By LISA HOOVER
POTSDAM -- Hundreds of local kids are expected to masquerade as ghosts, pirates, and heroes at the annual Halloween Fright Night celebration, with a “Phantoms of Potsdam” tour and the annual Rag-A-Muffin parade festivities also on tap for Halloween.
The event will include “two-and-a-half hours of fun in Potsdam,” with dance performances, games, and treats for local trick-or-treaters, according to Marylee Ballou, executive director at the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce.
Children look forward to Fright Night every year, according to Ballou. “Kids look forward to it, we have heard from teachers and principles that kids ask ‘when is Fright Night, are we getting a Fright Night flyer’?” Flyers are handed out to the elementary students at Potsdam and Norwood-Norfolk schools, she said.
Fright Night will return Thursday, Oct. 24 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. this year, marking a return to “our traditional hours,” Ballou said.
Step It Out Dance Studio will return with another street dance performance at 6:30 p.m., following a successful event last year. It was a “big hit” last year, Ballou said. “Everybody loved it, and I guess the dancers loved doing it.”
Other yearly favorites like the Evans & White treasure hunt and Great Northern Printing “paranormal activity” event will also return. The Bagelry will also offer cookies again this year.
Another highlight will include a jack-o-lantern walk on Raymond Street, according to Ballou. “Pre-done” cut jack-o-lanterns will be lined up along the street to be “admitted by the town,” she said. It’s “going to be very interesting to go down Raymond Street and see all these lit entries of pumpkins.”
Participants should bring their pumpkins to Raymond Street, near the Tile Company, by 5 p.m. for set up, she said. Ballou was unsure whether the pumpkins would be judged or just displayed. For information on the walk visit the Potsdam Rotary Club website at www.potsdamrotary.org.
Other highlights will include “lots of activities and games,” she said.
New vendors, including businesses from outside the downtown area and some non-profits, are expected to set up in the barricaded area with games or “to hand things out,” she said.
The roadway from 1 to 35 Market Street will be blocked off to traffic as usual “just for safety,” according to Ballou.
Ballou hopes to reach 30 vendors, the number that participated last year. She was “half way there,” with 17 vendors signed up by Oct. 8. “The businesses are great, they’re doing it for the kids and the community,” she said.
Participation is “always in the hundreds,” according to Ballou. “When the weather is good that evening and its not raining or overly cold we can have upwards of 800 to 1,000 people down here” for the two and a half hour event, she said. The “low scale might be 300.”
The traditional Fright Night activities will be followed by a “Phantoms of Potsdam” ghost tour courtesy of Rise Above Paranormal at 8:30 p.m., according to Ballou. Tickets for the tour are available at the chamber office for $10, with $5 to go to a local charity. Tickets purchased before Oct. 16 will be discounted to $8.
The tour will begin at the Potsdam Public Library and will feature some of Potsdam’s local ghost stories.
The Rag-A-Muffin parade will also return this year, although it’s planned for Saturday, Oct. 26. Kids will line up at 12:45 p.m. at the Clarkson Inn, with the parade to begin at 1 p.m. The parade will run from Market Street to Elm Street, down to Park Street, and end at the Potsdam Fire Station.
Fire truck rides and cider and donuts will be offered after the parade.
Fright Night vendors and activities will include Alchemistress, 17 Maple St., temporary tattoos; Arby's, 172 Market St., free value shake to kids in costume, candy; Bicknell Appliance & Home Interiors, 46 Market St., tricks and treats; Clarkson MBA Class Grad. Business Assoc., on market street, bean toss game, selling jewelry, selling goodie bags; Collegiate Village of Potsdam, Market St., treats, small craft project; and Evans and White, 1 Maple St., Treasure Hunt.
Also, First Crush, 32 Market St., candy, hot chocolate, cider $1; First Niagara, near 24 Market St., treats, coloring pages; Gina's Gift, outside 10 Market St., make a "Batty 'Bout Books" bookmark, make your Halloween trail mix; Isle of You, 17 Market St., pin the nose on pumpkin w/candy for players, spooky sales for adults; IYQ Balloons, 24 Market St., photo op with balloon sculpture; and Jazzercise, Market Sq. Mall, Raymond St., free class, 6:15 p.m., free gift for work out,
Also, Kiwanis Key Club, Market St., selling glow bracelets; Little Italy, 30 Market St., candy guessing game, win candy basket; Misty Hollow, 22 Market St., face painting, treats; Northern Music & Video, 29 Market St., showing of Franken Weenie; Pinto, Mucenski, Hooper, VanHouse, & Co., 42 Market St., handing out candy; Potsdam Rotary, Raymond St., jack- o-lantern walk, 5:30 p.m.; Potsdam Chamber, 24 Market St., spooky fishing game; Potsdam IGA, 27 Elm St., passing out bags of treats; and SeaComm, around downtown, hand out goodies.
Also, SL Reality Check, Market St., pumpkin ring toss or pumpkin painting; Step It Out Dance Studio, In the Street performance, 6:30 p.m.; Twisted Turtle, 16 Market St., candy; United Healthcare Community Plans, Market St. near Little Italy, treats, Dr. Health E. Hound; Walgreens, 173 Market St., annual photo shoot 4 to 8 p.m. free 4x6 photo to people in costume, giveaways for best children's costumes; photo value packs; Walmart, Market St. near town court house, hand out goodies; University Bookstore, 39 Market St., children's Halloween reading, coloring contest, games/trivia/treats, café specials; and The Hop, 3 Market St., goodie bags, hot dog special.
WPDM will broadcast events from a setup near Misty Hollow.
To sign up as a Fright Night vendor contact the chamber at 274-9000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.