Kathy Siler, director of the Payson High School Theatre, dressed in a khaki safari outfit dropped down to the level of the 4-year-old dressed as a princess.
“If you speak tiger language — go ‘Roar,’” said Siler.
The little princess did just that.
“ROAR!” she said.
Siler stood up.
“Good, now you’re ready to go in,” said Siler.
The two were at the entrance of the Safari Adventure at the Town of Payson’s Trunk or Treat celebration.
The town threw a spooktacular show on Halloween night. Whole families dressed up including furry four-legged canine companions. Kids collected bags full of candy, got faces painted and strolled through the Safari Adventure tent.
The venue — the parking lot behind Green Valley Park — provided a cozy setting. Courtney Spawn, the director of Payson’s Parks and Rec program, estimated more than 3,000 people showed up.
“Many people who have been involved with the event in previous years said it was one of the largest crowds they had seen,” she said. “For candy, we went through at least five cases of assorted candies,” she said.
The event drew 33 businesses, organizations, individuals and families. Spawn said there were a few vendors.
“Vendors in attendance (were) Dan the Man Kettlecorn, DJ Craig (music) and Fearless Facepaint,” she said. “State Farm agent Matt Crespin was our Title Sponsor.”
Helping out with the Safari experience, Siler and her dedicated Payson High School thespians as well as members of the Community Emergency Response Team in the Safari Adventure tent.
Spawn said Parks and Rec staff brainstormed the theme for the event. “Each year we want to come up with a theme that is fun and everyone can get involved with,” she said.
This year Premier Dental partnered with the town to put on the Pumpkin Carving Contest throughout the month of October. “Winner was 8-year-old Madeline Mullahy — her pumpkin received 100 likes and 50 comments on our Facebook page.”
Madeline received $100 as her prize.
Another first? Picking a “Best Trunk” winner.
“Parks and Rec staff picked a trunk who got into the spirit and was interactive with the trunk-or-treaters. The winner was the Barry Family.”