Cobwebs and streamers adorned the walls of the historic Whittier Community Center Thursday evening while astronauts, dinosaurs and princesses ran from the cakewalk to the fortune teller to the tic-tac-toe.
A crowd of over 300 people gathered for the 90th annual Halloween Carnival at the community center. Built in 1908, the center has seen thousands of visitors and various events, and the carnival has been a classic staple during the fall.
“It has changed how it looks over the years, but the carnival is still such a jewel in this community,” said Sandy Emile, the artistic director of the Cache Valley Civic Ballet.
The Whittier Center has been home to the CVCB for 37 years, and while the center no longer turns the basement into a haunted house decked out with coffins and a witch’s cauldron as it did when Emile’s son frequented the carnival, balloon animals, a mini maze and other games circle bring close to 300 visitors every year.
Tom Persian, the community center’s executive director, said there are so many options for where to go and what to do on Halloween but the carnival remains a steadfast must-do for many local families.
Persian was shuffling through some historical records when he came across a Halloween Carnival poster from the early ‘90s that helped bring back some older traditions, such as the food drive and raffle.
“It is such a great place for the community to gather and be a part of the continuing history of this building,” Persian said.
Emile said while there are many new visitors every year, there are also people who have been coming for years who are now bringing their great-grandchildren.
“We have come every year since my daughter was born,” said Emilie Sorensen, pointing to her 6-year-old daughter who was sporting a witches hat. “And even now when we live out of town, we make sure to come back every year.”
Persian said he intends to keep searching through 90 years of the Halloween Carnival posters and information to ensure the event sticks to its roots.