SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - There's a new reason to love fall and Halloween in South Mississippi. For almost a year, organizers have been fine tuning all the details for an eight-day Halloween festival that spans three cities.
The event is meant to give Coast residents and visitors another reason to enjoy the fall season. Out-of-towners Elisabeth Autrey and J.R. Wills say fall is one of their favorite holidays.
"Oh my gosh. I don't even know where to begin pumpkins, the leaves falling. The crunching of the leaves just everything. Everyone's happy," said J.R. Wills who is visiting Long Beach.
A new festival coming to the Coast promises to not only capitalize on everything we love about fall, but it also incorporates Halloween. It will be held in Long Beach, Pass Christian and Bay St. Louis.
"We need to bring back the fun for the kids. The adults my age, we miss our Halloween. So our merchants needed some kind of boost after Cruisin', and this is a little bit of all of that," said organizer Tammy Devin.
The event will have a unique vibe in each city. Pass Christian will focus on craft beer, live music and barbecue. Long Beach will center around pets and the children.
"We have partnered with the Human Society of South Mississippi and they are bringing Barktober fest over to the town green that weekend for us here in Long Beach. We'll have a pet parade," said Devin.
There will also be a pet costume contest, an agility course for dogs, kids games, a pop up escape room and pop up goofy golf. Arts and crafts vendors will also be present. Pass Christian will feature the haunted boat parade where guests can pay to ride the Ship Island Ferry.
Dapper Pig men's boutique owner John Huntoon is looking forward to seeing more people in Long Beach.
"Anything that brings people around is beneficial to everyone in the area, even if they don't step foot in my shop. If they go into the shops next door, the aesthetic that we provide that's future business that will come back," said Huntoon.
With marketing in cities like New Orleans and Mobile, Devin is hoping to see locals and people from across the state line attend the festival.
"I would totally go into Mississippi for a festival," said Elisabeth Autrey, who is also visiting Long Beach.
As a way to promote local businesses, visitors to every city can take part in a merchant passport drawing where they must visit various businesses to be entered into drawings.
Devin is still working out the specifics for what will happen in Bay St. Louis. Gulf Coast Halloween runs Oct. 24 through Oct. 31.
You can visit Gulf Coast Carnaval on Facebook to stay up to date on all the event details.