Hillsborough holds family-friendly Halloween celebration

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Tom Davis scares people with a pretend brain as they walk through a haunted hospital at the Hillsborough Spooktacular on Saturday evening. The annual event, hosted by the Orange County Department of Environment, Agriculture, Parks & Recreation, featured activities for children and families.

The spirit of Halloween was on full display in Hillsborough on Saturday.

About 1,000 people came out to the annual Halloween Spooktacular to enjoy Halloween games and festivities.

The event was hosted by the Orange County Department of Environment, Agriculture, Parks and Recreation and was held at the Central Recreation Center in downtown Hillsborough.

The festival centered on wholesome family-friendly Halloween activities, including carnival games, face painting and a haunted hospital.

Children braved long lines and risked smudged face paint for a chance to play in two bounce castles, which were the most popular attractions.

Families, many of whom ventured out in full costume, arrived steadily throughout the evening.

Laura Davis, a resident of Efland, attended the Halloween Spooktacular dressed as a witch with her granddaughter, who was dressed as a cat.

“I would love to see more people come to the event next year and for it to expand,” Davis said.

Attendees could vote for their favorite costume at a voting booth, which was open all night.

The costume contest was divided into three age groups.

Most participants were children, who came dressed in an array of costumes — ranging from vampires to lady bugs.

Photos of some of the most unique and admirable costumes of the night, including an elaborate robot and convincing pirate, were put on display in the voting booths.

Chris Sousa, county superintendent of recreation, said he was thankful for the support people showed for the event.

About 40 volunteers from local groups and the Department of Parks and Recreation helped run the event.

“We appreciate the volunteers,” Sousa said. “They allow us to be able to have this event.”

Molly Fitzsimons, the county’s recreation program supervisor, helped organize the event this year for the first time.

“The children’s costumes have been great to see. There was a great robot and jelly fish costume,” Fitzsimons said.

She said she was pleased with the turnout and was already looking forward to next year’s event.

“I already can see how to improve the event. I hope it keeps growing every year with more excitement,” she said.

Lynn Hecht, recreation manager for the department, was pleased with the event’s popularity.

“It’s a very low-cost activity for kids, and the kids can still trick-or-treat on Halloween,” Hecht said.

Contact the desk editor at city@dailytarheel.com.

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