Believe it or not it is almost time for every ghost, goblin, and superhero — big or small — to ready their favorite attire in preparation for one of the City of Wyoming’s most popular events: the Pumpkin Path.
Yes, the annual activity that pretty much kicks of the haunting season in the city is set for Saturday, Oct. 8, at Lamar Park, 2561 Porter SW. The event is from 4 to 6 p.m.
“We have about 70 to 80 businesses attending who hand out a variety of items, candy, trinkets, coupons,” said Wyoming Recreation Programer Valarie Mester. “We encourage them to bring something for the kids as well as the adults because adults like things too.”
Because this event is free and does not require any registration, Mester said the department can only estimate on the number of people in attendance, which in the past has been around 7,000 people with about 2,000 – 3,000 being children.
“Most people do come in costume,” Mester said. “It is not required, but it is an opportunity to wear them earlier in the season.”
And perhaps no one knows costumes better than Gayle Vaartjes of Wyoming’s Kostume Room, 835 36th St. SW.
“Star Wars is going to be big this year,” Vaartjes said, adding that this is because of last Christmas’s release of Star Wars:The Force Awakens. “When there is a movie involved, it usually indicates if the costume is going to be popular.”
Another hit is the recently released Suicide Squad, with Harley Quinn, The Joker, and Deadshot being the most popular, she said.
“I have the Batman from the other moves and the other Jokers from the other movies as well,” Vaartjes said. “We have everything.”
“There are people who love Halloween,” Vaartjes said. “Just like there are some people who love Christmas and it’s their holiday and it’s a time to be someone else and just be creative.”
With the growth of the Pumpkin Path over the years, it is pretty apparent people do love the Halloween season. The Wyoming Parks and Recreation Department has been hosting the Pumpkin Path for about 13 years. “They used to host a Halloween party and that started to have a decline in attendance, so staff began to think about what else they could do,” Mester said. “Something that was out-of-the-box.”
Or at least down the path as patrons travel a paved loop through Lamar Park lined with various businesses stocked with treats to handout. Participating businesses can compete for such awards as most spirited, best costume, and best decorated pumpkin, which are judged by members of the teen council.
“It’s pretty neat,” Mester said. “We have had some pretty cool costumes over the years.”
A few tips Mester offered for those planning to attend:
The entrance to the free event parking is located on Byron Center Ave near where it intersects with Chicago Drive.
You do not need to arrive at 4 p.m. to participate. Actually, Mester said they have the first group that comes around 4 p.m. and they go through with usually a couple of more waves who come through after that. “So arriving around 5 p.m. is fine.”
The Pumpkin Path opens at 4 p.m. and not a second sooner.
For more information on this and other events hosted by the Wyoming Parks and Recreation Department, visit their website.