Dublin's Halloween Spooktacular this year will feature beasts big and small.
New at the event -- to be held from 3 to 8 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Dublin Community Recreation Center -- will be a petting zoo featuring chickens, ducks, rabbits, sheep, goats, alpacas and a mini horse.
Representatives from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also will be on-site for a short time with animals.
Also new this year will be a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activity center in which children can build and test bridge types from around the world.
Dublin likes to combine fun with educational opportunities whenever possible, said Mary Jo DiSalvo, an events administrator for the city.
"We just try to keep things fresh every year," she said.
The STEM center will be inside the rec center and is provided by the Sylvan Learning Center and will be geared toward children ages 5-12, said Kendel Kellogg, an events coordinator.
Events will be held both inside and outside this year, DiSalvo said.
If the weather turns severe, however, the Spooktacular will be canceled rather than moved indoors, because of a lack of space. If necessary, the city would announce a cancellation on its website and on social media.
Halloween festivities will also include performances by the Shamrockers of Dublin, plus a pumpkin carver, magic shows, crafts, dance performances, the Haunted Trail and the Trunk or Treat Trail.
The event is free, but those who want to go trick-or-treating along the Trunk or Treat Trail to get candy from local businesses and organizations need a ticket. Those tickets can be picked up at the rec center by Dublin city and school district residents beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, through 2:30 p.m. Oct. 24 while they last.
If the weather is pleasant, the city expects about 6,000 people to attend, DiSalvo said.
"Everybody just becomes like a child again," she said.