By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — FULTON, Ill. — It’s the season for ghosts and ghouls and Heritage Canyon is bringing out all the stops to make this year’s Halloween celebration exciting for area children.
From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, children are invited to dress-up in their favorite costumes and take part in the annual Heritage Canyon Beggar’s Night trick-or-treat event.
The canyon will be fitted with spooky sights and sounds to evoke the Halloween spirit, but according to caretaker Brian Tomman, it will be appropriate for kids of all ages.
“We will decorate the canyon up but, nothing too scary,” Tomman said. “It’s not geared toward scaring the kids too much. It’s meant to be fun.”
Visitors on Saturday will follow an illuminated path through the canyon, stopping at each replica building to receive treats, and a few tricks, from members of the Early American Crafters, dressed for the occasion.
Children will receive Halloween-themed bags to collect their treats at the beginning of the night and also will have an opportunity to have their pictures taken professionally by the Rose Bud Mission Team.
“Something new this year is, the Rose Bud Mission team will be there to offer professional photos for guests before they get to the first building,” Tomman said. “When they exit, they can pay $5 and get a copy of the photo.”
Another new feature that people can expect at Beggar’s Night on Saturday is a free shuttle service that will transport people from Fulton Corporation to Heritage Canyon.
Parking problems happened during last year’s Beggar’s Night, resulting in hundreds of dollars worth of parking tickets issued to visitors.
According to Tomman, the organizers were not prepared for the success of the event, which is why parking became such an issue for Heritage Canyon. He also said that he and the victims of the parking tickets confronted the city and had the fines expunged.
“What happened was, this thing grew so fast, we had over 1,000 kids through last year. That’s why we had a parking problems,” Tomman said. “This year we are prepared for it. The tickets that were issued last year caused enough of an uproar that we had them taken care of. Now, we have the shuttle.”
With the shuttle now in place, Tomman feels the event will generate even more participation than last year, weather permitting.
“I’m guessing that there might even be a little more who come this year,” Tomman said. “But, the weather’s showing 55 degrees so I don’t know how that will affect us.”
Whether there’s 100 guests or 1,000 guests that take part in Saturday’s event, Tomman hopes he and the Early American Crafters can generate more volunteer efforts to continue celebrating Halloween at Heritage Canyon.
“We would love to have people step up and help organize it,” Tomman said. “It’s fun, but it is a lot of work to do in just two days. I hope we can continue doing it.”