Franklin Countys First News

Halloween Home Challenge coming in October

FARMINGTON - As fall and Halloween festivals are cancelled across the nation, and the trick-or-treating tradition is threatened this year, ghost, ghoul and pumpkin enthusiasts are looking for ways to safely celebrate the upcoming Halloween season.

Darlene Patrick, of Loki’s Workshop Halloween Emporium, is head of Farmington Fright Nights and has come up with a solution to celebrate the holiday in a safe and festive way. Patrick has been trying to bring the haunted house scene to Farmington for several years now, but between the LEAP building explosion in 2019 and the pandemic of this year, her plans have been delayed several times. This year, she is determined to celebrate Halloween no matter what by bringing the Farmington Fright Nights’ original multi-vendor haunted house event to a more personalized level.

“How can we get people excited about Halloween and still be safe?” Patrick asked herself, before coming to the idea for the Halloween Home Challenge of Franklin County.

It will be a three-day house and business decorating event, running from October 29 to 31. Though downtown Farmington is what Patrick envisions as the heart of the event, anyone within the Franklin County can sign up to participate. Those wishing to be involved in the event can sign up here or at the Farmington Fright Nights’ website here. Families can sign up to be judged in one of five categories: Little Ghouls with children up to 9 years old, Tween Terrors with ages from 10 to 13, Tombstone Teens with ages from 14 to 17, or Fearsome Families or Horror Fanatics which can include all ages. The categories will assist the judges in determining what kinds of decorations they could expect from each house, based on their categories. One grand prize will be awarded, and three prizes will also be awarded for each category.

“Businesses can get in on the fun by decorating downtown and the store fronts in the area. Sponsorships in the form of gift certificates or items will help promote their products,” Patrick said.

Farmington Fright Nights will post the logo and a business link to any of the participating businesses on their website.

“Franklin County deserves to be the place Maine thinks about when it comes to Fall and the Halloween Season. Franklin County businesses deserve to have the influx of visitors. People are searching for fun activities to do together yet apart, and this Halloween Home Challenge fits the bill,” Patrick said.

After 35 years of working in the haunted attraction industry in places like New York, heading the New York Renaissance Festival as well as the Forest of Fear for several years, Patrick is ready to bring the Halloween festivities to Farmington.

“Let’s make downtown Halloween City. Let’s make it a happy autumn this year,” Patrick said.

A Farmington resident of three years, she hopes that if the community embraces this opportunity to paint the town in festive decorations, it will attract more people looking for things to do in Franklin county. Her plan is to encourage a new tradition of people visiting Halloween decorations every year, much like they do during the Christmas season.

“Farmington has such a big sense of community. I want to be part of that,” Patrick said.

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