This year marked Vanderhoof’s 15th Annual Pumpkin Walk, a unique Halloween tradition that draws thousands of people each year to Riverside RV Park to walk the pumpkin-lit trails of the campground.
Salli Chadwick from Vanderhoof was surprised with this years turnout.
“If it gets much bigger, we are going to have to schedule times to walk through,” joked Ms. Chadwick.
Hundreds of pumpkins carved by local kids and families were used to line the campgrounds walkway creating a maze which housed small stations where local business handed out candy.
Many different, unique and humorous costumes were seen at this year’s walk. Some include power ranger, pumpkin, clown, army combat, switch (scarecrow witch), bat, superman and elsa to name a few. Barb Penner, official organizer of the event, loves the idea of a safe Halloween night and was happy with this year’s walk.
“We pulled it off again,” said Ms. Penner. “It was a full house and completely community sponsored. The best part was everyone was so happy. There were thousands of people in the park, teenagers, adults and small children, and not one incident or complaint. The walk has virtually created no crime and it’s already cleaned up and put away.”
The event is hosted and paid for by local businesses and had people of all ages dressed in costume walking through the decorated maze enjoying a the new-school kind of trick-or-treating.
Laura Goodwin moved to Vanderhoof from Prince George in 2011 and says the pumpkin walk is a nice change of pace.
“The weather was perfect and there seemed to be more pumpkins and decorations this year with nicer displays. I felt it was a bigger turnout and everyone was so well behaved and polite,” said Ms. Goodwin.
Singing barber-shop style pumpkins welcomed guests at the first station with music to lighten the mood. Glowing skeletons and blowup Halloween characters also enhanced the fun throughout the trails along with a few appropriately dressed ghosts and goblins. The element of blood and horror however was kept low because with a ‘lighter take’ on Halloween, it’s fit for all ages, said Ms. Penner.
“Trick or treating has changed, life is different now. Going up to people’s doors is dangerous because you never know who is giving you candy. The pumpkin walk is great with no crime, even with hundreds of teenagers. We try to keep it subdue [in terms of goriness] so everyone can enjoy themselves,” said Ms. Penner. “I am also so proud of the dedicated volunteers who helped this year and who continue to help each year. It’s an amazing community event and it’s so nice to see everyone come together.”
Around 8 o’clock the sky filled with fireworks as everyone in their costumes gathered around to watch. Old folks, young people, kids of all ages content with their candy, formed a gigantic crowd in Riverside Park. And at the end of the night, all the carved pumpkins were taken to Michelle Roberge’s farm to be eaten by animals as volunteers helped to cleanup any garbage.
“Awesome job to whoever set the pumpkin walk up,” said Amanda Rice 24, of Vanderhoof. “I loved how they had free hot chocolate for everyone, yummy. It exceeded my expectations for such a small town and the fireworks, great job. Perfect thing to go to after a trick or treat. I can’t wait to go next year.”