Children weren’t the only ones in the festive spirit this Halloween weekend in Longview. Parents and pets joined the fun in an array of costumes.
Pine Tree ISD held a Fall Fest on Saturday at Pirate Stadium, and the bustling crowd had no shortage of activities and events to partake in.
Tickets were required for most activities, which could be purchased beforehand. Pine Tree student Gracie Gaddis explained incentives that students were given to increase the number of tickets they had to Fall Fest games.
“At school we have a canned food drive for the homeless, and each can is like a ticket, so they give us tickets for Fall Fest … and they’re for games and stuff,” she said.
Most attendees at the event could be found holding a handful of green tickets. Some used them to play cornhole, with the prize the privilege of shoving a plate of icing into the face of Pine Tree Junior High staff member Brady McBroom.
Not to be outdone, Pine Tree High School Principal Cleo Wadley stood behind a painted display and let students smother his face with a plate of whip cream.
A haunted bus stood in the back of the activity area, and the interior had been darkened so no light could get in. The bus also was decorated with a variety of cobwebs, skeletons, creepy figures, masks, staff members in costume, flashing lights and eerie music. And those who made it through the haunted bus were rewarded with candy.
Several competitions also entertained Fall Fest attendees, including a dance battle, pie eating contest and PT’s Got Talent.
Attendees said they were happy to get out and celebrate Halloween after COVID-19 put a damper on 2020 events.
“There’s a lot more people out this year than there was last year,” said Stephanie Castanon, who was at Fall Fest with her family. “I enjoy seeing everybody out y’know, and families together and having family time like, y’know, we did before COVID.”
Meanwhile, at Longview Animal Care and Adoption Center’s Howl-O-Ween, staff members handed out candy to trick-or-treaters and bags of Milk Bones for attendees to take home to their dogs.
Attendees were encouraged to bring their pets in costume, and several showed up dressed to impress.
Animal Services Manager Chris Kemper said that turnout for Saturday’s Howl-O-Ween was one of the biggest for the event in recent memory.
“We’ve had a good day today. We’ve been doing this since 12 o’clock, we’ve probably adopted 10, 12, 14 animals so far,” he said. “And then we get to bring people in. We’re a very community based organization. It’s fun to be part of our community, it’s fun to see people coming in. It’s fun to see all the kids dressing up, and it’s fun to see all the animals coming in dressed up.
“When we hit 2020, what we decided is instead of doing a big, giant one-day event, we were gonna do a month-long Halloween spectacular … because of COVID,” Kemper said of the shelter’s decision to change its normal Halloween celebrations.