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Opportunity Village plans inaugural HallOVeen fundraiser through October

It’s creepy and it’s kooky, mysterious and spooky. It’s all together ooky: It’s almost HallOVeen.

Opportunity Village is set to host its inaugural Halloween event from 5 to 9 p.m. every Friday through Sunday in October at the Magical Forest, 6300 W. Oakey Blvd.

According to event manager Amanda Mitchell, the organization felt the Magical Forest was underutilized and created HallOVeen to bring more action into the facility.

But because of the Magical Forest’s family-friendly reputation, the event isn’t based around the usual scary monsters, blood and guts.

“We realized it would have be a very family-friendly event because it is still the Magical Forest,” Mitchell said. “All the events and attractions during HallOVeen will be very kid-centric.”

The event is packed with nightly entertainment, such as parades, friendly characters, crafts, storytelling Fridays, Scary-oke Saturdays and movie Sundays.

“The story and one video will be of Spookley the Square Pumpkin,” Mitchell said. “It sends a message of inclusiveness, of being different but still important. It’s really cute.”

An inflatable dragon 30 feet high, 40 feet wide and 150 feet long is to be the event’s main attraction. According to Mitchell, there are only a few of them in the world.

Guests will enter through the mouth and complete a 250-foot interactive maze. To keep it kid-friendly, the dragon’s insides will be stuffed with candy wrappers, cotton candy and popcorn boxes.

“The kids will wear hats with little lights on them like they’re going on an adventure,” Mitchell said. “The little ones will also have glow sticks, so if they get a little nervous, they can wave off any characters inside.”

Five treat stations are set to offer candy throughout the event. Guests will receive a stamp card to prevent “double dipping,” according to Mitchell.

“It’s not going to be like, ‘Come and fill your bag,’ ” she said, “but we’re going to make sure that every guest walks away with some little goodies.”

Additional sweets will be offered inside the new Candy Cabin, renovated by KB Home. Guests can purchase a variety of confections, popcorn, cotton candy and more.

“We’re trying to work with a local bakery that will make truffles and candy apples and those kinds of things as well,” Mitchell said. “We’ll have something across all different price points.”

A Magical Midway is scheduled to offer a laser gun shooting range, a ring toss and a lucky duck game with tickets and prizes.

Other signature Magical Forest attractions are also scheduled to be running and decorated in Halloween gear, including the Spooktacular Forest Express Passenger Train, Cheyenne’s Enchanted Carousel, Rod’s Mini-Golf and the Slightly Scary Snowflake Slide.

Thanks to numerous donors and volunteers, the Magical Forest went through a series of upgrades this year.

“Everyone worked very, very hard and long hours,” said Marty Wood, director of marketing.

Pulte Homes renovated the forest’s ticket booth office to make the lines quicker and less stressful. Trees were removed so the PENTA Building Group could create more pathways for guests.

“We’ve had nights at the Magical Forest where 5,000 people have showed up,” Mitchell said. “We realized we needed to change some things physically to make the experience more comfortable for everyone.”

The train tunnel was transformed into a rock candy mine, featuring graphics of elves mining the candy.

Mistletoe Millie, a new 200-foot red snake, is also scheduled to greet guests as they pass through the tunnel on the Forest Express train.

“She came from The Venetian,” Wood said. “It was part of their Chinese New Year display when they celebrated the Year of the Snake.”

Boris the Elf’s 3-D Experience received a makeover by a local artist who volunteered to draw all the paintings. The set was designed to be similar to the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland.

“Boris is an elf that really likes Halloween better than Christmas so he collaborates with his Jack the Skeleton friends to try to overthrow Christmas,” Mitchell said. “At the end of the day, he sees the error of his ways and wants to celebrate Christmas after all.”

Members of the community also purchased the Haunted Adventure creature, upgraded Dasher Dan’s Diner and donated candy.

“If it weren’t for the amount of hours the community donates and volunteers, none of this would be possible,” Mitchell said. “Most of what we do stems from donations. We would be dead in the water without them.”

About 100 volunteers are needed each night to assist with attractions, work as cashiers and greet guests.

“We’ll be up and running regardless if we have all 100 people,” Mitchell said. “But if anyone is interested in volunteering, we can certainly use their help.”

All proceeds benefit the services and programs offered at Opportunity Village.

Ticket passports, which include entry and unlimited rides, cost $19.99 for adults and $17.99 for children. General admission costs $11 for adults and $9 for children. Kids 2 or younger are admitted free.

Tickets can be purchased online, at the door or at various Lee’s Discount Liquor and WestStar Credit Union locations. For tickets and more information, visit hallOVeen.org.

Contact Southwest/Spring Valley View reporter Caitlyn Belcher at 702-383-0403 or cbelcher@viewnews.com.

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