Maybe it’s the spectacularly spooky haunted house. Or the lineup of creatively decorated “trunk-or-treat” stops.
Whatever the reason, the hauntingly fun Halloween celebration at Whetstone Fire station has become a local tradition.
Every Saturday before Halloween, the fire station on Camino de Manana swells with children of all ages for a family-fun festival with food vendors, jumping castles and that infamous haunted fire station. Long before the doors open at 6 p.m., a line of adventurous souls starts to form and continues to snake along the side of the building well into the evening.
Last Saturday was no exception, as people lined up for Whetstone Fire District’s sixth annual Halloween festival to experience this year’s classic horror film theme, “Horror Time Medley.”
Youngsters decked out in their Halloween costumes filled the fire station property as they made their way around the trunk-or-treat cars, disguised as different eerie scenes. Some crowd favorites included a scene out of “Beetlejuice,” a Volkswagen Bug transformed into a giant spider draped in webs filled with arachnid side-kicks, and a spooky van, complete with spiders, skeletons and red-eyed creatures. Some of the stops had a quieter side, appealing more to the younger crowd.
Dressed as a lady pirate in sparkly pink, 5-year-old Grace Richardson enjoyed patting robotic spiders with flashing red eyes at the spider den stop.
“This is such a wonderful event for the kids; it’s so much fun,” said Darci Richardson, Grace’s mother. “The costumes are so cute, and the kids are having a blast.”
Camrynn Miller, 10, attends the Leman Academy of Excellence in Sierra Vista. Dressed as Lydia Deetz from “Beetlejuice,” she was part of the trunk-or-treat movie scene with her mother, Delia Deetz and raspy ol’ Beetlejuice himself.
“I’m having a lot of fun,” Miller said. “I think it’s great that so many people know about ‘Beetlejuice’ and everyone comments on how much they like our car decorations.”
While most participants enjoyed the festival’s activities, a group of 16-year-old Buena High School girls were busy selling food items as a fundraiser for their softball travel team, Sierra Vista Diamonds.
“We’re really surprised by how many people are here,” said Caitlyn Dion, one of the team members. “There are a lot of fun costumes coming through here and the little kids are really cute.”
Jennifer Widdows brought her three children to the event.
“I think it’s awesome that the fire department does this for the community,” she said. “It’s an amazing event and so much fun for the kids.”
Whetstone resident Michelle Bell has been bringing her children to the Halloween festival every year since its inception.
“It’s so much fun for all the kids,” she said. “And, most of all, it’s safe. Kids come from all over for this, and everyone has a good time.”
Children from Huachuca City School, Joyce Clark Middle School, Buena High School, and several charter schools out of Sierra Vista attended Saturday’s festival.
“There’s just not much for kids to do in Whetstone, which is one of the reasons we started this event,” said Whetstone Fire District Chief Peter Bidon, while handing prizes to the top three trunk-or-treat winners. “We estimate we had around 500 kids here through the evening. It gets bigger every year. The haunted house is done by the firefighters on their own time. They do a great job. The community involvement is fantastic and people look forward to this every year.”