A full slate of spooktacular activities will haunt downtown Clinton this Thursday as the Halloween on the Square event rises from the dead, bigger and better than ever.
The event will kick off at 5:30 p.m. Thursday with a Trunk or Treat and go through the night, with costume contests for dogs and their owners, a ghost hunt and candy galore. Even prior to the event, the public is invited to enter a pumpkin-carving contest by dropping off entries at the Small House, with winners to be announced at the Halloween on the Square event that night.
Halloween on the Square is being brought to downtown by the Clinton Main Street Program in partnership with Sampson County 4-H, Clinton Recreation and Parks and the Sampson Arts Council, as well as several area businesses who are participating in the Trunk or Treat aspect of the event.
“The Clinton Main Street Program in partnership with Sampson County 4-H, the Sampson Arts Council, and the Clinton Recreation Department are very excited about bringing Halloween on the Square back to Sampson County’s court square,” said Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary M. Rose, who also serves as Clinton Main Street manager.
The Halloween on the Square event began in 2004, sponsored by the Clinton Police Department to serve as a safe alternative for families wishing to bypass trick-or-treating in dark neighborhoods throughout the county and have fun in a public setting, with many police officers — as well as firefighters and recreation officials — around. Held downtown through 2009, the event ventured to Royal Lane Park in 2010, becoming “Halloween in the Park” in recent years.
Well, now it is back, revitalized and creeping toward the downtown.
Leading up to the event, the Pumpkin Carving Contest entry will extend from noon to 3 p.m. Thursday at the Sampson Arts Council’s offices at the Small House, 709 College St. All ages are encouraged to show off their creative carving skills by entering the Pumpkin Carving Contest, co-sponsored by the Sampson Arts Council and the Clinton Main Street Program.
“Carve your pumpkin at home and deliver to the Victor R. Small House,” said Arts Council director Kara Donatelli. “Registration is free. Register as a family or an individual. Pumpkins will be judged and displayed on the courthouse stage at the Halloween on the Square event. Cash prizes will be awarded for Best of Show, Scariest, Funniest and Most Creative. Happy Carving!”
Registration forms are available at the Small House or online at www.sampsonarts.net.
The Trunk or Treat will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Main Street in the Courthouse Square.
Charmae Kendall, 4-H program assistant, thanked the Clinton Police Department, Clinton Fire Department, Piggly Wiggly, the Clinton Recreation and Parks Department, Go Toyota, Clinton Appliance, Sweet Frog, and U.S. Cellular for providing freebies for all of the visitors as part of the Trunk of Treat.
Kendall said visitors should be sure to bring their “goody bags” for the Trunk or Treat. Treats will be handed out and booths plan to give away a variety of items, from glowing necklaces to pictures of participants in their best costumes.
Brenda Potter, program coordinator for the Clinton Recreation and Parks Department, invited everyone to join the department at its Creepy Character/Canine Costume Contest, registration for which will extend from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
“This contest is for all ages and even canines,” Potter said. “The contest and registration will be located by the main stage on Main Street. Judging categories are: scariest, most creative, cutest and best overall. Cash and prizes will be awarded! So come out and enjoy a spooktacular time at the Halloween on the Square!”
Winners for the pumpkin carving and costume contests will be announced at 7:30 p.m. at the Main Street Stage on the Courthouse Square, where the Court Square Ghost Hunt Prize Giveaway Drawing will also take place.
Those wishing for a little exorcise some evil spirits, or just wishing to get a little exercise, can pick up their Court Square Ghost Hunt map at Clinton City Hall, at 221 Lisbon St., or print it out at www.downtownclinton.com.
The map will show the route to follow in order to find all of downtown’s favorite ghosts. Each ghost will have their name on their back. The ghosts have been appearing in the downtown since last week and will haunt the downtown through Oct. 31’s event.
“Find all of the downtown ghosts and you will be able to enter in a prize drawing to receive a chance to win a Halloween basket full of treats,” said Rose.
All entries must be placed in the Halloween on the Square Jack-O-Lantern located on the Main Street side of the Courthouse under our “Halloween on the Square” event tent by 7 p.m. Thursday, leading up to the giveaway and cash prizes at 7:30 p.m.
Rose said she is excited about the revived Halloween on the Square, and thankful for the many great partnerships that made it happen.
“Partnerships are making great things happen in downtown Clinton,” she said. “The event committee has pulled the event together nicely, and if our citizens enjoy the event we look forward to growing the event in future years.”
To inquire about Halloween on the Square, call 910-299-4904. For more information on the pumpkin carving contest, call 910-596-2533.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.