EAST ORANGE, NJ — East Orange Mayor Ted Green said he was in the mood to frighten the youth when he joined his administration to celebrate Halloween with the East Orange community at the 13th annual House of Haunted Horrors Spooktacular and Trunk-or-Treat in Elmwood Park on Friday, Nov. 1.
The line of parked cars of people participating in the Trunk-or-Treat portion of the event stretched from the top of the hill where the haunted house was to the parking lot, and the mayor said it looked as if holding the event the day after Halloween had worked out well for everyone.
“This is our Haunted House Halloween festivity here at Elmwood Park,” Green told the Record-Transcript at the event. “It was raining yesterday, so we had to postpone our event. We’re still in full gear, despite the weather yesterday.”
“Every year, this is always a great event, because it gives our young people, not only an opportunity to go around to the cars and get some Halloween treats, but also go into the haunted house and get scared, screaming and shouting and getting anxiety. It’s always good, because it’s a Friday. It’s a safe haven for our community. Just a lot of people involved in making this happen. Again, this is our 13th year and, every year, it gets better. We have people as far as Livingston, West Orange, Plainfield, South Jersey; a lot of people come up here just for our Halloween celebration.”
“This Halloween Spooktacular celebration is actually our 16th year,” Green said, “but most people regard this as our 13th year because of the number 13 with it, referencing Friday the 13th, but it’s really our 16th year. When I started doing this — I started way before I became a councilman — so, if you incorporate those years and when I became the mayor, it may be the 16th year.”
According to local Parks Superintendent Dennis James at the event, “Years ago, the haunted house was small. But now, it’s getting bigger and bigger and the kids love it. It’s a good night. We have good weather. I’m glad the mayor waited to have this event and we didn’t do it yesterday on Halloween, because of the rain. Now we’re ready to get started.”
One teenage girl became so scared, she ran out of the haunted house and cried.
“I feel excellent about today’s event,” East Orange District Leader Lee Clayton, who helped oversee the haunted house, told the Record-Transcript at the event. “We’re just getting started. The turn out tonight is great.”
“This is a great event,” Tony Jackson, the mayor’s chief of staff, told the Record-Transcript at the event. “Of course, the weather didn’t allow us to do it on the day of, but even the day after, it’s fitting because it’s been so traditional every year. As you can see, there’s a lot of kids out here and it’s a good event.”
“We’re at our annual Halloween Trunk-or-Treat Festival,” said East Orange Fire Department Deputy Chief Walter Cosby, who attended with other members of the EOFD. “As you know, we had to postpone it for today because of the rain yesterday. We’re just happy everyone was able to come out. I expected more people this year, but I’m happy to see that everyone could come out and everyone’s having a good time tonight.”
Sporting a “Black Panther” mask for the Halloween event was 3rd Ward Councilman Bergson Leneus.
“Tonight’s event is amazing,” Leneus told the Record-Transcript. “I’m just so happy to be a part of this event. Every year, the mayor, the city, all the representatives, all the council people do an amazing job putting this working collaborative together and the way we put this event together for the community made tonight so much greater. Again, I’m so happy to be here, because it gets bigger and better every year.”