Thousands came out to Smyrna’s 26th Annual Halloween in the Park. The number of visitors seemed to sunset pre-pandemic numbers with some of the most creative costumes seen in years. Record numbers participated in the costume contest, egg toss, three-legged race, sack race and pie eating contest.
“Halloween in the Park is one of those events that makes Smyrna Special,” said Mayor Mary Esther Reed. “It allows citizens to come out and enjoy old fashioned games, a safe trick-or-treat, and lots of family fun.”
Local merchants, individuals, and organizations gave candy from their booths to the record crowd. These booths were all decked out for the season with lights, costumed characters, and activities for kids and adults — like getting your photo taken with the super hero Moon Night.
“We would not be able to have such a successful event without the town employees, volunteers, and especially the community booths providing the candy for trick or treat,” added Reed.
Excitement was in the air, as participants began arriving well before the event started, said a representative at one of the booths. But she was happy to see so many turn out for the event.
Faces went flat into the pumpkin or sweet potato pies used in the pie eating contest, eggs got tossed and went splat, and many jumped and ran while others landed in a jumble during the sack and three-legged races. Some sack racers seemed to defy gravity.
The lines for the bounce houses and slides where quite long, but flowing smoothly, with lots of chatter among neighbors and friends standing in line together to wait as their children played close at hand.
Early in the evening the hayrides were gentle for the younger set, but as crimson spread through the sky into the coming inky black of night, screams could be heard coming from the haunted woods and now terrifying hayride.
Of course, the most popular event was the Costume Contest. The event began at 3:15 p.m. with infant to three year olds, followed by four to five year olds, six to seven year olds, eight to nine year olds, ten to 14 year olds, and finishing at 5:15 p.m. with those 15 years and up. There were plenty of great costumes — cute, creative, and frightening. This year a lot of contestants and winners went for the odd or gory. Edward Scissor Hands was a huge hit, as was the headless girl.
“We made the headless girl costume together,” said the mother of Ja’ Mariel Mayberry who stayed in character the whole time and won first place in her age group.
The most elegant costume of the contest was a sweeping Oogie Boogie gown made by Kaitlin Wright from potato sacks, winning her first place in the 15 years and up category. She beat out La Muerte from “Book of Life,” also made by the wearer, and two very realistic Viking Women in real furs.
It is hard to say what costumes were the best, there were so many! There was a young man who had a very realistic S.W.A.T uniform, and a young lady who was dressed as a fire fighter complete with air mask and a fire truck that she pulled along behind her, which she made herself. A “Scooby-Doo” family had fun being in character, as did the double Michael Jackson mother and daughter.
Usually, after the costume contests are completed, people begin to leave, but no one seemed in any big hurry to let go of the “all-together ookie” Halloween in the Park this year. Snap. Snap.