Shant? Franklin and Shantoria Ross, both 16, said they prefer the Fall Festival to Charter Days in Dumfries.
Both events are held at Merchant Park in Dumfries. Free hot dogs are available at each and there are games for the children and a petting zoo at both events.
But there is a value-added aspect of the Fall Festival that appealed the Potomac High School students
“We get to scare the kids,” said Franklin, a JROTC cadet who helped decorate and haunt the gazebo in the park during the event sponsored by the Dumfries-Triangle Volunteer Fire and Rescue and the town of Dumfries.
Ross, Franklin and the other Potomac High School JROTC cadets draped the gazebo with black cloth to make it dark, spread spider webs and played scary music to haunt the gazebo that serves other purposes during Charter Days in the summer.
Ross said the fog machine, a couple of hanging skeletons and Frankenstein’s monster added the finishing touches to the haunting of the gazebo.
She said the cadets frightened no less than seven children from the gazebo and sent them in search of their mothers.
Franklin said she was especially pleased at the reaction of a particular pair whose initial bravado crumbled once they went inside.
“There were two 13-year-olds, they were were like, ‘Oh this thing is whack,’ ” Franklin said
“They came through and there were like six little kids with them, they were the first two out,” she said.
The cadets completed the decorations at the Fall Festival with foam board headstones around the park lawn.
Epitaphs on two of the headstones proclaimed that those beneath them had been “Hung at the neck for a multitude of crimes” and “Burned at the stake for crimes against humanity.”