Workers at the Akron Zoo have been up to their elbows in Halloween decor, putting up a dozen trick-or-treat stations with not-so-scary witches, pumpkins and black cats.
At the Witches Station, decorators left an icky rubber spider in the storage box because, after all, if adults didn’t want to touch it, the spider was way too scary for little ones to see.
Boo at the Zoo, which runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 13 to 14, 19 to 21 and 26 to 28, has been a favorite Halloween attraction for young children and their parents since it began in 1988. It is a night guaranteed to entertain little beggars, not frighten them.
More than 350,000 people have attended the event since it began in 1988, said David Barnhardt, director of marketing and guest services.
The Witches Station was adopted for decorating by women who work in the guest services department along with Barnhardt.
“They are right at home, here,” Barnhardt teased on Friday as they toiled away.
Seasonal staff employee Beth Finnerty of Akron agreed.
“I always wanted to chant over a cauldron,” she said.
It takes about 35 folks to set up the ghoulish displays each year, said Machelle Syx, events coordinator at the zoo. As many as twice that number will be on hand each night of the event.
“If we had a wish list for volunteers, it would have 75 people on it each night,” she said.
Children will be provided with passports and a map that allows them to visit 12 treat stations throughout the park where they can collect goodies.
Two new stations will be featured this year including a Superhero Station with zoo mascot Conrad Conservation as a cut-out caped crusader appropriate for photo opportunities.
The zoo’s newest attraction, Beyond the Reef, located in the Komodo Kingdom Education Center, will be hosted by scuba divers who will pass out treats in an underwater-themed boardwalk.
Truckloads and pallets of pumpkins, donated by Luther Farms in Richfield and Tegtmeier Farm in West Salem, line paths though the park. A backhoe, donated by sponsor Hammond Construction, will be hosted each night by construction workers wearing hard hats and bright orange vests.
Merrill Lynch and Acme Fresh Markets are also sponsors for the event.
Tickets are now on sale at the zoo, 500 Edgewood Ave., and at all Acme Fresh Markets, at $10 for trick-or-treaters and $6 for observers. Tickets will be discounted by $1 if purchased 24 hours before the event.
Children and adults are encouraged to come in costume, but adults may not wear masks for fear of scaring little ones.
Trick-or-treat bags will be provided.
Kathy Antoniotti can be reached at 330-996-3565 or email@example.com.