Wanted: Zombies with cash

CENTRAL POINT — Organizers of the third annual Pine Street Trick-or-Treat event in Central Point are hoping some of the ghouls and goblins who enjoy the popular Halloween celebration each year will throw down some support this year.

Event coordinators are looking to grow the event with help from volunteers of the zombie, crossing-guard and game-hosting variety, in addition to materials to help create carnival-style games and props to lend to the monster mash-style atmosphere soon to engulf the downtown.

This year’s event is slated from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28.

David and Heidi Rios began the event in 2015, and they say the number of trick-or-treaters grew from 250 to more than 500 in the first two years, with even more expected this year.

David Rios said his motivation was to create a “good old-fashioned” Halloween event for local families. Rios and his wife, owners of Fusion Martial Arts, estimate that about 90 percent of local businesses participated by passing out candy, and nearly as many turning out in costume.

“Last year, we saw easily 500 kids — or 1,000 people with parents and siblings and everyone altogether — in the streets within an hour,” he said.

“The idea is to bring back the way families used to do Halloween together, where parents will look back and say, ‘I used to make costumes with my dad, maybe I’ll do that with my own kids,’ kind of mentality. We want this to become a local tradition where people always plan to go to Central Point to do their trick-or-treating.”

Rios said the addition of some three dozen zombies this year would give older students some “scarier big-kid fun” to look forward to. Volunteer commitment will be crucial, however.

“To really pull it off, I think we’ll need 50 to 60 volunteers. That will give us 30 zombies, and then volunteers to help with the games,” he said.

“If we have the zombies at the major crosswalks, when you look down the main street, it will look like the entire town is filled with zombies walking back and forth during the event. We’re thinking 10 on each corner and it’ll just be awesome.”

Volunteer Debbie Saxbury said she is excited to see zombies converge on downtown.

“We need crosswalk volunteers and we need zombies. Those are the two big things. The zombies will be a lot of fun for the older kids,” Saxbury said. “Our hope is it will just continue to get bigger and bigger. It’s a great community event and a lot of fun for all ages.”

Cash donations are needed to help with printing fliers and other expenses, she said, and needed materials include lumber and paint.

“We’ve been covering it out of pocket, but as it grows, we really need the community to help us out a little bit,” David Rios said.

“As far as new props and games and everything, how much we’re able to do depends on how much help we can get. The show will go on, no matter what, though. We’re just seeing if people are willing to step up and donate and to volunteer so we can make it even better.”

Donations can be mailed or dropped off at Fusion Martial Arts, 222 E. Pine St., Central Point, 97502. For more information, call 541-973-3332.

— Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com

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