PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — While the Aroostook Centre Mall won’t be hosting any trick-or-treating this year, mall officials say there are still plenty of activities for ghosts and goblins to enjoy this Halloween.
“We decided to do something even bigger and better because of the size of the event that it’s grown into,” said Patti Crooks, general manager of the Aroostook Centre Mall. “It was really hard for us to accommodate everybody in such a short period of time. The event has gotten so huge that we’ve had to figure out how to make it work for everybody and keep it safe for everybody. What we chose to do was many different things throughout the week before Halloween.
All week for instance, the mall has been offering free train rides from 4-6 p.m. with special treats for children. The rides will continue 4-6 p.m. tonight and noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 30 and 31.
In addition, a special “Scar-eo-ky” event with Fireman Fred Parsons will be held at 1 p.m. on Halloween Sunday.
“We’re going to have a special surprise treat,” teased Crooks.
Halloween events at the mall started in 2001, and for the last four or five years, children would dress up in their costumes and go trick-or-treating at the various merchants in the mall. Crooks said last year nearly 400 children attended.
“It was mass mayhem. We’re not equipped to handle that; we’re a mall,” she said. “We’ve done variations of the trick-or-treating over the years. Sometimes we’ve done just a costume parade, sometimes we’ve done fun and games, and we’ve done trick-or-treating at the individual stores for the last four or five years.
“Part of my job is to keep things fresh, exciting and different. If we only had one event and some parents had to work that day, they might not be able to bring their children,” said Crooks. “By having something going on for seven days straight, everybody wins. … This is a nice way to bring it back into a safe, comfortable scale for everyone.”
Other Halloween events planned for the area this weekend include:
Saturday, Oct. 30
- A Fall Fun Festival, sponsored by the Fort Fairfield National Honor Society, will include a costume parade starting at 3 p.m. Participants are asked to line up at 2:45 p.m. at the Bandstand. The parade will end at the Fort Fairfield Community Center. Then games and activities for the entire family, including face painting, pumpkin decorating and a photo booth are planned 3:30-5 p.m. at the Fort Fairfield Community Center. A hot dog roast and bonfire will start at 4:30 p.m.
- Children’s annual Halloween party will be held noon-2 p.m. at the Hayward-Frazier Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2599 on Parsons Street in Presque Isle.
- The Wintergreen Arts Center in Presque Isle is throwing a Halloween Spooktacular and Costume Parade 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission is $5.50 for Halloween art projects and face painting, $5.50 for the Halloween luncheon, with the downtown costume parade free for those interested in taking part. For more information about the event, call 551-0936 or 762-3576.
- Mars Hill and Blaine are teaming up again this year to mark the spooky occasion. Sponsored by the Mars Hill Recreation Department and the Central Aroostook High School Class of 2011, this year’s Halloween Party will take place 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Mars Hill and Blaine Community Center. This is the 19th annual Halloween Party held for children in grades 6 and under.
- There will be a spooky night coming to the Washburn Recreation Center, as the Senior Class hosts a haunted house from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Cost will be $1 per person. Donations will also be accepted at the door and there will be warm cider and goodies to purchase. All proceeds will benefit the Class of 2011 Project Graduation event.
Sunday, Oct. 31
- Big Top Bash 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Presque Isle Wesleyan Church, 387 Centerline Road. Admission is free for kids up to grade 6 and their parents. Internationally known Vincent Pagliano (VAPPO the Clown) will perform a show for the whole family. There will also be a bounce house, games, candy, food, balloon drop and door prizes.
- In Easton, the Wesleyan Church will host Trunk or Treat 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Halloween.