Family – and Spooky – Fun Celebrates Halloween

Thousands converged on Honolulu Avenue for Spooktacular on Halloween night before heading to nearby Sparr Heights neighborhoods.
Photo by Charly SHELTON

By Michelle GANIAN, Mary O’KEEFE and Ruth SOWBY

Halloween fun could be found throughout the community beginning over the weekend.

 Looking at the crowds, the Montrose Shopping Park’s Annual Spooktacular event was a family friendly success.

The event, sponsored by the Montrose Shopping Park Association, is a popular community tradition. For those who have not attended, the 2200, 2300 and 2400 blocks of Honolulu Avenue are closed to vehicular traffic allowing spooks and goblins to roam the streets without the fear of cars. Shop owners open their doors to trick-or-treaters who line up to collect candy. It is a safe and fun way, especially for the youngest ghosts and goblins, to trick or treat.

The restaurants and shops along Honolulu were busy as well with families who came for Halloween candy but stayed for great food and great buys at the local stores.

After trick-or-treating in the shopping park, a lot of trick-or-treaters found their way to nearby Sparr Heights neighborhoods where residents were ready to celebrate All Hallows Eve in style. Many of the homes were decorated and residents sat outside with buckets of candy ready for trick-or-treaters who made their way down the pathway of the house.

The Dads’ Club in Glendale held its third annual Spooktacular event, this year titled Mystery of the Verdugo Mines. It featured extensive live action sets found in each room that captured the eerie atmosphere of mid-19th century gold rush lore with piano bar saloons, candlelit chambers, clues at every turn and even sci-fi alien wormhole tunnels. The decorations were reminiscent of film productions or a theater stage as ticketholders were guided through a sequence of enigmatic events.

“Many of the dads are in the industry,” said Chris Corbett, long time VP and prominent member of Dads’ Club.

This was evident since many of the rooms were professional in their artistry and staging. The construction of the sets was done by fathers of students at Verdugo Woodlands Elementary School. Glendale mayor Dan Brotman was one of the actors on-site. 

According to Corbett, the popular Fathers’ Follies dates back to the 1950s and is one of the longest running PTA fundraising events. It celebrated its 76th anniversary in May 2022. The Fathers’ Follies is traditionally a male production, offering a variety show of three groups that showcase a cappella and dance performances within a play that includes the dads dressing up in costumes. However, last year that tradition was broken when the organization voted to include a woman in the show. This was done, in part, to encourage diversity.

The Dads’ Club also holds game nights, movie nights, a pancake breakfast and a back-to-school barbecue along with Spooktacular and the Fathers’ Follies variety show.

“Overall,” said Corbett, “it is an extremely rewarding experience, and it makes me feel grateful about serving my community.” 

After solving the haunted mine mysteries, guests were led into an auditorium where the youth played games and won treats as parents mingled and chatted. The Fathers’ Follies posters of each year lined the walls that marked the path of an enduring family tradition. 

At the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, over a thousand little ghosts and goblins (and their families) were welcomed at the station’s trunk-or-treat event.

CVSS personnel, CHPs, EMTs, Explorer Scouts and volunteers were on hand at the station on Briggs Avenue, which was decorated with prop skeletons breathing fire, witches, ghouls and ghosts – even scary looking Barbies were found dressed in black.

For years, the station has hosted an annual Halloween event. On Oct. 28, the free event included a car show with ghoulishly decorated vehicles. Costumed kids with their candy buckets went from car to car trick-or-treating. In addition to candy, the station also had games, music, food and a costume contest. This was the first year a movie was screened; this year’s offering – “Hotel Transylvania 3” – included popcorn. Goblin parents and friends sat in chairs with blankets to ward off a little pre-Halloween chill. 

According to Sgt. John Gilbert, “Our purpose is to offer a family-centered event for the community to come out and enjoy.” 

Photos by Michelle GANIAN, Mary O’KEEFE, Charly SHELTON, Ruth SOWBY