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News Maryland Harford County Bel Air

Princesses, pirates and Peter Pan all come out for annual Festival at Bel Air Halloween parade

The parking lot in front of Chuck E. Cheese's at the Festival at Bel Air was the only place Saturday morning where one could find Disney princesses chatting with horror movie villains and lions hanging out with the tigers and bears.

The shopping center's 24th annual Halloween costume parade brought out characters from all walks of life, including pirates, robots, aliens and even a werewolf, for the chance to show off their creations and, hopefully, to be named one of the best this year.

And there was some stiff competition.

Friends Bryan Soul and Corinne Milburn, both of Aberdeen, dressed as video game icons Pac Man and Mrs. Pac Man.

Their kids joined in on the old school game theme, too, as a few of the ghosts who chased Pac Man and others as Tetris blocks. There was even an original Nintendo game controller in the mix.

"We wanted to celebrate some of the old school video games we grew up with," Soul said, joined by "Blinky" the red ghost, his 7-year-old son, Tyler.

Milburn said the costumes took "a long time" to make and it all started a few months ago.

Last year, the families came as Monopoly pieces. This was their sixth year of participating in the parade.

Down the line was ferocious Danny Mask, an 8-month-old dressed as a lion in a "jungle."

Danny's grandmother, Gina Wagoner, of Forest Hill, said it was her idea to turn a wagon into a jungle "since he can't walk yet." Draping the wagon in a green table cloth and decorating it with stuffed monkeys and a fake palm tree only took the previous night to accomplish.

"It's my first time out," Wagoner said about the parade. "It's extra special because it's his first Halloween."

Another family team who decided to coordinate their costumes was Patrick Madden, of Edgewood, and his 4-year-old son Brody Stergill who were Captain Hook and Peter Pan.

"He wanted to be Peter Pan," Madden explained of how the costumes were chosen.

"Halloween is my favorite holiday next to Christmas," he added. "I just love dressing up. You can be anyone you want to be."

The King family from Fallston wanted to be the Peanuts gang. Dad Barry King was Charlie Brown, mom Marie dressed as Lucy, 2-year-old Gabrielle was Woodstock and, pulling a doghouse behind him, was 4-year-old Matthew as Snoopy.

"This is a couple months worth of work," King said. He and his wife made all the costumes down to the big papier-mâché heads they wore. "We try to include the kids as much as possible."

"We're big kids at heart," Marie King chimed in. "We came to the parade last year. We always have a family theme."

They both agreed what it was really all about: "It's about making memories with the kids."

When it was finally time to show off for the judges, "Thriller" was blasted over the loud speakers. Small pumpkins were given to the semi-finalists and the top 10 were chosen.

The Pac Man and Tetris crew were in the top, as was Danny the lion. Other finalists included a robot with a slot for candy and "Fish-fil-A," a crab in a boat.

But it was what certainly must be the youngest blackjack dealer, who came out on top.

Logan Benishek, 11 months old, was "dealing" from his stroller, as mom Katie and dad Tyler pushed him to claim his award.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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