Carving, train rides new to Halloween event in Hampton

Sunday, October 13, 2019 | 12:01 AM

Creativity will be rewarded in this year’s pumpkin carving contest, a new addition to the annual Hampton Township Halloween celebration set for Oct. 26.

Those wishing to participate can now register until Oct. 25 for free online at

“Pumpkins of all shapes and sizes are welcome as long as they are not fake,” said Melanie Martino, coordinator of the event for the township.

Only so many spaces are available, she said. First-, second- and third-place prizes will be awarded, with the top carver receiving a 2020 Family Pool Pass, said Martino.

Registered participants can bring their finished pumpkin to the community center beginning Oct. 23, and must be there by noon, Oct. 26, to be part of the judging contest. Winners will be announced after the annual Halloween parade, said Martino.

That parade is the kickoff to the day’s celebration. Children 10-and-younger can come dressed up to march with others around the community center park and to be part of the costume contest. Parents are requested to register their children for free on the township website. Martino said this gives them an idea of how many to expect.

Parade participants should check-in that day by 2 p.m. at the community center and to receive their costume contest number. The parade begins promptly at 2:15 p.m., she said.

Prizes will be awarded to the top two costumes of each age category and the 2019 Parade King and Queen will also be announced at the end of the parade.

Paraders will also receive three complimentary raffle tickets for a Build-A-Bear raffle, said Martino. Additional ones can be purchased for a small fee.

Also new this year is a Thomas the Train ride at the community pool parking lot, said Martino.

And the upper orchard will once again be transformed into a “spooky graveyard” for the hayride that will be taking place that day, said Martino.

A DJ, local fire, emergency medical services, and police will also be present, she said.

The day’s topped off with drinks, cookies, and candy.

The sponsors for this year’s parade are Suburban Home Improvement, Gaitens, Tucceri & Nicholas, P.C., Waste Management, KLH Engineers and HUB International, Assistant Township Manager Susan Bernet said.

“We are very grateful to the sponsors who contribute to making this event bigger this year,” Bernet said.

And Martino added a “very special thank you” to Bernet who “bakes all the cookies for the event.”

Local residents and visitors may have already spotted the decorations that have been up at the community center over the past week, which Township Director of Community Services Kevin Flannery said are “spooktacular.”