By Ed Harris
The Southington Drive-in’s Halloween extravaganza will get a little spookier this year, thanks to the addition of Spooky Kingdom.
“I am so excited to be partnering with them,” said Dawn Miceli, a town councilor and member of the Drive-in Committee.
Howard and Bonnie Burke began running Spooky Kingdom at their Lovely Drive home nine years ago. It started out with several hand-carved tombstones and has grown to include 15 different animated attractions.
A trip through Spooky Kingdom was free, though the Burke family asked guests to make a donation to the Connecticut Alzheimer’s Association. The family was able to raise $2,232.25 last year.
“We tossed around the idea of passing it on last year because it had become too much for us,” said Bonnie. “The reason we would like to pass it on is that the community sees Spooky Kingdom as a Southington tradition and they look forward to the event each year. We really don’t want to let any of those people down.”
The Burke family will loan all of the materials and attractions and offer consultation, free of charge.
Spooky Kingdom is just the latest addition to the Halloween festival that is held yearly at the drive-in. This is the fourth year that the Drive-in Committee will host the festival, though one year was canceled due to a freak ice storm.
“They have grown exponentially,” said Miceli, speaking of the festivals, which sees thousands of people visit the drive-in grounds throughout the day.
The festival starts at 2 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 25, on the grounds of the drive-in. Everything is free, with the purchase of a car admission, $10 for Southington residents and $15 for out-of-towners.
Attractions include a haunted hay ride, where the Spooky Kingdom will take part, pony rides, a mini touch a truck event, an apple cannon launcher, a pie eating contest, bobbing for apples and face painting. At 5 p.m., there will be trunk or treating and a costume parade for the kids.
The drive-in will feature a double bill up on the big screen, beginning at 6 p.m. The first movie shown will be “Monsters University.” The second movie, the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” will be shown, following a brief interlude to allow parents to bring their children home.
“There is a lot going on,” said Miceli.
The host groups for the event are Southington Community Cultural Arts (SCCA) and the Southington Valley Midget Football League.
Youths from STEPS will continue to help out with the haunted hayride again this year.
By Ed Harris