Halloween lineup keeps kids safe, active


PUMPKINS ARE SYNONYMOUS with Halloween, whether pumpkins are carved, painted or used as bowling balls. This pumpkin was carved for a series of Jack O’ Lantern displays that took place last weekend at McLaughlin Gardens in South Paris. There are plenty of pumpkin-affiliated events planned for this weekend through Halloween, which falls on Tuesday this year. (De Busk Photo)                                                                   Halloween Events
Fix up your car, put on your costumes, and join in the fun at the Lake Region 6th Annual Trunk or Treat festivities on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 1 to 4 p.m. This is a family-friendly event and will be held rain or shine at Lake Region High School.
Bridgton Recreation Department will host its annual Halloween Party on Tuesday, Oct. 31, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Old Town Hall on North High Street. Kids of all ages are invited to this free party featuring a costume contest as well as games, prizes, music, cotton candy, popcorn, and a jump house. The costume contest takes place at 6:15 p.m. (register online for the contest at bridgtonmaine.org/bridgton-recreation), with Musical Chairs at 7 p.m., and a Freeze Dance at 7:30 p.m.
And for those a bit older and perhaps less dramatically inclined, the Warming Room at the Bridgton United Methodist Church, 214 Main St., will also be open on Halloween night, Oct. 31, from 5 to 7 p.m., offering hot coffee, hot cocoa, places to rest, and a potty. Treats for all and no tricks! Everyone is welcome.
The Harrison Rec Department will be holding a Halloween Festival at the fire station, 34 School St., from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31. The event is free and open to the public and everyone is welcome.
The annual scrumptious and “spooktacular” Saturday Night Supper will be held this Saturday, Oct. 28, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Casco Village Church United Church of Christ, 941 Meadow Road (Rte. 121) in Casco. Dress in costume and get a treat! A grand prize gift basket will be awarded for the best adult costume and a fun prize will be given to the best kid’s costume. Come enjoy baked beans and hotdogs, casseroles, rolls, yummy desserts, beverages, and, new this month — a salad bar! All for only $8 per adult, $5 for children under eight, and $21 maximum for a family with young children. Don’t be a scaredy cat — join in for some great Halloween fun, food, and friends — no tricks, only treats!
The annual Halloween “Trunk or Treat” Harvest Festival at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds is taking place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Decorate your car and come in costume to have a fun, family-friendly Halloween night.

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

When the grandparents of today’s trick-or-treaters were children, their choices may have been which street to walk down first or whether to accept the dare to venture inside that dark and spooky vacant home in the neighborhood.

Now-a-days once a Halloween costume has been nailed down like the outside of a vampire’s coffin, there is the matter of deciding what to do.

With the popularity of Halloween on the rise, the choices of where to go and what to do are numerous enough to make one’s head spin.

Certainly, each town in the Lake Region has something to offer. While Halloween seems to be tailored for children, there are events well-suited for adults, too.

The students at the Naples Before and After School Care, which is operated by Kim Litchfield, are already looking forward to the Pumpkin Painting Party. The event takes place Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Naples Singer Center.

“The kids are really excited about just painting the pumpkins. They overheard me and Kim talking about it, and they said they couldn’t wait to paint pumpkins again,” according to Marie Kilding, a member of Naples Main Street, which sponsors the annual event.

Friday’s Pumpkin Painting Party is open to all local children, not just those enrolled in the program, Kilding said.

“We are trying to expand this for all Lakes Region children. It’s open to anybody,” she said.

She clarified that the pumpkin painting is geared toward the younger children. The pumpkins are judged by categories and the winners receive prizes.

“Halloween is a pretty big deal. People really get into the decorating and all the other activities,” Kilding said.

The Singer Center is located in the Naples Village Green, near the Town Hall and the U.S. Post Office.

All of the area’s recreation departments offer family-friendly events on Halloween night, rather than the weekend prior to Oct. 31.

According to Casco Recreation Director Beth Latsey, “It should always be on the day of Halloween, no matter what day of the week that is.”

“It is a good safe alternative to going out randomly on the street. That is why we do it on Halloween, not the weekend before,” Latsey said. “We want to provide a safe, fun place for children in the community.”

The Halloween Spooktacular takes place Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m., at the Casco Community Center. It is sponsored by the Naples and Casco recreation departments and open to children in fifth grade or younger from both towns.

A Halloween costume parade is slated for 7 p.m. Prior to the parade, there will be opportunities for children to play games, pick out prizes, enjoy refreshments like donuts and apple cider, and have someone reveal their future.

“The fortune teller is in the small room. We haven’t had it in a few years. But, the last time we had the fortune teller, the line was so long that it was congesting the hallway,” Latsey said. “So, we are moving it around a little bit this year.”

“The beauty of it is: You can come with the family for an hour and a half. And then still have time in the evening to keep older kids happy with trick-or-treating at a few houses on the way home,” she said.

“We give candy out, too. We give the kids a decent amount of candy,” Latsey said. “They can get everything they need here.”

“With Halloween here, the next thing is basketball. It’s not too late to sign up and work off all that candy. So, contact your local rec director,” she said.

Bridgton Recreation Director Gary Colello is encouraging people planning to go to the Town Halloween Party to register online. People can show up without registering first, but the department is trying to get folks acquainted with the new registration system, he said.

“We are just trying to get our online registration moving and get people used to it. Our opening registration is for the Town Halloween Party,” he said. “If people register online and RSVP for the party, they will be entered into drawing for a prize.”

The Town Halloween Party will be in the Old Town Hall on North High Street, on Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m.

Like Latsey, Colello said the event is about safety and convenience for area children and their parents.

“You don’t have to walk all over Bridgton for your candy. This will be a fun, safe place to hang out for a couple hours, enjoy the music and have fun,” he said.

“I think it promotes community, community involvement and gets friends together,” he said.

The evening includes a Halloween costume contest, games, a bouncy house and activities including freeze dance.

“Freeze dance: it is like musical chairs without getting the chairs out. The music is playing. I tell the kids what they have to do when the music stops. For example, I say when the music stops, you have to freeze with your finger on your nose. It keeps the kids bouncing around. It creates fun and competition,” Colello said. “They will go to town with freeze dance.”

While the dancing game is rather involved, refreshments will be light and easy.

“We want cleanup to be easy — just pulling the tablecloth and throwing it away at the end of the night,” he said. “We will have some kind of food, some snacks, they could even be healthy or cold. It depends on what people donate and what is on sale at the store this week.”

Colello said keeping the Halloween event simple has been a good bet. The weather determines how packed the party is.

“A couple years in a row, we’ve had 300 to 400 kids. A couple years ago, when it rained we had close to 400. It depends on the weather,” he said.

In the town next door, the Harrison Halloween Festival will be held at the Harrison Fire Station on Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The festival is for children 12 years old and younger; and all children must be accompanied by an adult, according to the flyer. Activities at the Harrison Halloween Festival include pumpkin bowling, an eyeball hunt and cookie decorating.

Also, on Halloween night, there will be a Trunk or Treat at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds. There is a brief window of opportunity to participate in the second year of this Trunk or Treat. It goes from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

According to Lovell Recreation Director Meg Dyer, “There are a bunch of organizations together doing it.

In addition to Lovell’s recreation department, the Fryeburg Recreation Department, the Interact group from Fryeburg Academy, Early Act from Mollyocket Middle School (MMS) and the Parent-Teacher Associations from MMS and New Sumtook Elementary School will be involved in the fast-paced Trunk or Treat night.

“The cars will be parked; they decorate their vehicles and there is candy. The kids don’t actually reach inside the trunk of the car; the candy is handed to them,” Dyer said. “Instead of going from house to house, they go from car to car.”

Other activities include a bouncy house and a cake walk.

“In our area, because we are so rural, Fryeburg always got slammed with trick or treaters. And, we would drop off our kids in Fryeburg and walk around,” Dyer said.

The Trunk or Treat “is in a confined space. We don’t have to worry about traffic, moving vehicles,” she said.

“People are under the impression that we are trying to take away the neighborhood trick or treating. That is not true,” she said. “The neighborhood trick or treating is a good tradition. We don’t want to take that away,” Dyer said.

For residents of Naples, Casco, Bridgton and Sebago, a different Trunk or Treat event will be held on Saturday — several days before Halloween. The Trunk or Treat will be at the Lake Region High School from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday. Volunteers will take the candy-gathering event inside if it rains.

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