An extensively decorated Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport hosted over 5,000 trick-or-treaters and their escorts as the Police Activities League (PAL) presented its 16th annual PALloween, distributing candy and toys, staging costume contests and pumpkin pie-eating races, and generally providing a safe and festive Halloween experience for the entire community.
PAL is a project of the Santa Monica Police Department that offers athletic, educational, and cultural activities for boys and girls aged 6 to 17 years who are Santa Monica residents or go to school in Santa Monica. But Halloween evening, PAL opened Barker Hangar to the entire community, and the community responded.
The doors opened at 5 p.m. and by 5:10 there were long lines at the stations where volunteers dispensed candy, toys, backpacks, DVDs, and sundry other treats through windows in partitions themed with mummies, jungle animals, and clowns. Kids could have their pictures taken in front of a spooky Halloween landscape or riding a police motorcycle. Games of skill and/or chance operated in booths sponsored by local businesses. And there was a scary fun house walk-through at one end of the hangar.
At the other end, Jeff Klocke, director of marketing at Pacific Park, emceed events on the stage in lively fashion. Costumed children paraded in age-specific categories from “zero- and one-year-olds” on up, and trophies were awarded to the top five finishers in each group based on the judging skills of Police Chief Tim Jackman, Fire Chief Jim Hone, new Chamber President Laurel Rosen, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.’s Erin Deviny, Roberta Maslanka from the Children Affected by Aids Foundation, and June Lockhart, who later allowed, “It was a tough job.” The pumpkin pie-eating contest followed.
A couple of officers from the SMPD Mounted Unit (and their mounts) greeted folks outside the hangar, and the K-9 Unit was on patrol inside. PAL Director Patty Loggins-Tazi estimated that between 5,000 and 6,000 people visited PALloween between 5 and 9 that October 31 night.