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​It Takes a Village: Halloween Town Provides Spooky Fun for Everyone

Live and Learn | October 20th, 2022

By Sabrina Hornung

sabrina@hpr1.com

Photo by: Michelle Tait, Memory Makers Old Time Photography

In August URL Radio personality Stacy Sturm knew she wanted to do something for Halloween. She tossed around the thought of a Halloween parade. When she brought it up, the idea generated a lot of positive feedback. Her next question was how could she pull off a parade and make the event a success, once all the necessary permits were acquired?

Just filing for a permit was costly, but if there were enough floats, well, the event might break even.

Then one day a friend messaged her and encouraged her to look into Buckstop Junction, a Pioneer Village located along the Bismarck Expressway, that one could rent for a weekend, which proved to be a far better deal than filing for a parade permit. Plus the proceeds of the rental would support the non-profit historical village, which was a double bingo in Stacy’s eyes.

“I checked into it and sure enough, now I'm planning an entire Halloween village. I figure if I'm going to rent out a city for the day, but then it turned into a weekend… You might as well go big or go home, and now I have a whole little town at my disposal.” Sturm went on to say, “I don't know why more people don't just do fun things out there. It's such a great price and it's such a great location.”

Mark your calendars, the weekend of October 29-30 from 12pm-9pm, Bismarck’s Pioneer village, Buckstop Junction will be transformed into a 19th century Halloween Town, serving up spooky fun for everyone, complete with festivities for kids of all ages during the day, and special 18 and 21+ activities in the evening for Halloween Town after dark.

Sturm reached out to a number of businesses and organizations to see if they would be interested in sponsoring one of the small store fronts in the village for trick or treating. Encouraging them to decorate their storefronts and to get in costume and character as residents of Halloween Town. The main stipulation of course was that they have candy or goodies for the trick or treaters who come through.

Daytime festivities in Halloween Town will include hayrides and plenty of photo opportunities for kids of all ages, one of which will be a silly cemetery. The local Girl Scout troop will even be onsite to make custom tombstones as a fundraiser.

There will be a number of kid’s games in the hotel lobby, hosted by area nonprofits. Tickets for these are $1 apiece and serve as fundraisers for those organizations. On the ballroom side of the hotel there will be tarot card readers and a special appearance by the Fargo-based Military Medium, Dean McMurray. Other festivities will include a reptile petting zoo and aerial performances. Monster movies will be screened in the church throughout the day. Admission to Halloween town is free.

Once the sun sets and the kids are away, the adults will get their chance to play, once Halloween Town After Dark starts. There will be drag bingo with Mss Karri the Horror Queen from 9-10pm; a dance with DJ Paulie from 10pm-1am, bar provided by the coolest cocktail bar in Mandan, Thomas & Moriarty's. And a costume contest, LED performances from Airlusions, fire dancers, aerialists, scary movies, a glow-in-the-dark scavenger hunt, an evening performance courtesy of the Military Medium, ghost tours led by Buckstop Junction’s creepy groundskeeper, and a photo booth chock full of creepy props to mark a night you won’t soon forget. Entrance to Halloween Town After Dark is just $5.

Could this be the making of an annual event?

“Yeah, I'm pretty excited. I think we only have room to grow. I'm trying not to do so much this year that I have nothing to build on for next year,” Sturm said.


IF YOU GO:

Halloween Town

Oct. 29-30 12pm-9pm; All ages.

BuckStop Junction, 3805 E Bismarck Expy

Halloween Town After Dark

October 29, 9pm-1am; 21+

BuckStop Junction, 3805 E Bismarck Expy

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