Festive events to kick off in Tomball, Magnolia

Residents and visitors will have an opportunity to showcase a variety of Halloween and Renaissance-era costumes this weekend during two annual events open to the public in the Tomball and Magnolia area.

Beginning at 5 p.m., Zomball in Tomball takes place Oct. 11 along Market Street. The free event features more than 24 local businesses and organizations on display to distribute candy as part of "Trunk or Treat," and children are encouraged to wear family-friendly costumes.

On-site Halloween-themed attractions include a creepy caboose and menacing maze as well as other games and music. The animated film "Hotel Transylvania" plays on a giant inflatable screen at the Downtown Depot Plaza located at 201 S. Elm Street.

In addition, the 40th annual Texas Renaissance Festival begins Oct. 11 and runs through Nov. 30 in Todd Mission—located an estimated 7 miles from Magnolia. The festival is open to the public for eight weekends and features a variety of entertainment and vendors, including artisans, merchants, themed feasting areas and performance companies.

This opening weekend of the festival welcomes Oktoberfest with bratwurst, beer, polka dancing and German-themed contests. Internationally known artist Real Musgrave, the creator of Pocket Dragons, is available to sign 40th anniversary posters and other memorabilia for sale inside the festival.

For the first time ever, the festival is hosting King Midas' Masquerade each Saturday from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. through the end of November. Guests are asked to dress in costume and wear a mask. The masquerade is held in a new $1 million Greek temple-themed facility with a 15,000-square-foot pavilion featuring dance areas, entertainment, dinner and alcoholic beverages.

A free shuttle service to the festival is offered each weekend by the city of Magnolia and is extended to accommodate visitors who attend the masquerade ball and stay at Magnolia Inn & Suites or Executive Inn & Suites. Regular festival ticket prices are $13 for children and $27 for adults.

For more information on the events, visit www.tomballtx.gov and www.texrenfest.com.