7 Best Halloween Events in Jacksonville 2018

It’s NEVER too soon to start planning out your Halloween fun! Here at Cowford Realty & Design, we’ve been thinking about Halloween since, well…..last November 1st.

So here are the top Halloween events you won’t want to miss this year! Let us know if we forgot your favorite :)

  1. 2nd Annual Murray Hill-o-Ween!

 When: Sunday, October 28th, 2018  Time: 2pm-8pm  Where: Historic Murray Hill!!! Edgewood Avenue  Billed as Jacksonville’s biggest Halloween party, there will be floats, a costume contest, food trucks, vendors and more. Cowford is the title sponsor of this super-fun event, so be sure to come say hi!!

When: Sunday, October 28th, 2018

Time: 2pm-8pm

Where: Historic Murray Hill!!! Edgewood Avenue

Billed as Jacksonville’s biggest Halloween party, there will be floats, a costume contest, food trucks, vendors and more. Cowford is the title sponsor of this super-fun event, so be sure to come say hi!!

2. Jacksonville Zoo Spooktacular!

 When: October 12-14, 18-21, and 26-31  Where: Jacksonville Zoo  Ok, the Zoo does it up right! If you’ve never been to their Spooktacular, then put yo costume on and GO! Kids or not, it’s a fun event. The characters and props are the best!  Also, this event - which takes place during the Spooktacular celebration- looks super fun!  A Wildlife Costume Party  takes place October 12th and includes dinner, a silent auction and entertainment.

When: October 12-14, 18-21, and 26-31

Where: Jacksonville Zoo

Ok, the Zoo does it up right! If you’ve never been to their Spooktacular, then put yo costume on and GO! Kids or not, it’s a fun event. The characters and props are the best!

Also, this event - which takes place during the Spooktacular celebration- looks super fun! A Wildlife Costume Party takes place October 12th and includes dinner, a silent auction and entertainment.

3. Halloween Doors and More - Benefitting Community PedsCare

 When: Saturday, October 20, 2018  Where: Jacksonville Fairgrounds  Ok, this is the feel-good Halloween event of the year. Held at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds, this event benefits Community PedsCare - a pediatric palliative and hospice program for children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. The event is fun and festive, not scary or spooky. Children trick-or-treat for toys at 14-feet-high fantasy “doors.” You will see the Cowford Realty staff here for sure.

When: Saturday, October 20, 2018

Where: Jacksonville Fairgrounds

Ok, this is the feel-good Halloween event of the year. Held at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds, this event benefits Community PedsCare - a pediatric palliative and hospice program for children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. The event is fun and festive, not scary or spooky. Children trick-or-treat for toys at 14-feet-high fantasy “doors.” You will see the Cowford Realty staff here for sure.

4. Local church Trunk-Or-Treat nights

 Local church and community Trunk-Or-Treats are a fun, safe, low-key way to take your kids trick or treating. If you've never been to a Trunk-or-Treat (where have you been?!), it's super fun! Cars decorate their trunks with different themes and pass out candy and other Halloween goodies. Because the cars are all parked next to each other, it's a super efficient use of your candy-collecting time! So round up your kids, throw on their costume and hit your local church!  Here are a few that we’ve rounded up for you!   First Coast YMCA  - October 25, 2018   Horn of Salvation Ministries  - October 27, 2018   We Rock The Spectrum!  - October 27, 2018   Jacksonville Pumpkin Patch  - October 28, 2018   Ortega United Methodist Church  - October 28th, 2018   St. Johns Presbyterian Church  - October 28, 2018   Lakewood Presbyterian Church  - October 28, 2018   Orange Park Police Department and First Baptist Church of Orange Park  - October 31, 2018   Westside Christian Church  - October 31, 2018   St. Paul’s United Methodist Church  - October 31, 2018   Heckscher Drive Baptist Church  - October 31, 2018

Local church and community Trunk-Or-Treats are a fun, safe, low-key way to take your kids trick or treating. If you've never been to a Trunk-or-Treat (where have you been?!), it's super fun! Cars decorate their trunks with different themes and pass out candy and other Halloween goodies. Because the cars are all parked next to each other, it's a super efficient use of your candy-collecting time! So round up your kids, throw on their costume and hit your local church!

Here are a few that we’ve rounded up for you!

First Coast YMCA - October 25, 2018

Horn of Salvation Ministries - October 27, 2018

We Rock The Spectrum! - October 27, 2018

Jacksonville Pumpkin Patch - October 28, 2018

Ortega United Methodist Church - October 28th, 2018

St. Johns Presbyterian Church - October 28, 2018

Lakewood Presbyterian Church - October 28, 2018

Orange Park Police Department and First Baptist Church of Orange Park - October 31, 2018

Westside Christian Church - October 31, 2018

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church - October 31, 2018

Heckscher Drive Baptist Church - October 31, 2018

 Billed as “A Corn Maze and more in Hilliard”, this is a local favorites with families and groups all over Jacksonville! Admission on Saturday gets you a wagon ride to the Corn Field Maze, races and games, farmyard animals, pedal karts, a pumpkin patch, and just about everything else Halloween-y you can think of!  When: Saturdays in October without reservations, Tuesday-Friday by reservation only  Where: 19856 County Road 121, Hilliard, Fl 32046

Billed as “A Corn Maze and more in Hilliard”, this is a local favorites with families and groups all over Jacksonville! Admission on Saturday gets you a wagon ride to the Corn Field Maze, races and games, farmyard animals, pedal karts, a pumpkin patch, and just about everything else Halloween-y you can think of!

When: Saturdays in October without reservations, Tuesday-Friday by reservation only

Where: 19856 County Road 121, Hilliard, Fl 32046

 When: October 20-21, 2018  Where: 2042 Park Avenue, Orange Park, Florida  Clay County’s largest arts and crafts festival! Over 200 food and craft vendors, two stages packed with entertainment, Inflatables, a rock wall, pony rides, an Atomic Bungee and an entire Kids Zone! I’m exhausted just reading about all of the fun stuff!

When: October 20-21, 2018

Where: 2042 Park Avenue, Orange Park, Florida

Clay County’s largest arts and crafts festival! Over 200 food and craft vendors, two stages packed with entertainment, Inflatables, a rock wall, pony rides, an Atomic Bungee and an entire Kids Zone! I’m exhausted just reading about all of the fun stuff!

7. Catty Shack Wildlife Sanctuary Haunted Forest

 When: Select dates October 12-28 2018  Where: Catty Shack 1860 Starratt Road, Jacksonville, FL 32226  You know about Catty Shack, right? A big cat sanctuary right here in Jacksonville, with a mission to provide safe, loving forever homes to endangered big cats. Experience Catty Shack Halloween-style by strolling through the sanctuary’s Trail of Fears. A costume contest, corn maze, crafts and games completes your night.

When: Select dates October 12-28 2018

Where: Catty Shack 1860 Starratt Road, Jacksonville, FL 32226

You know about Catty Shack, right? A big cat sanctuary right here in Jacksonville, with a mission to provide safe, loving forever homes to endangered big cats. Experience Catty Shack Halloween-style by strolling through the sanctuary’s Trail of Fears. A costume contest, corn maze, crafts and games completes your night.

6 Tips for Home Buyers in a Competitive Market

Buying a home right now can be very challenging. Many homes on the market are going for top dollar and often have multiple offers within the first few weeks - even days - of going on the market! Here are 6 tips to help you get the home you want in such a competitive real estate market. Read below for the tips, or watch the video below.

Tip 1. You may need to shift your mindset. This is not a market where you can be overly concerned about getting a great deal, or haggling. It's a seller's market. There are not enough homes for all of the buyers out there, so if you want a really good deal, you're going to have to go to Publix and do your BOGO there. Be prepared to pay full price if something is priced well - and maybe even over full price. It's a competitive market, so you may need to shift your mindset if you want to get the house you love. 

Tip 2. Do your homework. I know this is a crazy idea, but have your realtor pick up the phone and call the listing agent. Ask them "What's most important to your sellers?" What you find out might increase your chances of having your offer accepted. Let me give you an example. I have some customers right now who are selling their home and the new home that they're purchasing isn't going to be ready for another 60 days. And so my sellers are not interested in a "fast close" - they want a 60 day closing. We just went under contract and that agent was smart - she picked up the phone and called me to see what was important to my sellers. 

Tip 3. After your realtor calls, have them write up a very clean offer. And by that I mean, don't ask for anything out of the ordinary - just have your realtor read the MLS listing and see what conveys. Also, if you can help it, don't ask for them to pay for any of your closing costs - that effectively reduces the net proceeds to the seller. 

Tip 4. Consider increasing your binder deposit. The binder deposit is the amount of money that you put down that becomes a part of your down payment - the money that you bring "to the table". So say a seller has a home listed for $300k. They receive two full price offers and one has a $1k binder and the other has a $3k binder. Well, this isn't rocket science, the seller is going to go with the one that has a higher binder, because that buyer has more skin in the game. 

Tip 5. Write a personal letter. Ok, I'm going to tell you a secret now. Sellers wants to sell their home to someone they like! This is not a property that they're selling - this is their home! This is where they've made memories. And they want it to go to someone who can also love their home the way they did. And so make it easy to like you - write them a letter that talks about why you love the home - why is this a kick-ass home? Talk about the three things you love the most and really paint a picture of putting yourself in that home. 

Tip 6. Consider using an escalatory clause. If you know or suspect that there might be other offers on the table, go ahead and have your realtor write up a full price offer (assuming the comps support it) and then use an escalatory clause that says that you'd be willing to beat any other offer that comes in by a certain amount up to a certain amount. Example - you write a full price offer for a $300k home. You can use an escalatory clause that says that you'd be willing to beat any other offer by $500 up to $310k. The agent has to produce proof of the other offer to you and it has to be in a defined time period. Using an escalatory clause is a great tactic when you don't want to put all of your cards on the table at once and want to leave a little room before coming up to the top price that you're willing to offer for a home. 

Ok, so there you have it. Those are 6 tips that you can use to help you increase the chances of getting a home you love when the market is very competitive the way we're seeing now. 

Heather Buckman, Broker/Owner

Cowford Realty & Design

904.233.6766