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Pumpkin Palooza brings Halloween spirit to Joliet

From Marvel’s Captain America and DC Comics’ Batman to vampires and princesses, a number of people came dressed in costume last weekend for the Plainfield Park District’s Pumpkin Palooza.

Activities at the Oct. 29 event included pumpkin painting, a costume contest and Halloween-themed games. Pumpkin Palooza was held Oct. 29 at the Louis Joliet Mall in Joliet.

Corinne Vargas, marketing manager for the Plainfield Park District, said the event is intended to please people of all ages in celebration of fall.

“Everything’s pumpkins,” she said, adding that another goal of Pumpkin Palooza is to inform people of park district programming opportunities.

“We were trying to reach our community that we weren’t touching regularly before,” she said. “Plainfield Park District boundaries go into the Joliet area, especially into the mall. We’re hoping to outreach to the community members here in Joliet and also have people come to our community events.”

Robert Job, of Lockport, was in attendance for Pumpkin Palooza with his daughter. He said he likes how the event has a lot of kid-friendly activities that are age appropriate.

“There’s games that are simple enough yet still challenging,” Job said.

Job said he’s happy to know there are different ways to help people get into the holiday spirit, adding that the celebration of Halloween has changed since he was a child.

“At least in Lockport—I don’t know about here—they’re limited on how long their trick-or-treating,” he said. “Events like this and truck-or-treats and things like that, it’s a great way to let the kids have a little bit more time (to celebrate). I remember I grew up and you come home from school and you went (out) for as long as you wanted to and now it seems so limited. This is a something really nice for them.”

Dawn Razo, of Joliet, she said likes how there are different activities for kids.

“It’s entertaining for the kids,” she said.

Razo said it’s nice getting into the spirit of Halloween with her youngest daughter. Dawn’s daughter, Ariana Razo said she was enjoying her time at the event.

“I like how you can decorate a pumpkin and draw stuff and then the costume contest,” the 7-year-old Joliet resident said.

Ariana came to Pumpkin Palooza dressed as a vampire, a get up she hopes will her win the costume contest.

Erica Langston, of Joliet, said she learned of the event online and decided to drop in.

“I didn’t know it was going to be like this,” she said. “I thought it was going to be like basic little stuff. They went all out.”

Langston said she and her 1-year-old daughter had been engaged in all the activities made available to them. Learning more about park district programming was nice, too, she added.

“I didn’t know they had so much stuff going on in the Plainfield Park District,” Langston said.

Vargas said the park district was hoping to see between 100 and 350 people at the event.

The Plainfield Park District first started holding programs at Louis Joliet Mall in early 2016. Since that time, attendance numbers at events have grown, Vargas said.

Vargas said the park district is interested in working with the Louis Joliet Mall to bring another Halloween-themed event to Joliet next year.

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