p.m.

Have fun, but stay safe by following these guidelines from the Iowa City Police and Fire Departments:

  • Make sure that costumes allow trick-or-treaters to see and walk safely. Avoid long, billowing fabrics that drag on the ground, costume footwear (wear sturdy shoes), or masks that obstruct the ability to see or breathe. Cut out larger openings for eyes, nose, and mouth, if necessary.
  • Trick-or-treaters should be visible. Carry a flashlight or wear something lighted, such as a glow bracelet or necklace, or shoes that light up, or add reflective tape to a Halloween costume or coat.
  • Parents, guardians, or a responsible older youth should accompany trick-or-treaters. Visit homes in familiar neighborhoods where the porch light is on and the area is well-lit. Make sure children understand that they are never to enter a stranger's home. Stay on the sidewalk rather than cutting across yards.
  • Instruct kids to stay away from candles and open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop, and roll if their clothing catches fire. Adults are urged to use battery-powered candles in their jack-o-lanterns, and are also advised to make sure that the decorations they place on sidewalks, porches, steps, or other approaches do not pose a tripping or safety hazard to trick-or-treaters.
  • Halloween treats should not be eaten until they're brought home and examined by parents. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Drivers should be especially alert on Halloween. Keep an eye out for children who may be dressed in dark clothing or walking on roadways, medians, and curbs, or who may dart out from between parked cars. Also, be sure to enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
  • Halloween is often a time for pranks that may have the potential to harm a person or property. If you see any unlawful or suspicious activity, contact the Iowa City Police Department by calling 9-1-1 to report it. 

For more safety information, contact Sgt. Scott Gaarde at 319-356-5293 or, or Fire Chief John Grier at 319-356-5256 or

Date of publication

Monday, October 16, 2017