By SHERIDAN CYR
The Town of Southington truly knows how to celebrate Halloween. Gravestones, spider webs, and inflatable ghouls decorate homes of many for the spookiest time of year.
The sixth annual Halloween festival at the Southington Drive-In drew a record crowd on Saturday. A haunted hayride traveled around the drive-in premises, pulled by a tractor. It went twisting and turning through a graveyard chased by zombies and ghouls.
A petting zoo featured sheep, baby goats, donkeys and pony rides. A touch-a-truck exhibit got kids up close to fire engines and other emergency response vehicles. Food trucks lined the roadway, and the concession stand served up food and drinks. There was face painting, pumpkin decorating, bowling, apple cannon launching and much more.
“This is definitely the best year we’ve had,” Mike Fasulo said, one of the volunteer organizers of the event. “We’re upwards of 1,500 people here in attendance, and so many awesome activities to offer.”
Fasulo explained that the Southington Drive-In committee has run the drive-in for eight years. Working with the town, the committee of volunteers plans movies during the summer and collaborate to put on the Halloween festival.
“The money we raise here by selling tickets and concessions in-part funds the event itself,” said Fasulo, “but what we have leftover we donate back to the charities and volunteers who help orchestrate this event.”
At 5 p.m., trunk-or-treating began. Hundreds of cars lined up across the drive-in lot and offered candy to kids walking through. The committee awarded best costumes and decorated cars with season passes for next year. The event was such a popular success that most cars ran out of candy early on.
“This is our first time here and we’re absolutely having a blast,” said Devon Royce, as his daughter Adrianna, donning a wizard’s hat and wand, attempted to cast a spell on him. “She was a little nervous about the hayride but overall we’re just enjoying the spirit of Halloween.”
After trunk-or-treat, the drive-in played G-rated Hocus Pocus for the kids, and afterwards, R-rated Halloween. Ample space and time was given for families to leave before the R-rated film.
Southington also celebrated the holiday with Halloween in the Village on Thursday night in Plantsville. The free event featured a ton of fun for all families.
A scary Halloween party in the Fire House offered treats, Disney Princesses greeted kids at Zingarellas, clowns crafted up balloon animals, and Faith Living Church held a family festival with snacks, games and entertainment.
Performances by Valentin Karate Studio, Dance City, and a stilt walker and juggler excited guests of the festival. A costume contest granted prizes for best overall costume, most original, and most frightening.
The festival marked the end of the 2017 Southington Drive-In schedule.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.