Transformation comes to the Englewood Recreation Center Oct. 26, from a facility dedicated to health and fitness into a haunt for creepy critters, the proper setting for the annual Halloween Carnival.
Even before the sun goes down, a steady parade of costumed creatures of every size, shape and description is expected to begin arriving for Englewood’s annual event.
This year’s carnival will be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Englewood Recreation Center at 1155 W. Oxford Ave. There is no charge for admission, but game tickets are 25 cents each. A single ticket is required for most attractions.
On carnival night, as in past years, there are expected to be large and small visitors who for that night have transformed themselves into a variety of comic book characters, slinky as well as scary witches, ballerinas, princesses, several pirates and some creatures that defy description,
Coming through the front door, visitors find the lobby is populated by a variety of characters and creatures handing out candy.
The next stop is the gymnasium, which will again become a beehive of carnival activities. Booths for carnival-style games and skill challenges line the walls. Participants can choose from a wide variety of activities, such as an opportunity to shoot a hockey puck into a goal and a chance to knock down figures with beanbags. Win or lose, the contestant gets a small toy or candy.
At the same time, the center of the gym floor is taken up by popular inflatable attractions that will be new this year.
A concession stand will sell snacks like popcorn, plus this year there will be items from Pizza Hut and Country Buffet.
Chris Vitale, organizer of this year’s event, said the popular haunted house will be in place. She also said the Scales and Tails store will provide the live visitors that will populate the reptile room from 5 to 7 p.m.
There will be a costume contest between 6 and 7 p.m. Those who want to take part in the contest need to sign up at the concession stand. There is also a location where those attending can have a photo taken in their costumes.
Each year between 1,500 and 2,000 people attend Englewood’s Halloween carnival. Connie Swanson said she has been coming to the carnival since she was a little girl.
“I now have two small children and we try to make the carnival every year,” the former Englewood resident said. “I make our costumes and try to come up with a theme. A couple years ago, we were hobos and another year we were vampires.”
She said she won’t talk about this year’s theme, but said her two girls are very excited to show off their costumes.