Things that go bump in the dark
Township children brave ‘haunted house’ at town Halloween party
by Joseph Passantino
Reporter staff writer
Nov 10, 2013 | 4028 views | 0 0 comments | 103 103 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Halloween
PONYING UP – This little princess got her pony ride on Halloween night.
view slideshow (15 images)
PONYING UP – This little princess got her pony ride on Halloween night.
PONYING UP – This little princess got her pony ride on Halloween night.
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HERO AND VILLAIN – Ironman and Count Dracula “join forces” to get their photo taken in front of a large, fabric jack o’lantern.
HERO AND VILLAIN – Ironman and Count Dracula “join forces” to get their photo taken in front of a large, fabric jack o’lantern.
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STAY AWAY – This ghoulish creature, Christina Rodriguez, tells you to stay away via the message on her headdress, “NUN of your business.”
STAY AWAY – This ghoulish creature, Christina Rodriguez, tells you to stay away via the message on her headdress, “NUN of your business.”
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DYNAMIC DUO – A miniature Thomas the Tank Engine and this darling little butterfly seem cautious about enjoying the night’s activities.
DYNAMIC DUO – A miniature Thomas the Tank Engine and this darling little butterfly seem cautious about enjoying the night’s activities.
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‘DON’T COME ANY CLOSER’ seems to be what these two creatures of the night seem to be saying …
‘DON’T COME ANY CLOSER’ seems to be what these two creatures of the night seem to be saying …
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OPERATOR, OPERATOR – “There’s a woman here who seems to be hung up … ”
OPERATOR, OPERATOR – “There’s a woman here who seems to be hung up … ”
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MEETING THE MAYOR – Children lined up to meet Mayor Nicholas Sacco and receive a Halloween goody pail. To the mayor’s left is township Recreation Commissioner Hugh Cabrera.
MEETING THE MAYOR – Children lined up to meet Mayor Nicholas Sacco and receive a Halloween goody pail. To the mayor’s left is township Recreation Commissioner Hugh Cabrera.
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SWEET FACE – Beautiful, happy, and smiling, someone’s having a good time at the party.
SWEET FACE – Beautiful, happy, and smiling, someone’s having a good time at the party.
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DIALING HOME – “Honey, I’m a little ‘undead.’ Can you stick the roast in for me before I get there?”
DIALING HOME – “Honey, I’m a little ‘undead.’ Can you stick the roast in for me before I get there?”
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PRETTY IN PAWS – Agnes Velasquez, 16, a volunteer at the recreation center for the Halloween party, is all smiles and ready to dole out baskets of fun.
PRETTY IN PAWS – Agnes Velasquez, 16, a volunteer at the recreation center for the Halloween party, is all smiles and ready to dole out baskets of fun.
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THE GAUNTLET – Young attendees couldn’t get past the host of volunteers without receiving the treats being given out.
THE GAUNTLET – Young attendees couldn’t get past the host of volunteers without receiving the treats being given out.
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ALL SET TO GO – This monk-looking character seemed to be more than happy with the evening’s activities and prizes.
ALL SET TO GO – This monk-looking character seemed to be more than happy with the evening’s activities and prizes.
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HALLOWEEN DIVERSITY – Everything from witches to Caribbean pirates to Kabuki actresses were in the mix of this group’s costumes.
HALLOWEEN DIVERSITY – Everything from witches to Caribbean pirates to Kabuki actresses were in the mix of this group’s costumes.
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FRIENDLY RABBIT – Taking in the festivities was this lovely and docile party goer.
FRIENDLY RABBIT – Taking in the festivities was this lovely and docile party goer.
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GANG OF THREE – Mother, bloody zombie, and Super Mario wannabee enjoyed the hay and pumpkin field. But watch out for that big, black spider!
GANG OF THREE – Mother, bloody zombie, and Super Mario wannabee enjoyed the hay and pumpkin field. But watch out for that big, black spider!
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Township children had a devilishly good time at North Bergen’s free Halloween party, a combination haunted house, pony ride, and gift receiving extravaganza at the Recreation Center.

For two hours, more than a thousand trick-or-treaters up to age 9 streamed into the dimly lit rec center gymnasium, trying to avoid the nefarious creatures that lurked in the darkness, in North Bergen’s own version of a haunted house. If they made it through to the gym’s far side, they were rewarded with a brief meeting with Mayor Nicholas Sacco and township commissioners and received a Halloween goody pail.

“We’re just taking pictures and picking a pumpkin and having a good time,” said Erika Sanchez.

“The girls wanted to go trick or treating and then we came and are taking pictures here,” said Erika Castro, there with her daughter, Tiffany, 10, and daughter’s friend, Kiara Cantos, 8. “This is really nice what they’re doing here.”

This was Mariuxi Luzarraga’s initial visit to the party with daughter Valerie Aracena.

“This is the first time we’ve come, because she’s only 3 years old,” Luzarraga said.
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“To see the little kids smile is great.”– Agnes Velasquez
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Agnes Velasquez, 16, participated as a volunteer, dispensing the goodies to the attendees.

“I want to help little children so they would be safe,” Velasquez said. “Instead of going outside, they could come inside here and get some treats.

“To see the little kids smile is great,” she said.

“This is the most phenomenal thing,” said Issel Arroyo, who was there with sons Alex, 8, and Angel, 6. “I love all the things they do here.”

The annual tradition was even more appreciated this year, after last year’s holiday observation was celebrated late due to Hurricane Sandy.

“Maybe that’s why the turnout is great,” township spokesman Philip Swibinski said. “The people want to get back into the swing of things. The kids were ready to roll.”

In addition to Sacco, township Commissioners Allen Pascual and Hugo Cabrera greeted participants. Police Chief Robert Dowd, recreation supervisor John Cellini, and recreation aide John Prato also took part in the festivities.

Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.

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