Kids get in the Halloween spirit

Annie Blanks | 315-4450 | @DestinLogAnnie |
Amanda Johnson shows off her Raggedy Ann, aka Harper, during the children's costume contest. ANNIE BLANKS/THE LOG

Mini goblins, sharks, princesses and pumpkins descended on the Destin Community Center Monday night for the 16th annual Fall Festival.

With booths such as spider swamp, ring toss, rubber duck races, a bounce house and more, kids of all ages and their parents had something to do. A costume contest, a jack-o-lantern contest and a cake walk also encouraged kids to really get in the Halloween spirit.

“It’s a safe community event for our kids and parents to enjoy without having to worry about other (unsafe) things,” said Lance Johnson, parks and recreation department director. “It’s the community interacting with each other, it’s a fun environment and it’s a Destin tradition. The kids look forward to this all year.”

The entry fee for the event was a canned good to be donated to the local food pantry. Destin Community Center employees worked for nearly a week to get the gym set up with dozens of booths and activities. Volunteers with service groups from Fort Walton Beach High School, Destin Middle School and Destin seniors came together to help put on the event.

“They are the ones that help run my booths,” said Destin Community Center Director Lisa Firth. “It could not be done without them.”

Firth estimates that between 500 and 600 kids showed up for Monday night’s event, which has been successful every year since its inception.

“I see little ones come in that are the children of kids that came when I first started this 16 years ago,” Firth said. “Every year, we change it up. The employees work really hard, and the citizens continually talk about how they like this event. We all really look forward to this all year.”