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Rainy Weather Puts Damper On Halloween Celebrations
A dark and dreary witchs lair was just one of more than a dozen Halloween-themed scenes that greeted those taking advantage of the lull in the recent rain Saturday night at Jacob Myers Park for the citys annual Haunted Hayride. The first night of the event, Friday, was rained out but the haunting did occur on Saturday evening. Ric McGinnis/The News

The rainy skies promised for the end of the week last week came to fruition with a vengeance Thursday night and into Friday. The welcome precipitation left wet streets, flooded with inches-deep puddles in some areas of town. And the heavy downpour washed out hopes that night for the first evening of the annual Haunted Hayride in Jacob Myers Park.

Although the heavy rains tapered off by mid-afternoon, officials called off the Friday edition of the Halloween celebration in the park. Most of the scary scenes there were out in the open, either in clearings or under groups of trees adjacent to the walking trail in the west end of the park. Some of the scenes included special lighting, powered by local generators. The groups that had built the scenes and other decorations had been working on them since the loop had been closed that Monday.

The Thursday and Friday rainfall clearly had pounded the display materials.

By the end of the day Friday, though, the rain had tapered off and by Saturday morning, partly cloudy skies were the rule over Riverbank and, by early afternoon, the green light was given for that night’s festivities.

Along with long, long lines at the Hayride, downtown Riverbank was also celebrating the spooktacular in its own way that evening.

The Hayride in Jacob Myers Park waited for nightfall to get underway, starting about 7 p.m., although the line began forming as early as 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, on Santa Fe Street downtown, members of the Riverbank River Rats Motorcycle Club started taking sign-ups for their Trunk or Treat at about 3:30 p.m. And the event started at 5 p.m. and ran until 8 p.m. Youngsters collected treats from several participants who decorated vans, cars and pickup truck beds, as well motorcycles, all serving as platforms for games and treats.

The River Rats club organizers said they had hoped to build a haunted house maze inside their building but ran out of time. They were unaware that, just next door, at the Riverbank Boxing Club, a haunted maze was going up as well.

So, when those who were there for the Trunk or Treat had finished collecting goodies, they merely had to get in line next door for the maze.

Operating under the premise that half a Halloween is better than none, those who got out Saturday night, without the rain, got their fair share of fun … and Monday night, the real, honest-to-goodness All Hallows’ Eve, still lay ahead, with a weather forecaster’s estimate that skies in Central California probably wouldn’t be wet – or at least not wet enough to dampen the spirits of young trick-or-treaters.