Pirates, pals welcome at MJC fest

There'll be plenty of loot for those attending Modesto Junior College's Halloween Carnival on Friday.

Pirates are not only MJC's mascot and a popular Halloween costume, they're also the theme of the party.

The carnival is for people of all ages and is open to the public.

"The goal is to offer a safe place for kids to go and have a good time. Trick-or-treating on the street is not really safe anymore," said Mark Lamb, carnival organizer and MJC student. "It's not a teen thing -- we're offering something for everyone."

The top attractions are the haunted houses -- a 9-foot-tall inflatable house for children and a full-scale spooktacular that fills a room in MJC's Student Center. The latter haunted house will elicit chills and thrills, with actors playing pirates and Davy Jones, the villain in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.

The carnival will have game booths, pumpkin-decorating contests, face-painting, pingpong, costume contests, raffles and food booths. Last year's frightful activities drew about 1,000 people.

Regardless of age, carnival attendees are encouraged to dress in costume.

"It's fun to be a kid, no matter how old you are," Lamb said.

Although organizers are billing the activities as family- oriented, they said the events are also for MJC students. The costume contest and prizes should draw the college crowd, Lamb said.

"I'd tell the students they should come out and support (their) school, be more active," he said.

In its second year, the carnival is a fund-raiser for MJC's clubs and student government. Lamb is hoping to collect $1,000 to help offer more activities and events.

There's no cost to get in, but people have to pay to play games, order food and enter the scarier, larger haunted house.

The carnival goes from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday in the Student Center on MJC's East Campus, 435 College Ave.

Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at mhatfield@modbee.com or 578-2339.