VALLONIA

A local state recreation area saw an influx of ghosts, ghouls, fairies and princesses Saturday during its annual Halloween celebration.

Activities at Starve Hollow State Recreation Area in Vallonia included pumpkin decorating, campsite trick-or-treating, a campsite decorating contest for the top 13 sites, a haunted circus attraction and live music by local band Bad Medicine.

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“The theme this year is haunted circus, so we have the beach house decorated to look like a scary circus,” said Sierra Jackson, a naturalist at Starve Hollow. “Next year, the theme will be a haunted school.”

Hundreds of people attended the event.

That included Cathy Wente of Cortland, who set up a campsite for visitors.

“We’re just big kids at heart,” Wente said. “We normally don’t even get into Halloween, but we love this event.”

Donna Miller of Corydon also participated.

“We won scariest site a couple of years ago,” she said. “Our theme this year is grim reapers.”

Miller said her family loves to camp and decorate, and since her children have grown up, they have gotten the chance to treat the other children at the park like they were their own.

“We just love Halloween,” she said. “Our site gets a little bigger every year.”

Children ran around frantically vying for candy with other kids, while the parents followed behind or in some cases joined in on the fun.

“I really like the event,” said Kayla Davis of Scott County, who was there with her son. “My mother started us coming, and I lost track of how many years we’ve come, but they love it.”

Davis said she participated in some of the other activities and planned on staying for the haunted house attraction that began when the trick-or-treating ended.

“It’s just great,” she said. “It feels like a community. You feel safe and can enjoy the activities.”

Roni Pranger also attended the event with her three children.

“We’ve done it for around five years. It’s amazing every year,” she said. “Seeing all the campsites and the costumes other kids are wearing is what my kids seem to love and the candy.”

Trick-or-treating ran from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, and the haunted circus attraction went from 8 to 11 p.m.

The event was $7 per carload for Indiana residents.

“It takes a lot of work, a lot of volunteers,” Jackson said. “Many of them are just workers for us who are here on their own time working and setting up.”

Jackson said the group starts planning and gathering things as early as July.

“We couldn’t do it without our sponsors, truthfully,” she said.

Sponsors donate most of the items that Starve Hollow uses for the event, including but not limited to the prizes for the top 13 campsites.

“First place is an entire boneyard decoration set, but even 13th place gets a dancing lawn ornament, so I’d be happy even with that,” Jackson said.

Sponsors also gave special prices on supplies so the group could have other activities, such as a pumpkin decorating contest and scarecrow decorating.

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Aaron Piper is a photographer and reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at apiper@tribtown.com or 812-523-7057.