Westminster hosts Halloween parade, haunted house and other activities

Libraries are supposed to be a quiet refuge, designed for studying and silent learning. On Saturday, however, the facility turned into a wilder location than Vincent Price's mansion from "House on Haunted Hill." A witch and Ghostface from "Scream" worked the circulation desk while shrieks filtered in from the back room as costumed kids made their way through a haunted house.

Outside, the mayhem grew into a frenzy as children played in a maze of hay bales, soon degrading the carefully arranged path into a mess of hay. Raphael from the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" battled it out against Pikachu from "Pokemon" with handfuls of hay, while Scooby Doo, a mermaid and a unicorn chased one another in a game of tag.


The wild tableau merely set the stage for an evening of ghoulish Halloween entertainment. Soon, miniature superheroes, masked murderers and adorable animals went from business front to business front looking for tricks or treats. The evening was capped off with the Spooky Sprint — a 1-mile costumed race — and the annual Halloween parade.

Beth Sebian, of Westminster, took her children, Nathan, 5, A.J., 7, and Tasia, 7, through the library's haunted house. The quartet agreed that the spook house was full of scares and startles.

Tasia said the scariest part was a bloody baby, while A.J. said the scariest part was the lady who reached out at them. A.J. was dressed as the Flash, DC Comics' Scarlet Speedster, while Nathan was dressed as his favorite Ninja Turtle, Michelangelo — chosen as his favorite solely because of Mikey's orange bandanna. Tasia said she wanted to be a witch after watching the '90s Disney film "Hocus Pocus."

A library DJ played Halloween music, from the obvious choices — such as the "Monster Mash" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller" — to less-popular hits of yesteryear, like MC Hammer's "Addams Groove," written for the 1991 film "The Addams Family," and "Nightmare On My Street," in which DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince relive the events of "Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge."

Starting at 5 p.m., family-friendly Halloween games opened across the street from the library. Creepy games available included zombie bowling, in which pumpkins were thrown at decapitated zombie heads; pumpkin golf, in which balls are knocked into hollowed pumpkins; and a ring toss, in which participants toss rings at bloody zombie hands, aiming to land one on a corpse's stiff fingers.

Children walked up and down Main Street taking candy from all of the participating businesses. Some businesses chose to offer a variety of options, while others put all of their hopes on children's love of Swedish Fish.

As families made their way through the town, they had the option to vote for their favorite decorated scarecrow. BB&T depicted a horrible workplace accident, as a pumpkin-headed employee dangled upside down, with his foot caught in a rope, while the Carroll Arts Center recreated Andy Warhol in scarecrow form. At Coffey Music, a scarecrow version of Slash shredded on a guitar, while at By the Bay Botanicals, hay-filled Minions stared out at the crowds.

The Spooky Sprint featured costumed ghouls running their way through Main Street, followed by the participants of the Halloween parade. The Westminster Municipal Band opened the parade, but soon the parade transformed in the moonlight into a menagerie of monsters, animals and princesses.

Troy and Cathy Blair, and their sons, Chase and Grayson, marched in a Willy Wonka theme, with Troy dressed as the titular — at least in the '76 film — candy maker, Chase and Grayson as the rhyming diminutive Oompa Loompas and Cathy dressed as Violet Beauregard, post-blueberrification and pre-juicing.

Cathy said the costumes took about two months to complete, with each completely homemade. She said this is the family's second year participating in the spooky Saturday.

"It's really such a great time," Cathy said. "It's great because it brings us out into the community, and it's great to give the kids a chance to trick-or-treat during the daytime."