Monsters and ghouls mingle with princesses and superheroes during the Fall Festival, Wednesday, at the Roswell Convention and Civic Center. Mark Wilson Photo
Roswell Parks & Recreation’s annual Fall Festival at the Civic Center was the place to be for a fun alternative to trick-or-treating on Halloween night, complete with inflatable soccer, jolly jumps, Pin-the-Face-on-the-Pumpkin, beanbag tosses and oh yeah, lots and lots of candy.
Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest greeted families at the door with free arts and crafts, inviting children to make spiders and little vampires out of pipe cleaners and lollipops.
Spring River Park & Zoo brought along its Creepy Crawler Grotto, showing off curious creatures like a great horned owl, raven, bull snake, ball python, albino garter snake, bearded dragon, tiger salamanders, emperor scorpion and desert tarantula. Marge Woods, animal keeper, said of all the animals in the grotto, the owl’s unpredictable movement captures the Halloween spirit the most. “The kids don’t know if it’s real or not.
Then when she moves, it’s ‘Ahhh! It’s real!” Woods added that the zoo’s participation in any event boils down to education. “I want them to be a little scared but curious. To say, ‘What is that?’
“That’s very important. One of the main things about zoos is education. Even in doing something like this, we’re going to teach them something. We call it painless education. They will learn something whether they realize it or not.”
Mary Beardsley, recreation leader one, said Fall Festival has been keeping children safe and entertained for more than 16 years, sharing all the fun Halloween has to offer without the need to travel all over town.
“We like to provide a safe place for children to go to, with candy their parents don’t have to worry about,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun. I can tell you my kids have never gone trick-or-treating out in the public. They’ve grown up here, and they haven’t missed out on anything.”
Roswell resident Matthew Little brought his four children to the event, which he said reminds him of what Halloween was like when he was a kid.
“When I was a kid, I loved it. I know the kids love dressing up and being different characters.
“I think it’s great that the community of Roswell supports the young kids and has something set up for them to do, away from being out at night with all the cars and traffic. It’s real safe for them.”
Parks and Recreation superintendent Laurie Jerge said like many holidays, Halloween is about families coming together as a unit to enjoy activities. She said it never surprises her to see parents enjoy the holiday about as much as their kids.