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South County events full of sweets and spooks

More haunting activities planned this week

SOUTH COUNTY — Halloween spirits were lifted early this month in South County, with trick-or-treaters getting spooked in Soledad, witches and warlocks “flying” through Greenfield and ghost stories being told in King City — and that’s just the beginning of the local frights as more haunting events are planned this week.

Hundreds of young trick-or-treaters stopped by the South County YMCA in Soledad last Friday, Oct. 18, for its annual Spooktacular 2019 Halloween event. According to Executive Director Joe Gonzales, the family function featured games, arts and crafts and trick-or-treat stations for youth, many of whom showed up in costume.

The next day, dozens of residents participated in Greenfield’s first-ever Witch Parade, in which they dressed up as witches and warlocks and rode “broomsticks” — whimsically decorated bicycles — down El Camino Real while tossing candy to little ones along the way. Greenfield police officers provided an escort during the Oct. 19 event.

“Thank you to all who attended and supported the event, especially the Greenfield Police Department,” said Jessica Madrid-Bautista, aka “The Grand Witch,” who sponsored the Saturday parade. “I wanted to bring a whimsical event to kick off the Harvest Festival, and sometimes you have to create your own kind of fun.”

Later that evening, Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum hosted its annual Ghost Stories Bonfire at San Lorenzo County Park in King City. In addition to local storytellers, the Oct. 19 gathering included family activities and a roaring bonfire that provided the perfect setting for a spine-chilling ghost story.

More ghoulishly delightful events are set for this week in South County.

Halloween — Thursday, Oct. 31

King City Recreation Department will host “Trunk or Treat” again this year on Halloween, Thursday, Oct. 31, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds’ expo lawn, 625 Division St.

This family-friendly event features local businesses and organizations that decorate the trunks of their vehicles and pass out candy to children ages 2 to 12, who can also participate in a costume contest and games for prizes. The first 100 youth will receive a trick-or-treat bag as well.

Once again Liberty Chapel Community Church, South County YMCA, City of Soledad, local businesses and community members have partnered together to host the annual Harvest Night Festival. This year’s event is set for Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the local YMCA, 560 Walker Drive, in Soledad.

The Halloween event provides a safe alternative to trick-or-treating for children and their families and features carnival-style games, candy, face painting, bounce houses and giveaways. Costumes are not required at the festival, which is free to attend for families with children of all ages.

All Saints Day — Friday, Nov. 1

A walking tour of the King City Cemetery will kick off All Saints Day this Friday, Nov. 1, at 10 a.m. Presented by John and Karen Jernigan, the hour-long tour will honor local ancestors by telling the history of King City through the lives of those buried at the cemetery, 1010 Broadway St. To reserve a spot, call the Jernigans at 831-385-6112.

Later that evening, Sol Treasures and La Cocina in King City will present the second annual Illuminated Procession, a lighted parade celebrating the Mexican tradition of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The parade begins at 6 p.m. Friday at Broadway and Third streets.

The procession will continue up Broadway to La Cocina — the local open-air market outside JV Automobiles — for a fiesta, including food, music, dance and performances. A corresponding art exhibit is also on display at the Sol Treasures gallery, 519 Broadway St.

Also on Friday, the Soledad-Mission Recreation District will host its first-ever Costume Party Fundraiser for adults. The evening will be filled with music, dancing and games in addition to a costume contest and raffles. A taco dinner will be provided buffet style to all guests, as well as dessert and appetizer stations.

Guests are encouraged to show up in costume for the Nov. 1 fundraiser, which runs from 6 to 11 p.m. at California Gourmet Pizza, 235 West St., in Soledad. For tickets and more information, go to soledadrec.org.

Witches and warlocks “fly” down El Camino Real in Greenfield for the first-ever Witches Parade.
Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for the Salinas Valley newspapers King City Rustler, Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers education, government and general news for the cities of King City and Greenfield and occasionally for the surrounding communities in south Monterey County.

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