Scares abound as city hosts spooky events

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BUCKHANNON — All little ghouls and boys — and their fright-loving families — and are invited out for a full slate of activities this Halloween season.

The City of Buckhannon has planned a handful of fun activities that will begin tonight at 6 p.m. at the old Colonial Theatre city crews are in the midst of refurbishing at 48 E. Main St. The details of the city-sponsored “Out of This World” Halloween kick-off are being kept under wraps, but the event is family-friendly and should last approximately 30 minutes, mayor David McCauley said Thursday.

“It’s going to be in front of the Colonial Theatre, and we’ll probably open the doors so people can stick their heads in and look at the renovations,” McCauley said. “It may eclipse what we did last year for the Lurch dedication. There’s a clue as to what it may entail with the ‘out of this world’ theme.”

McCauley said Friday’s event will celebrate the historic theater’s ties to prolific science fiction author, Gray Barker, who owned and operated the establishment from 1973 to 1979. Barker authored “They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers,” the book on which the famous Oscar-winning “Men in Black” movies starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones were based. In addition to writing science fiction, Barker was also a ufologist, specializing in the pseudoscience of ufology — the study of reports, visual records, physical evidence and other phenomena related to unidentified flying objects, or UFOs.

“Anybody who celebrates Halloween is welcome to come out,” McCauley said. “It’ll be fun.”

On Saturday, the Stockert Youth Center and city will be hosting “A Haunted Walk Trail” at the Riverwalk from 6 p.m. to midnight. The event will serve up fare for both the faint of heart as well as the fear-loving.

“From 6 to 8 p.m., we’re going to cater to folks who are typically little kids or those who don’t like to be scared quite so much,” McCauley said, “but from 8 to midnight we’re going to do the more hard core stuff and try to rival the Fright Farm with amputated limbs and chainsaws and things like that.” Lineup will be just below the Riverwalk’s public restrooms and will loop through the Learning Trail, around West Virginia Wesleyan College’s baseball and practice football field and then up to Railroad Avenue, the mayor said.

Tickets for “A Haunted Walk Trail” are now available at SYC for $8 for ages 12 and under and $10 for ages 13 and up. A rain date has been set for Sunday, Oct. 29. Call 304-473-0145 for more information.

Pets who want to participate in the spooktacular extravaganza are invited to do so from 1-2 p.m. Sunday at the Buckhannon Dog Park during “Howl-O-Ween.” City Dog Park Committee Chair Maria Bray said a variety of stations with dog treats will be set up in the park. Cats are also welcome, and costumes are optional.

“Pets don’t need costumes, but they’re welcome to wear them if they want,” Bray said. “It’s just a fun, free event.” Howl-O-Ween is being sponsored by Wesleyan’s WeLEAD Animal Advocacy Team.

On Monday, families looking for a fun, safe way to collect candy are invited to come to the Buckhannon Police Department’s second annual Trunk or Treat from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Public Safety Complex parking lot. Any business or organization interested in reserving a vehicle space, decorating their vehicle and handing out candy should call the BPD at 304-472-5723.

Finally, trick-or-treating within city limits is scheduled from 6-7:30 p.m., while trick-or-treating in the county will be from 5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31.

McCauley invited trick-or-treaters to his house, 10 Meade St., to enjoy candy-collecting; classic Halloween hits like “Monster Mash” performed by a band dressed up like dead rock stars; and “tainted” cider (adults only).

“We have six fog machines and 175 wooden tombstones,” the mayor said. “Everybody is welcome to stop by.”

“These activities are all about fun and being entertained and engaged, and all of this stuff is just rooted in bringing the community together for what most of us regard as a fun, safe holiday,” the mayor added.

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