Special spooky events planned for Halloween

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Expect the hordes of goblins and ghouls to converge on the downtown area and Centennial Mall Friday as the Halloween tradition continues in Craig.

Nadine Daszkiewicz, owner of the Kitchen Shop and member of the Downtown Business Association, which sponsors the downtown event, said she expects around 1,000 costumed kiddies to roam the area, which is what downtown businesses saw last year.

"Pretty much everyone participates," she said of the downtown businesses.

Businesses in the Centennial Mall also will be treating ghosts and hobgoblins from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday.

The mall will sponsor a costume contest at 6 p.m., which will be judged by the rounds of applause from the audience.

"So it will be a people's choice award for best costume," said Vickie Hall, the Centennial Mall director.

The age groups for contestants are 0-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10 to 12.

Prizes for first, second and third place in each category will be awarded.

The costume contests will be held in the West Atrium of the mall.

Mall merchants also are expected to dress up and have their own contest that also will be judged by the public.

Pro Image Photography will be taking photos for sale from 4 to 6 p.m. in the East Atrium.

There always will be the famed haunted house held at the Craig Daily Press building, which is organized by Chaos Ink and the local Rotary Club.

Mark Leier, co-founder of Chaos Ink, said work on the haunted house project begins shortly after the previous Halloween.

"We come up with ideas early in the year and we talk about what we can do better," Leier said.

There is a $2 admission fee that goes to the Rotary Club. This year the money will go toward school supplies and offset the cost of food at a school in Poland. The club learned of the school from its exchange student Samantha Janiga who attended the institution while overseas.

The workload involved in bringing the haunted house to life is all volunteer -- some who have been working on the project since its inception six years ago.

Leier said the walls for rooms and hallways came together Tuesday night and the installation of the sound system, lights, and two fog machines will occur today and tomorrow.

The house sees about 300 visitors each year but last year attendance was down about 10 percent because of inclement weather. This year the house will feature a waiting area so children won't have to wait in the elements before venturing inside.

"It's a community effort," Leier said. "I coordinate it but it's a community effort."

The house is always looking for volunteers. Those interested in helping out can call Leier at 824-3920.

Daszkiewicz said the community responds to events such as the one downtown and the one at Centennial Mall because they know these areas are safe and are well lit.

"They know the candy is safe," Daszkiewicz said. "They know they are going to see their friends and neighbors. I think it is just as fun for the grownups than it is for the kids."

Wendy's also will be celebrating Halloween with free trick-or-treat bags that children can pick up as well as free junior frosties for children in costume from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday.

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said he encourages adults to take their children to the downtown or to the Centennial Mall because of the safe environment.

The chief advised adults to costume their children in bright colors so they are visible in the darkness.

Vanatta also advised motorists who might be out and about to watch out for children who may not be as cautious as they should be when it comes to traffic.

According to Katie Johnson of Katie's Kostumes, the more popular get-ups include saloon girls, flappers, gangsters from the "Roaring '20s" and Renaissance costumes.

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