Timid kiwi were not the only creatures crouching in the shadows as hundreds of families discovered while exploring Rainbow Springs Halloween Festival.
The popular tourist attraction was transformed into a place of horrors with a piranha pool, pirates graveyard and creepy-crawly tunnel.
Rainbow Springs online marketing manager Shelley Burnett said they sold out for the day, with 1000 people buying pre-sale tickets.
"This is the fourth Halloween we've done and we try to go bigger and better every time. The themed areas of the park are a big hit and it's so great to see whole families getting into the spirit.
"Halloween is creeping up on people's agendas and we love to be able to provide a safe, secure environment for everyone to enjoy the holiday."
Rotorua mum Chelsea Weir said this year's event was fantastic.
"It's been so cool and very well run, it was a good idea to do pre-sales because the lines were moving faster and it was more relaxing.
"I'm not into the randomly door-knocking strangers because it goes against everything the kids are taught about stranger danger in school and at home. Having this event to come and let the kids trick or treat in a controlled, safe environment is perfect."
Harley King said this was the first time she and her children had come to Rainbow Springs' Halloween event.
"We heard about this and thought we would check it out, we've tried trick or treating in Rotorua but found most people were a bit disgruntled. This way the kids can dress up and have a good time but also with that safety factor."
Celebrating Halloween safely is again the big message from police, who are encouraging parents, caregivers and children to celebrate Halloween safely by ensuring children always go trick-or-treating with an adult, stay in areas that are well lit and only visit houses where they know the residents and to be careful not to scare elderly people.
Trick or Treat tips
* Stay in areas that are well lit and only go where children know the residents
* Always go trick or treating with an adult
* Stay together with your friends
* If you see a sign on the door that says 'no trick or treat here' then respect the householder's decision
* Understand that Halloween is not an excuse to commit a crime
* Householders don't have to open the door or respond to knocks from Halloween visitors
* Parents or caregivers should accompany children and not let them go off with people they do not know
* Attend one of the many local community events as an alternative option.
- Source: www.police.govt.nz