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UTC Opens Doors and Candy Wrappers for Hyattsville Spooky Fest

Despite rough weather all day, a large gathering of Hyattsville families went out to University Town Center for a community Halloween festival.

A vacant warehouse at University Town Center rolled the doldrums out of a cold, rainy day as moving masks and costumes flocked to its doors for a kids party on Oct. 29.

Situated next to the Towers residential complex, the facility was host to Hyattsville’s Spooky Festival, an annual family celebration.

More than 60 Hyattsville residents—including youth, their parents, and a few city officials—donned costumes and braved icy rainfall to join the event, which featured pumpkin decorating, a costume contest, and a Monster Mash Dance Party led by DJ (“DJ Kurt”). Festivities ran from 2 to 4 p.m.

“When I walked out my door, it was rain, sleet, all that craziness. I’m glad that it didn’t stop everybody from coming out,” said Tim Hunt, a city councilman from Ward 3, who showed up in a baseball player outfit. He was accompanying his sons Evan and Gabriel.

While Hunt spoke, a few dozen kids danced and clapped on a cleared dance  space to music blaring from DJ Kurt’s sound system. In other corners, kids gathered around tables topped with rows of pumpkins. Event coordinators doled out glitter, paint and other artistic accessories to color and jazz up the pumpkins as the kids saw fit.

“They have a wide range to think up their own designs, and you can see it in all the pumpkins. They are so different,” said Carrie Parish, a mom at the dance.

She pointed to some pumpkins that had construction-paper bats and other shapes glued to their fronts, and others that were lit up with glitter and sequins.

In conjunction with the Spooky Fest, every restaurant at the town center volunteered to form a “trick-or-treat trail.” Each establishment had a bowl of candy and employees handed out the sugary snacks to any kids who stopped by.

“The businesses like the idea of reaching out to young families,” said Abby Sandel, Hyattsville communications manager, who was present in full witch regalia.

According to Sandel, Hyattsville’s Department of Recreation and the Arts organized the event, which normally happens at . The location changed because last year’s celebration drew about 200 attendees, which was more than the park could fit.

The UTC warehouse was a roomier alternative.  

“This was a chance for us to accommodate the crowd, and to get people into a different part of town,” Sandel said.

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