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Melinda Mawdsley

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Float on

Halloween event at Old Town Hot Springs a hit with children

Finn Dresene, 3, finds his pumpkin with his mom, Carol Davidson, during the Pumpkin Float at Old Town Hot Springs on Sunday. Children, ranging in age from 1 to 11 years old, retrieved numbered pumpkins from the springs and painted them. Planners hope to make this an annual event.

Parker Temple glanced over his shoulder to make sure no one could hear him.

He wanted his Halloween costume idea to remain a secret, so Temple cupped his hands tightly to his face before whispering his plans for Halloween, a holiday Parker said was “totally” his favorite holiday.

“You can’t tell anyone,” Parker said.

All that Parker was willing to reveal to the public was that he has a mask with a bone that comes out of his neck.

“My dog is scared of it,” Parker said. “My uncle’s dog is scared of it. All my fish are scared of me.”

Parker was one of nearly 50 children who got an early start to the Halloween celebration during the Pumpkin Float on Sunday afternoon at the Old Town Hot Springs.

It was the first year for the event, and aquatics director Rachael Rangel thought it went really well, though making 20 dozen cookies was the toughest preparation, she said.

Plates of cookies sat next to painted pumpkins that were drying on the lobby floor. The children who participated in the Pumpkin Float on Sunday had to retrieve a numbered pumpkin from the hot pool and then paint it.

The children also were given a goodie bag with candy, some toys and an inflatable pool toy.

“I painted a Dracula face and a guy with his tongue sticking out,” said Parker, who was wearing a spider ring on each finger. “I’m a really good painter.”

Lauren Requist, 6, emerged from the women’s locker room with dried paint on her legs and all over her fingers. Lauren, twin sister Olivia, and their older sister Melissa, 8, all took part in Sunday’s Pumpkin Float.

Melissa painted a duck.

“I painted a black cat,” Olivia said.

The girls all said they look forward to Halloween each year, and they were particularly excited about this year because the entire family was dressing up as a theme.

“I’m a silver dollar,” Melissa said.

“I’m a half dollar,” Olivia said.

“I’m a quarter,” Lauren said.

And, in a costume choice that the three Requist girls may appreciate when they get older, Carrie and Tony Requist are dressing up as piggy banks.

“It was really easy,” Carrie Requist said of this year’s Halloween costume preparation.

“Mom made them,” Melissa said. “She got the pictures off the computer.”

With the exception of Parker, the children at the Old Town Hot Springs on Sunday were ready to tell everyone about their Halloween plans for Tuesday.

“I’m going as an army guy,” said River Ludwick, 8, who was busy trying to prod Parker into revealing his Halloween costume idea. “I’m one year younger than him, but he’s my best friend.”