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Cartoon characters, candy return for a modified Kent County tradition

Emily Lytle
Dover Post
A group photo with some of the characters from the Children’s Halloween Fantasy Trail in 2018.

This story has been edited to clarify the time of the event. The correct time is 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

From storybooks to the silver screen, all kinds of colorful characters will make an appearance at Akridge Scout Reservation near Camden for the Children’s Halloween Drive-thru Fantasy Trail Saturday, Oct. 24 from 2 to 4 p.m.

While some Halloween traditions in Kent County could not happen under public health guidelines, Kent County Parks and Recreation received approval from state health officials to modify the popular children’s event this year.

Jeremy Sheppard, director of the Department of Community Services, explained that typically children come to Brecknock Park where they can walk along the nature trail and trick-or-treat as they come across about 20 different scenes with characters and decorative backdrops. The family-friendly tradition is designed for children 2 to 7 years old. 

This year, children will stay inside their cars for a drive-thru version of the same event, and they will receive a bag of candy at the end, rather than at each scene. Right now, one bag of candy will be distributed per vehicle. Any extra entertainment, such as hayrides, will not happen this year, Sheppard said. 

Volunteers needed Saturday, Oct. 24 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. To volunteer or donate, contact Joe Paugh, program supervisor, at 302-744-2486 or joseph.paugh@co.kent.de.us.

He said the idea for a drive-thru arose after organizers saw similar events to distribute food from the Food Bank or pet food from animal shelters. “If people can get dog food and people can get regular people food,” Sheppard recalled thinking, “we should be able to get people candy and let people see the things they would normally see on the fantasy trail.”

The first challenge was finding a space large enough to set up a drive-thru, but the Boy Scouts of America Del-Mar-Va Council stepped up. They offered to use the loop on the 85-acre Akridge Scout Reservation on Baden Powell Way. 

Sheppard said this continues an ongoing partnership between the scouts and Kent County. “We need to work together on this,” he said. “They’re doing great to help us out.”

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Before arriving at the scout reservation, families should start at the Kent County Parks and Recreation Center where they will purchase a ticket for $5 per vehicle. Signs will then direct them to the reservation.

While the tradition will look a little different, Sheppard believes it will make a positive difference for families. “It really amazes me when I see the looks on kids’ faces with how happy they are to be participating in something,” he said. “Kids need that. While this isn’t perfect, it’s a step in that direction.”