(Photos by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
The second annual Halloween Family Fun Day is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in Malone Park in downtown Sikeston. It will feature concessions, games, costume contests, story time, hay rides and more.
"I think the biggest draw actually is that the kids get to dress up on a day rather than Halloween," said Kathy Medley, chairperson of the event. "And it's neat to bring your pet and dress them up, too."
Mandy Pratt, executive director of the Historic Midtown Development Group, which sponsors the event, agreed. "The children's costume contest was bigger than expected last year," she said.
But equally as popular are the events planned for animals.
"We've done (the costume contest) for a couple of years and it has been really popular," said Lanette Baker, director at the Sikeston Area Humane Society. "We've had some really cute costumes."
Baker said some people go all out when it comes to dressing up their pets. "A lot of times people will dress up to match their pets," she said.
She said she's glad she doesn't have to pick the winner. "We just pull judges from the audience," she said.
Another activity to involve the pets in is the blessing of the animals.
"It's just something really neat," Baker said. "They say the blessing and then they do individual blessings for each animal."
The Rev. John Goodwin of Hunter Memorial Presbyterian Church will officiate over the blessing. All animals can come, as long as their owners can control them, Baker said.
One new feature at this year's event will be "ghoulish games" for children. For 50 cents, children can try the witch's hat toss, ghost saver or great pumpkin toss.
"I wanted to put a little fun in it for the kids," said Julie Grant, an HMDG volunteer who made the games. "They're just little challenging games."
Hayrides will be offered for free throughout the event. And there will be two story times during the event, led by Ann Thompson, children's librarian at the Sikeston Public Library.
Medley noted there are several food vendors who plan to attend. There will be funnel cakes, kettle corn, barbecue, baked goods and more. "There's a good variety," Medley said.
Susie Kenedy, owner of Susie's Bake Shoppe, said her staff is busy making treats. "It's a colorful and fun holiday to decorate for," she said.
The Sikeston Department of Public Safety also plans to attend, with the D.A.R.E. car and fire truck on site until 1 p.m.. "We want to stress Halloween safety," Pratt said.
Officers will process kid's identification cards until noon at the event, too.
Last year's event was in Legion Park, but it was moved this year. "We just want to utilize Malone Park, too," Medley said. "And the pavilion is just perfect for the costume contest."
Kenedy, who is also co-chair of HMDG's promotions committee, spoke of the importance of having these type of festivals downtown. "It's just to make people aware that downtown is still here and it's growing," she said. "It's the heart of the town."
Medley agreed, saying that's why the group has planned several events for downtown. "We're trying to get more people downtown," she said. "Not just to shop, but to enjoy it, too."
Several other Halloween events will begin or continue over the weekend and through Halloween. They include:
Haunted Woods, 1 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Blodgett Paintball Planet. Cost is $3; proceeds benefit Salamat Survivors for the American Cancer Society.
D-Mac's Scream Manor will be from dark until midnight Friday through Wednesday in downtown Lilbourn, across from the bank. Admission is $5, and proceeds will benefit restoration of the 100-year-old building.
Portageville Haunted Inn, 6 to 10 p.m. nightly beginning today; open until midnight on Saturday and Wednesday. It is located off Highway 62, the east side of Interstate 55 at the 32 mile marker. Cost is $8; kids' night and trick or treat is from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday is free.
Free chili and hot dogs beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday at North Acres General Baptist Church, 202 Kennedy Drive.
The Sikeston Jaycee Haunted Hayride is scheduled from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the rodeo grounds. Cost is $1 for ages 13 and under and $3 for ages 14 and up; proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity.
The Halloween Family Fun Day will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in Malone Park. There will be craft vendors and concessions, hayrides, face painting and games. A costume contest is scheduled for noon; and there will be trick-or-treating at downtown businesses from 1 to 3 p.m. Story time is scheduled for 1 and 2 p.m. at the band stand. Also, the Humane Society will host an animal blessing at 10:30 a.m., pet costume contest and parade at 11 a.m., and a cake walk throughout the event.