Freezing temperatures with 30 mph winds, carnival games and tailgate trick-or-treating greeted the 2020 Halloween Hoopla attendees at the Becker County Fairgrounds on Saturday.
The Hoopla, hosted by the Becker County Museum, Midwest Paranormal Files, Minnesota Flyers Gymnastics and the Detroit Lakes Jaycees, featured outside activities due to the pandemic and worked in conjunction with the last night of the Halloween Haunted House.
The museum sold $1 tickets for a variety of carnival games like: ring toss, soccer ball kick and a toy fish pond. The Hoopla and haunted house raised more than $8,000 for the Becker County Museum, which is in the middle of constructing a new $6.4 million building. Around 800 people made their way through the museum's haunted house this year, according to Becky Mitchell, director of the Becker County Museum.
"Out at a different new location, at the fairgrounds, we really didn't know what to expect, but it surpassed our expectations and a lot of positive comments," said Mitchell. "A lot of people hoping to see it grow and happen again, and I've received some messages of people wanting to help donate props if we do it again, and I think a lot more people are interested in helping."
Kids in costume were also welcome to participate in a tailgate-style trick-or-treating event, hosted by Minnesota Flyers Gymnastics. The candy tailgate drew close to 100 children, who filed through the two rows of parked vehicles with their candy buckets.
"It seems like our community definitely wants to see us do this, and wants to see it grow," said Mitchell.
The Hoopla ended with a live performance by Graveyard Club, a Minneapolis-based synth-pop group. The band, along with afternoon artists Tim Eggebraaten, Jacob Woody and Stephanie Schindler, were booked by the Holmes Theater and funded through a grant from the Lakes Region Arts Council, which covered all of the expenses for bringing the artists to Detroit Lakes.
"There weren't very many people there, but I think that even the people who went to the haunted house truly enjoyed it," said Amy Stearns, manager at the Holmes Theater.
Before the Graveyard Club finished their second 45-min set, a gust of wind knocked over a stage lighting tree, which crashed to the ground and plunged the stage into darkness. Luckily, no one was in the area of the lighting tree when it fell. The band finished its set with the assistance of a few cars' headlights from the parking lot. The freezing temperatures and wind limited the crowd for the concert to only a couple dozen.
Members of the band said the Hoopla was one of the coldest concerts they have ever played; making it a memorable show regardless of the attendance.
"We are Minnesotans and we are use to bundling up," said Mitchell. "No matter what the weather brings us, I think with how windy it was, it was a nice turnout...but it was nice to see people coming out and enjoying being outside, and trying to create some new traditions for Halloween, even with all of the Covid restrictions."