By Kerry Breen
More than a thousand costumed children, accompanied by their parents, came to Malapardis Park on Sat., Oct. 29 for the annual “Masquerade at Malapardis.”
Held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., the crowds were blessed with ideal weather and sunny skies. Children, as young as newborns and as old as ten years old, were invited to attend and enjoy the celebration with their parents.
Organized by the Recreation Department, the town-wide event celebrates Halloween with a variety of fun activities – as well as trick-or-treating around the park. As one of the largest celebrations in the township, only beaten by Hanover Township Day, this is one of the best-loved Halloween traditions for residents.
“In addition to trick-or-treating at mini houses set up around the park, children could participate in several activities,” said Dinah Schill, the board secretary of the Recreation Department. “There was pumpkin painting, Guess the Weight of the Giant Pumpkin, Monster Mash Dancing, the Pumpkin Challenge Vote, a photo opportunity, and face painting and temporary tattoos by the Whippany Park High School INTERACT club volunteers.”
The event also included a large parade for the children to take part in, during which they trick-or-treated through the various castles, set up by organizations such as local schools and Girl Scouts.
The event has been going on for five years, and, according to Deputy Mayor John Ferramosca, this year featured the largest Halloween parade yet.
The Pumpkin Challenge vote is part of the Hanover Township Committee’s third annual friendly “Pumpkin Challenge Contest,” where the committeemen paint their pumpkins to look like themselves. The pumpkins had previously been on display in the local Multi-Purpose Community Center for residents to look at prior to making their votes. In total, 316 votes were cast throughout the afternoon. In the end, Committeman George Coppola won for the third year in a row, making him the undefeated winner of the “Pumpkin Challenge Contest.”
The face painting and temporary tattoos allowed for children to enhance their already-fun costumes, and the photo opportunity gave parents a memory to take home forever. Costumes included princesses, superheroes, firemen and police officers, herds of animals, and so many more. Even the youngest children present were dressed in their Halloween finest.
However, one of the most fun events was the “Guess the Weight of the Giant Pumpkin” competition. The contest was open to children under the age of ten years old; they were asked to guess the weight of a 173 pound pumpkin. The winner was Whippany’s three-year-old Konrad Vreeland, who won both the pumpkin and a 20 dollar gift card. However, the pumpkin had to be delivered on Tues., Nov. 1 by the Department of Public Works since it was too large to cart home otherwise.
Refreshments were also provided by the local Knights of Columbus organization. Children and adults alike enjoyed festive donuts, apple juice and hot chocolate.
More than a dozen local civic groups set up mini haunted houses around the park, where, in addition to the refreshments provided, children could go trick-or-treating for sweet treats provided by the groups.