Local children celebrate spooky season with Halloween Parade
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Dragons, werewolves and princesses danced across the sidewalks lining German Street on Oct. 29, during the Shepherdstown Public Library Children’s Department’s annual Halloween Parade.
One hundred-twenty local residents joined in the parade, including Martinsburg resident Romina Reyes and her twin daughters.
“It’s my first time–my sister usually does it, and I just asked if I could join in,” Reyes said of her sister, who is a Shepherdstown resident. “We’re still going to go out on Halloween, but this is something fun to do with them in the day, since they’re home.”
Two-year-old Connor Pender posed in his green dragon costume as the parade came to an end at McMurran Hall. The Game of Thrones television series-themed costume, according to his mother, inspired the whole family to also dress as Game of Thrones characters for Halloween this year.
“He started the trend,” Meghan Pender, of Martinsburg, said. “It’s always good for them to be able to wear their costumes more than one time. This parade is just Halloween fun, and it’s nice to be with our friends.”
Her mother-in-law, Maggie Pender, of Nebraska, agreed with her.
“I think it’s good, because it’s geared to the little children,” Maggie said. “The little children don’t have as much opportunity for the Halloween stuff as the bigger kids–this is safer and gentler.”
This year, the parade ended in the War Memorial Building with a “costumed” animal show by Critters and Conservation, featuring a Burmese python, African pygmy hedgehog, Chilean rose tarantula and the rose-breasted cockatoo.
“I have four different animals to show you guys. Some are dressed in their costumes,” said Critters and Conservation owner Melissa Kowalsai.
At the end of the show, Kowalsai let attendees touch the python, and talked about how this would be her last time giving a show for the library.
“At the end of March 2020, I will close the business,” Kowalsai said, mentioning she was closing because of the lifestyle, not the lack of business. “I have plenty of business, but I’ve done it for 11 years and am ready to have a new chapter in my life. This is a lot of work, and they tend to take over the house after a while.”
Children’s Librarian Tish Wiggs said she was glad the library was scheduled Critters and Conservation to visit one last time, but said there are other similar businesses in the region, which the library will use.
As children left the show, they each took home a mini pumpkin, donated by Sunny Meadows Greenhouse in Boonsboro, Md., or an apple, donated by Orr’s Farm Market in Martinsburg.
“It seemed to have been a bigger crowd than last year’s,” Wiggs said about the event. “It’s a great outlet, which helps us to catch some of the kids who are in preschool. It gives them a sense of community.”