By Shawn Nowlin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Animals, costumes and candy, there’s arguably no better way to kick off Halloween.
Such a scene is what many local and area families experienced on October 23 when the Salem Red Sox hosted its Annual Spooktacular Weekend.
Presented by the Branch Group, there were vendors as well as games, bounce houses, Disney Princesses and much more. Guests were encouraged to dress in costume and bring their trick-or-treat bags. Those who dressed up were eligible to participate in the event’s outfit contest.
When Zayla Clarkson arrived with her family at the event, the first thing her daughter did was point at the different costumes. “She kept saying ‘Mommy look. Isn’t that so cool?’ She wanted to personally approach people and tell them what she thought of their outfits.”
The event, which lasted from 4 to 6 p.m., is now in its seventh year. Zylah Brown, 14, was nine the first time her family took her to the event. Today, she says it’s something that she looks forward to every October.
“The way I see it, you are never too old to receive some free candy. Because I’m slightly smaller than my peers, I often get mistaken for much younger that I actually am,” she said. “Seeing the younger children so happy with all the action around them reminds me of myself at their age.”
Each year, there are certain events that Rodney Caldwell and his family make sure not to miss. The Spooktacular Weekend, he noted, is certainly one of them. “All three of my kids are approaching their teen years. Fully aware of this, my wife and I want to enjoy as many of these moments as we can before they don’t want to hang with us anymore,” he added.
John Williams, a self-described comic book fanatic who brought his son to the event, said the best part was seeing so many new designs for the first time. On more than a few occasions, he says he asked parents where they got their outfits from.
“My ten-year-old son and I had a wager on how many Marvel and DC characters we would see throughout the event. I put the over/under number at ten and he thought that was too high. We saw Black Panther, Batman, Wonder Woman, Deadpool, Iron Man, Super Man and so many others. Suffice to say, I won the bet which means he now has to do the dishes for the next three weeks,” Williams said with a laugh.
It took months to prepare, but when it was all said and done, event organizers noted that they were pleased with the outcome.