City Halloween festivities were all the rage Thursday evening.

Despite initial fears the weather would rain out the party, the eighth annual Harker Heights Halloween Hoopla took place in Carl Levin Park with hundreds of attendees.

Children, dogs and nearly as many parents wore costumes and enjoyed the late afternoon sun.

Organizer Nichole Broemer, with the Parks and Recreation Department, ran the tag a tot program, ensuring lost children’s parents could easily be reached by cellphone.

“There is prebagged candy, face painting, bounce houses and a DJ,” she said.

For many Harker Heights parents, it was a simpler alternative to going door to door in the traditional fashion.

“It’s nice to be in one place,” said mother of three Linda Barba. “It keeps the children busy.”

Still, children streamed out of the park into surrounding neighborhoods once they had their fill of the festivities.

At the Killen Special Events Center, the carnival was a bustling affair. Several massive rides dotted the parking lot, including a merry-go-round and slide.

“The turnout is better than we expected,” said Sara Davy, recreation superintendent, “and people are still coming.”

The line to enter the center stretched out the door, at times reaching W.S. Young Drive. Inside, a free pumpkin patch was a hit, alongside a carving and painting station.

Crowds gathered around a mini-arena for magic shows and dance performances, snacking on cotton candy and popcorn.

For grandmother Toni Brown, the carnival was a safer choice than trick-or-treating.

“There’s more to do too, than just look for candy,” she said. Her 10- and 11-year-old grandchildren waited in line for a ride, looking forward to testing out the family-friendly haunted house.

For children of all ages, the city celebrations proved ideal alternatives to trick-or-treating with more than enough candy for everyone.

Contact Madison Lozano​ at or 254-501-7552.

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