Emani Luna, 4, checks out all of the games and fellow trick-or-treaters during the annual Fall Festival at the Roswell Civic Center on Halloween night, Thursday. (Mark Wilson Photo)
The undead were walking, witches were flying, a swarm of Spidermen made an appearance and princesses danced around. A Cleopatra looked regal in her gown and headdress, while Mario and Luigi clambered around with beards almost as big as their faces.
As night fell upon Roswell Thursday, the Halloween spirit came alive at the City of Roswell Recreation Department’s annual Fall Festival at the Convention and Civic Center.
Thanks to some volunteers from Job Corps, New Mexico Military Institute and Roswell High School’s Honors Society, more than 2,000 kids and their parents were able to collect candy, play games and have a safe Halloween outing, said Mary Beardsley, recreation leader one.
The whole goal is fun and safety, and after being in charge of the festival for 15 years, Beardsley could do it with her eyes closed.
“It’s just something I enjoy doing,” she said. “It’s all about the kids… just the looks on their faces.”
And what faces. With such an elaborate array of costumes, some kids were completely hidden behind paint or masks as they played all sorts of carnival games.
One little Red Power Ranger particularly enjoyed “Gone Fishing.” Brayden Taylor, 5, caught two fish and therefore, won two pieces of candy to his already large loot.
But it wasn’t just the kids who got into the spirit. Plenty of adults were dressed in costumes ranging from the Hulk to a 20s gangster.
To add even more to the Halloween feel, the Roswell Zoo and Friends of the Roswell Zoo had a Creepy Crawly Grotto, a dark cave-like room filled with creepy, crawly creatures.
Guarded by Gandalf the Grey (who luckily changed the original quote to, “You SHALL pass,”) the grotto was filled with snakes, salamanders, a lizard, mice, a raven and an owl appropriately named “Frodo.”
“We’re just trying to educate and let people know all these animals are real (…) they’re not scary,” explained Zoo Director Elaine Mayfield, who was disguised as a “steampunk Egyptian adventuress.”
With enough candy to fill a van, the excited children had energy to spare while adults already looked tired — clearly the sign of a successful Halloween.