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Chamber collecting candy for Jack-O-Lanterns night

Wanted: Candy enough for the whole crowd.

The Thomson-McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce accelerated its efforts this week to collect candy for the downtown Halloween festival.

Jack-O-Lanterns on Journal will take place from 5-9 p.m. Oct. 27 and is free to attend.

Besides a good, fun scare, participants can enjoy the candy that's being collected by the sponsoring chamber and by other agencies.

"It started off just to have a fun, safe Halloween or fall festival downtown, and it's grown into this huge event," said Corey Johnson, a member of the event committee for the chamber and a staff member at the Y130 and the Thomson Family YMCA. Johnson has been instrumental in planning the festival since its inception. She said it has grown every year, with more attendees and more activities.

Kim Thomas, office director for the chamber, said candy donations can be dropped off at that office, or can be delivered the night of festival.

Donations also can be delivered to the Family Y on West Hill Street or to the Y130, which is just across Main Street from the chamber office.

"We assumed we might have 100 kids show up the first year, and it turned into this crazy explosion where people just came from all over," Johnson said.

Local businesses and organizations will host about 15 booths, ranging from a fortune teller to pin the nose on the pumpkin. Each booth offers candy or a prize, and it gives businesses a chance to interact with the public.

A costume parade will take place at 7:30 p.m.

This year, the planners are preparing for 1,000 people to attend.

For the increased crowd, they have planned bigger and better activities than ever before.

The additions include trick-or-treat bags for attendees, a children's haunted house and refreshments.

A concession stand will sell hot dogs, drinks and boiled peanuts.

The children's haunted house will be Scooby Doo-theme, Mystery Machine and all. It will cost $1.

Each year the festival also includes a traditional haunted house in an empty building on Journal Street for the older children. It costs $3 and will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

"We turn Journal Street into its own little Halloween town," Johnson said.

The winning Fall Crows will be announced at the festival.

Proceeds from the event will go toward supplies and the scholarship fund for the Y130 center.

Web posted on Thursday, October 20, 2011

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