Thousands of people — most dressed as various characters from books, movies, or TV shows — came out to the Harker Heights Community Park to attend the Harker Heights Halloween Hoopla Saturday night.

Nichole Broemer, Activities Center and events manager, anticipated more than 1,500 people would attend the event. The center pre-packaged 1,500 bags of candy to hand out, and they were prepared to give them all away.

All around the park, various vendors — 19 in total — handed out candy and other goodies to kids as they traversed the park.

Scattered throughout the event area were various yard games for kids to participate in for extra prizes, such as cornhole and a ring toss.

Representatives from Texas Tumblers had a gymnastics mat and offered passersby the opportunity to practice cartwheels.

Along the western edge of the event area, four large bounce house attractions, including an obstacle course, offered kids the opportunity to burn off some energy.

Harker Heights residents Amanda and Brian Bifulco brought their two sons Nathan, 4, and Nicholas, 1, to the Halloween Hoopla.

The Bifulcos even brought the family dog, Lacy, a golden retriever/collie mix.

Amanda Bifulco said Nathan’s favorite event was the bounce houses. She was also impressed with how the city uses the park.

“It’s awesome to see the unilization of park space for community activities,” she said.

For younger kids, aged 2 to 4 years old, such as Nathan Bifulco, there was an area partitioned off for a ghost hunt — similar to an Easter egg hunt — but with suckers “dressed” as ghosts.

Tiffany and Sean Brandt waited in line for the train ride with their 5-year-old daughter, Kaleigh, and 3-year-old son, Killian.

The children’s mother said Killian was most excited about the train ride.

Tiffany Brandt spoke about the vendors handing out candy.

“I am really impressed with the vendor turnout,” she said.

She also liked the yard games the young kids could participate in.

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