WAXAHACHIE — With cooler temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes, and spooky stories abound — fall is here, and two Waxahachie organizations are throwing community festivals to celebrate.

While the Nicholas P. Sims Library is hosting it’s first-ever “Pumpkin Shine” jack-o-lantern carving contest for this year’s fall festival, while the Stagecoach Cowboy Church of Ellis County will host it’s “Trunk or Treat” celebration with games and sweets the whole family can enjoy.

“The library has been doing this festival for several years, but this will be our first ‘Pumpkin Shine,’” explained Holly Browning, the children’s librarian, and community liaison of the library. “

Inspired by Nicole Matthews, the Library’s outreach and programming coordinator, the free contest will range from painted to carved pumpkins, and as Matthews encourages - the more creative, the better.

“It’s not carving out your little triangles in jack-o-lanterns because you’re going to lose if you do that,” Matthews laughed. “I’m talking about creative styles, and the ones to win will be the craziest, out-of-the-box jack-o-lanterns.”

With three categories to enter that include an individual winner, business, and a school class, Browning encourages everyone to bring their best and most creative designs to the competition.

“It’s free to enter, and there will be a $50 prize,” Browning enticed. “And if a class enters and wins, we’ll provide a pizza party for them.”

“Or If a business wins it’ll be a cash prize, but if the business wants a pizza party instead, of course, we’ll give them a pizza party,” she teased.

Browning clarifies that the library will provide pumpkins to the first 20 contestants, encouraging those who want to bring their own to enter the contest before the cut-off time at 11 a.m.

Along with the pumpkin challenge, the library will also have a list of festivities on the lawn that incorporates everything from face painting to games, and an evening showing of the movie “Hocus Pocus” in the Lyceum of the library.

“We’ll have popcorn and drinks during the movie,” Browning encompassed. “And when that’s over it’s going to be dark outside, so I’ll announce the winner, and we’ll be able to see everyone’s jack-o-lanterns lit up outside.”

“And don’t worry, the ones that are painted we’ll have a flashlight shining on them,” she included.

In the same spunky spirit, the Stagecoach Cowboy Church is also adding to the seasonal enthusiasm and invites the community to attend its evening carnival as well.

“We’re doing this to celebrate the fall and to let the community know that we are here, and we want to invite them to come and be apart of our church family,” encouraged Trish Null, the “Trunk or Treat” event organizer.

“This is the first year we’re going to have the trucks in our arena, and we’re expecting to see it packed with a lot of kids running around, having fun, and we hope to share this family evening with the whole community,” she added.

With the trunk of the trucks acting as “game stations,” Null goes on to explain that each vehicle will be decorated with the theme of the game, and will give out prizes and candy to each participant.

“We’ll also have a cake walk, a chili cook-off, and a free hayride for the kids or adults, or whoever wants to ride,” Null chuckled. “And kids may want to bring their buckets for all the candy too.”

Null goes on to list the festival will additionally have a face painting station, a photo booth, seed sack races, and a bake sale as well.

“This is really for families to come, let their kids run around in our arena and have a good time without any fear of danger,” Null affirmed.

Inviting the community to attend, both events guarantee a family-friendly atmosphere with fun activates, candy, and games to go around.

The Sims Library “Fall Festival Pumpkin Shine” will be held on Oct. 21 with the pumpkin carving contest starting at 10 a.m. – 11 a.m., and the Halloween movie in the Lyceum at 5 p.m. The event will be located at the library on 515 North Main Street, Waxahachie. For more information, visit simslib.org or call (972)-937-2671.

The Stagecoach Cowboy Church of Ellis County is scheduled for Oct. 21 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Stagecoach Cowboy Church on 356 FM 55, Waxahachie. For more information, visit stagecoachcowboychurch.org or call (903)-669-2081.