A Halloween Tradition 25 Years in the Making

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A Halloween Tradition 25 Years in the Making

Categories: Blog, Newsworthy

In 1986, Powell Gardens was in its infancy and Halloween Spooktacular was just one of several harvest-time events. Twenty-five years later, the event has become a treasured Halloween tradition for families across the region and we’re looking forward to celebrating its silver anniversary on Oct. 14 and 15.

In the early years, registration was limited to 30 participants. Volunteers and staff pitched in to create costumes, write skits and act out fairy tales for young trick-or-treaters.

Spooktacular in 1996
A scene from 1996.

Last year, more than 850 children and adults came to enjoy the family-friendly stories and the lighted walk.

 Crowd shot

 This year more than150 hand-carved pumpkins and more than a mile of twinkle lights will illuminate the evening.

Jack O Lanterns light the path

For this silver anniversary Powell Gardens will include both new and all-time favorite skits.
Alice in Wonderland skit

Pulling together a large event like Spooktacular takes many hands and lots of volunteer and staff hours.

Photo by David Larson
In 2010, the evening walk was highlighted by 170 hand-carved pumpkins that weighed in at more than 4,300 pounds! Over the past five years, a team of volunteers from Assurant has joined PowellGardens’ core volunteers and staff to carve the pumpkins in just six hours.
Volunteers carving pumpkins 
Each pumpkin becomes its own work of art as volunteers use pumpkin carving templates or their own imaginations to create an astounding variety of Jack-O-Lanterns. Dremel tools and jigsaws are carving tools of choice.
Jack O Lanterns
Children treasure the retelling of favorite stories during 11 skits along the 1-mile walk, while clean jokes are slipped in to the amusement of adults. Director of Education Eric Jackson creates new skits as well as rewrites old favorites every year, so each visit is fresh for returning families. Children help the characters in each skit solve a problem of some kind, and at the conclusion, are rewarded with a treat.
Three Bears Skit
Last year, 50 volunteers a night filled acting and support roles with many coming from six area school districts and two area community theater groups. Some “veteran” actors have literally grown up acting in Spooktacular, starting in middle school and coming back as schedules permit while in college.
Photo by David Larson
Don’t miss out on the 25th anniversary of this magical event. Call Linda at 816-697-2600 ext. 209 to purchase your tickets and schedule your tour time. Tours begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, and at 6 p.m. Saturday. Oct. 15. To allow more children to participate, please limit reservations to two adults per child. Pricing is $12/Adults, $9/kids ages 5-12 or $9/Members, $7/Member’s kids ages 5-12; an extra $2 fee will apply to all tickets purchased after Oct. 10. We can’t wait to see you in the Gardens!