The wet weather didn’t scare away the ghosts, ghouls and goblins from the 12th annual Halloween Hoopla on Tuesday. It simply moved from the Community Park to the activities center, which was transformed into a Halloween-Land starting at 5:30 p.m.
The event, hosted by the City of Harker Heights and Parks and Recreation Department, drew more than 1,000 kids and parents who flooded into every creepy crevice and cranny soaking up the chills and thrills.
Peter Pan was the Wilson family’s theme with Andrew Wilson as Capt. Hook, Lila Wilson was Peter Pan and 2-year old Alina Wilson dolled up as Tinker Bell.
The event was a first for the family.
“It’s great time and lots of fun, and that’s what matters,” Andrew Wilson said.
The decision to move the event inside was made at 11 a.m. said Nichole Broemer, Harker Heights recreation and events coordinator, forcing two vendors to cancel since they had outdoor activities.
“Instead of going door-to-door trick-or-treating in the rain, this is a safe, warm and fun place for kids to enjoy Halloween,” she said.
The department staff and volunteers prepared 1,500 bags of candy to give out as soon as people walked in. Many stopped for photos in the lobby, sitting on hay bales surrounded by pumpkins.
Inside the main room, around 20 area businesses, organizations and nonprofits offered mounds of candy and toys from their booths.
VFW Ladies Auxiliary 3892 also made a monetary donation to support the event.
Kids enjoyed playing the games and activities, like bean bag toss, ladder ball and paint a pumpkin and face painting done by Lisa Youngblood, the Harker Heights library director. She wore her own homemade sparkly fairy costume.
“I love seeing all the kids dressed in their costumes having so much fun,” Youngblood said.
The costumes ranged from traditional ones, such as ghosts and super heroes, to more elaborate outfits, like a mermaid, a mummy and six-foot T-Rex.
Batman, Braylon Mitchell, 4, and Spiderman, Trenton Mitchell, 6, tried to outdo each other in the bean bag toss while mom, Brittany Mitchell watched.
“This is our first time here and the kids are loving it,” she said.
Spiderman won the toss, too.
“Halloween is good fun,” said Trenton Mitchell.
Wearing an all pink cowgirl outfit, complete with boots, hat and vest, was Sunjai McCoy, 2.
“I’m loving this as much as the kids because it’s a safe, alternate place for them to come,” said Gatono McCoy.
Some of the vendors included Paws for Pits, Express ER and Little Shop of Lost Arts, along with Trinity Baptist Church and Re/Max Red Zone and ERA Colonial Real Estate.
Players from Swordplay put on a recreational fencing demo while Daniel Harvey, of Martial ZEN, showed kids how to break a small wooden board with one hand.
“It’s good community event with everyone getting together to take advantage of a lot of different things offered in the area,” Harvey said.
And after the kids devoured the candy and treats, Ace Dental staff stayed busy handing out free toothbrushes.