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Thousands turn out for Arlington's Hometown Halloween
ARLINGTON — Pirates and zombies made their debut at Arlington’s “Hometown Halloween” this year, but they were joined by plenty of familiar favorites.
Karen Ricketts noted that Arlington Hardware conducted its 20th annual pumpkin-carving contest on Oct. 29, a tradition that began with a pumpkin weigh-in during its first year.
“Our winner for that year weighed 264 pounds,” Ricketts said. “We had 60 people entering pumpkins this year, which is about what we usually get. The weather didn’t hold anybody back,” she added, noting the day’s sunny skies.
Pastor Chad Blood and his family dressed up as the characters from “Tron Legacy,” but they hardly had the most elaborately decorated vehicle at the Lifeway Foursquare Church “Trunk or Treat” in the city of Arlington parking lot, as Wayne, Megan and Kathryn Dobbs donned costumes and outfitted a truck trailer with straw to recreate the Biblical story of Daniel in the den of lions.
Also in attendance were “The Pirates of Treasure Island,” who not only joined the Arlington Kiwanis Club in collecting food and financial donations for the Arlington Food Bank, as well as an estimated 200 pairs of shoes for Kids’ Kloset, but also judged the all-ages costume contest which followed the trick-or-treating on Olympic Avenue.
“This is difficult,” said Tony Thompson, a.k.a. “Captain Redbeard,” as he sized up close to 100 contestants based on style and originality. “There are a lot of really good costumes here.”
Eli Todd took first place in the ages 9-12 category for gluing a beard to his face, covering himself in copper-colored paint and affixing a cardboard disc on one shoulder to pose as an Abraham Lincoln penny, while Lellie Davis took third in that same category for transforming herself into a bag of jelly beans using a bunch of multicolored balloons. Moms Marcy Todd and Lorinda Davis admitted that they burned the midnight oil helping their kids put together their outfits.
“I also loved how dog-friendly the Hometown Halloween was this year,” said Lorinda Davis, who escorted her children and their pets up and down the sidewalks that day. “They got plenty of treats too. The pirate music added a lot to it as well, I think.”
DABA President Debora Nelson estimated that at least 700 kids filled their bags with candy from participating merchants, adding up to more than 2,000 visitors to downtown Arlington when parents and other adult relatives are included.
“It’s neat to see everyone participate,” Nelson said. “This year, the efforts of all the groups in the city culminated very well.”
Nelson credited this year’s turnout to advertising throughout the preceding week on KVOS TV, positive word-of-mouth and Hometown Halloween’s status as a town tradition.
“People expect Arlington to provide family fun,” Nelson said. “Even folks from others towns come here because they know what they’ll experience here in Arlington.”
Perhaps the only aspect of this year’s activities that wasn’t an improvement on last year’s Hometown Halloween was Lifeway’s pumpkin roll down the First Street hill, which saw few of its pumpkins make it all the way down the hill in the early rounds.
“I could swear those pumpkins rolled better last year,” Blood laughed, even as he thanked Foster’s Farm for donating 40 pumpkins to this year’s event.
Of those who managed to get their pumpkins in the baskets, Lisa Wild, 10, and Rebecca Favor, 13, cited their bowling experience, while Kimberly Luna, 11, and David Sotero, 12, simply pitched theirs as hard and fast as they could.
Downtown Arlington’s activities wrapped up that afternoon with the town’s first “Zombie Walk,” during which close to 40 shambling ghouls raised more than $400 for art supplies for local middle and high school-aged young people, by lurching down Olympic Avenue toward Legion Park.
“After I met a student in my gallery one day who was unable to do her art at home because she couldn’t afford the supplies, I decided to try and do something about it,” said Claire Cundiff, owner of Fogdog Gallery, who fully expects the undead to return to downtown Arlington for next year’s Hometown Halloween.