By Brandon HENSLEY
Across the foothills, Halloween was celebrated in a fun and safe way this week.
On Monday night in the Montrose Shopping Park, parents, children and even dressed-up dogs took to Honolulu Avenue for the annual Spooktacular event.
Seeing dogs in a witch or monkey costume may frighten Jay Leno, who despises clothes on animals, but it turned out to be a fun-filled night of trick-or-treating in a carnival-like atmosphere for all involved.
“It was really busy. It was huge, actually,” said MSPA promotional coordinator Linda McMenamin of the event, which went from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Children walked around with their parents and were given candy by each business they passed. Live music entertained, as did several booths where kids could play games such as dart throwing and beanbag toss.
And of course there were the costume contests. Categories included cutest, funniest and most original, and for the adults categories included scariest and most original. The animals had their own costume contest as well. Some of the get-ups included dogs dressed as a sheriff and angel.
“[The contests were] a little chaotic because there were so many kids, but it was really great to see how creative everyone was,” said McMenamin.
About the only thing that was off was the failed attempt to get people to dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” It was played several times, but only a few kids stepped out and danced, said McMenamin.
But that was a small blip on a night when the community was concerned about other things.
“It’s about creating a safe environment where the parents know their kids are protected and safe and creating a fun place for the kids to go,” McMenamin said.
It also doesn’t hurt the Shopping Park to draw positive attention to itself.
“Our intention for this event is more promotional. To promote the Shopping Park and the merchants and to promote our wonderful town of Montrose and to let it be known how family-friendly we are,” McMenamin said.
Fun was also had in Glendale at Leon Café & Bakery. The restaurant, which opened this past year, had a haunted house at the Knights of Columbus building next door from Friday to Sunday.
The house was elaborate; there was a horror scene in the kitchen, and a projector was set up in the main banquet hall that played old silent scary movies. Kid volunteers were dressed up in costume to lead younger ones to a black-lit room with neon dots where people wore black camouflage, so it looked like the walls were moving.
“The neighborhood was really happy with it. It seems like a big success,” said Leon manager Karyn Solomon. “It was a bit of struggle on our part but we feel like it was worth it and we’re looking to have more events in the future.”
Solomon said the restaurant took donations during the weekend to help the local schools. She said they plan on doing more events to benefit the area, like a possible Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas party.
“We’d like to participate in community events and charities that go on, so we want to continue bringing that back to our business so people know that we’re a place where community and family is welcome,” she said.