Get into the spirit of Halloween with The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion’s Hocus Pocus Pops “Spooktacular” Essay Contest. For those who dare, write your spookiest story or Halloween tale. It can be purely fictional or based on personal experience. Get creative! The contest is open to all students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Grade categories for the contest are kindergarten, first to second grade, third to fourth grade, fifth to sixth grade, seventh to eight grade, and ninth to 12th grade. The essay contest begins Sept. 1 and ends Oct. 3.

Participants receive some “fang-tastic” prizes. One winner is chosen from each grade category and each receives a $25 gift card to H-E-B, a $25 gift card to, four VIP tickets to the Houston Symphony’s Hocus Pocus Pops Oct. 28 and has their essay printed in the program for that event. Winners are notified the week of Oct. 10. One Grand Prize winner receives an Amazon Kindle, a $100 gift certificate to Market Street – The Woodlands and has their essay printed in The Courier and The Villager newspapers. The Grand Prize winner is drawn at random from the six finalists and announced at Hocus Pocus Pops. Each participant in the contest is entered into a drawing for a variety of prizes. The Hocus Pocus Pops “Spooktacular” Essay Contest is sponsored by The Courier and The Villager, Woodlands Online and Simply Tutoring.

Hocus Pocus Pops, featuring the Houston Symphony, is an evening full of “terror-ific” music guaranteed to scare up some fun as Brett Mitchell conducts the symphony with chilling music and spooky sounds. Daddies, mummies and little ghosts and goblins can dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes. The first 100 kids in costume to check in at Hocus Pocus Central can participate in the Goblin Parade that snakes across the stage during the concert. For a delightful “ex-fear-ience,” arrive early for pre-concert activities in the Fidelity Investments Plaza starting at 6 p.m. Little monsters can create their own spine-tingling music at The Pavilion Partners Instrument Petting Zoo and can ignite their haunting imaginations creating lollipop ghosts at The Partners arts and crafts booth. Enjoy ghoulish activities by H-E-B, Houston Family Magazine, Woodforest National Bank, Fidelity Investments, Montgomery County Food Bank and Audi of America, official automobile of The Pavilion. “Monster Mash” it up in the House of Blues Hospitality Tent with music, dancing and great prizes from the Radio Disney Road Crew from 6-7:15 p.m. Tickets for Hocus Pocus Pops are $15 for orchestra seating. Mezzanine and lawn seating are free courtesy of H-E-B. Tickets are not required for free seating. Gates open at 6 p.m. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

If you would like more information about the essay contest, contest rules or tickets to Hocus Pocus Pops, please visit


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