Spooky doings: Delights for goblins abound

Halloween at our house is the major holiday of the year, and the kids in our neighborhood have been working feverishly for weeks creating tricks for unsuspecting treat-seekers. Other folks around town have been scheming to make the season frightfully delightful too.
Among these is Charlottesville’s Recreation and Leisure Services with their annual Downtown Safe Halloween Festival October 26. Kids 12 and under can join the costume contest starting at 1:30pm at the amphitheater. The Downtown Mall will be filled with fearsomely fun stuff to do including carnival rides, balloons and finger-painting, a boo-house at the Renaissance School, carnival games and prizes, face painting, and more. And from 5-6pm, little goblins can go trick-or-treating at participating shops on the mall.
The Lawn at UVA is the place to be on All Hallows Eve for tiny trick-or-treaters. Without the threat of traffic to worry about, little ones have as much fun playing in the grassy area between the university’s historic living quarters as they do wandering from door to door where student residents (many in costume themselves) sit waiting to load up proffered sacks with yummy goodies. The early evening timing— 4-5:30pm— also makes this UVA tradition the best bet for the youngest ghouls and goblins.
Older tricksters who hunger after hair-raising horror may want to venture into UVA’s House on the Haunted Hill. Reports have circulated that a secret nuclear waste storage facility has been found behind Brown College. Informed sources say mutated creatures and melting human bodies have been found on the site, along with mysterious objects that glow the dark. Officials, eager to ease public concern, are offering tours of the facility on October 25-26 from 8pm-midnight. While we have been assured that children as young as 6 will probably escape unscathed, parental discretion is advised.
Spooky things are happening at Montpelier, too. On October 25-26 from 7-8:30pm, victims… eh… kids ages 7-14 are invited to take a hayride and tour the haunted barn where terrifying goings on have been reported involving… uh… non-living creatures. Participants are being lured to this site with the promise of games and treats, and are encouraged to dress in costume. A spokesperson from the education department suggests this party may not be appropriate for the faint of heart either.

For more information about the Downtown Safe Halloween Festival, call 970-3116. UVA’s House on Haunted Hill is located on Monroe Hill behind Brown College on McCormick Road. Parking is available at the bookstore off Emmet St. Cost is $5. Proceeds go to charity. 924-3312. Montpelier is on Rt. 20 in Orange County. Follow the signs to enter through the west gate. Cost is $6 per person. An adult gets in free with each group of children. 540-672-0025.