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Hampton hosting hearty Halloween Haunts |

Hampton hosting hearty Halloween Haunts

Hampton Township Halloween parade and costume contest is open to children 10 years and younger to be held at the Hampton Community Center on Oct. 20, from noon to 2 p.m.

It’s nearly Halloween in Hampton Township and the local area is creeping up quickly.

For starters, the annual Hampton Township Halloween parade and costume contest open to children 10 and younger will be held at the Hampton Community Center on Oct. 20 from 12 to 2 p.m.

Registration is recommended by Oct. 18 for preparation purposes, but participants can register the day of the parade, said Melanie Martino of the Department of Community Services.

Last year, more than 200 children participated in the parade, as it’s a pretty popular event, said Martino.

A costume contest will be held for each age group, ages birth to 3, 4 to 5, 6 to 7, and 8 to 10, she said.

And there will be an overall king and queen selected for best costumes.

Kids will be treated to goodie bags provided by Suburban Home Improvements and after the parade will be a hayride. And a DJ will be on-hand with the appropriate Halloween music.

The parade will be held rain or shine, but if the weather is too inclement, the event will be held indoors.

The Halloween weekend continues at Hartwood Acres, located in both Hampton and Indiana townships.

Allegheny Parks is hosting the third annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ at Hartwood Acres Park Amphitheater on Oct. 20, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. as the Sarah Heinz Advanced Robotics Program team from the Sarah Heinz House will catapult pumpkins across the field.

Tim Gerrits, robotics director at the Sarah Heinz House, said there will be two giant, gourd-hurling trebuchets. He estimates they should be between 6 and 8 feet tall.

He doesn’t want to give distance goals because he’s afraid his estimates may be off. But one of their goals is to get further.

“We are making some improvements to trebuchets, especially in distance,” said Gerrits.

Gerrits said there will be games, activities and also mini popsicle-stick, trebuchet-building opportunities for young visitors.

Sarah Heinz House in Pittsburgh invites students from local schools to take part in its afterschool programs, like the robotics one. Gerrits said events like these get kids interested in science, technology and engineering. And kids can learn more about this program and others at .

Also, at Punkin’ Chunkin’ is Woodchuckers Axe Throw of South Hills, giving those 13 and older a chance to hurl an axe at a target. And it’s not about power, but style and rotation, said Chad Hurka, co-owner.

“You don’t need to be strong, the axes are only 1.25 pounds. In fact, women generally do just as well as men because … the technique is not about power or throwing the axe really hard,” Hurka said.

It’s $1 for five throws and $5 for unlimited throws.

There will also be coaches on hand to help with throwing, Hurka said.

The weekend closes out at Hartwood with “Campfire Ghost Stories with a Park Ranger” on Oct. 21, from 7 to 8 p.m. on the terrace of the Hartwood mansion, said Braden Meiter, a park ranger with Allegheny County.

The cost is free and registration is through allegheny
. Meiter said Hartwood gets a good crowd with more than 150 people at past ghost story events.

The rangers will share stories including Halloween jokes and spooky “Mad Libs,” Meiter said. It’s all “PG” rated horror, so it’s appropriate for all ages. The mansion is also decorated for the holiday.

He suggests bringing lawn chairs if it gets crowded.

Gaitens Tucceri & Nicholas as well as Honeywell Business Solutions will also be sponsoring this year’s event.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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