Arlington celebrates Hometown Halloween

Austin Kaminski is carted around as a “little pumpkin” for Halloween in downtown Arlington. - Kirk Boxleitner
Austin Kaminski is carted around as a “little pumpkin” for Halloween in downtown Arlington.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Arlington’s Hometown Halloween boasted so many events that families who attended them all barely had time to catch their breath in between.

Arlington Hardware’s annual pumpkin-carving contest drew 64 entries at 11 a.m., Oct. 31, well off from their record of nearly 90 pumpkins, but still one of their better showings.

“We’ve never had such a group,” said Karen Ricketts, who’s judged the event since it started, even though she can’t remember how many years ago that was. “They were extremely talented.”

Among the winning entries, Mary Andrews’ Cinderella-style horse-drawn pumpkin carriage netted her “Best Story Theme” in the ages 6-9 category, while Noah Larson’s cobbling together of a collection of mini-pumpkins to create a creepy pumpkin-spider earned him the “Judges’ Choice” award.

Just as much creativity was on display during the 1 p.m. costume contest at the Legion Park gazebo, which kicked off after the kids had been given a full hour to trick-or-treat the businesses on Olympic Avenue. Brothers Parker and Austin Hardy sported silvery, boxy robot outfits, complete with holes in their cardboard chests to store their Halloween candy. Eric Fleming pulled the hood of his sweater as tight around his face as he could to dress up as Kenny from “South Park,” while C.J. Newton wore a suit made entirely out of duct-tape, complete with mask.

City of Arlington Recreation Coordinator Sarah Hegge estimated that this year’s costume contest had more entrants than a number of previous years, in spite of gray skies and a cold drizzle that continued through the costume and pumpkin pie-tasting contests at the gazebo, into the pumpkin roll down the cordoned-off First Street hill. The Arlington Lifeway Foursquare Church agreed to conduct this event for the city after its absence from last year’s activities. They drew so many competitors that even after grouping them by age the final group nearly stretched the width of First Street to bowl their mini-pumpkins into waiting plastic tubs and receive their candy prizes.

Olympic Place gave families a shelter from the bad weather, along with plenty of activities for kids, from 2:30-4 p.m. Senior resident Dorothy Sturgeon got into the spirit by pinning purple balloons to herself to costume as a bunch of grapes.

“We’ve just been mobbed,” Sturgeon said. “It’s been very successful, I think. It keeps the kids off the streets, and you get to dress up and act silly.”

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