Teri Vance: Governor’s Mansion ready to receive trick-or-treaters

Teri Vance, in Carson City, Nev., on Friday, April 19, 2019.

Teri Vance, in Carson City, Nev., on Friday, April 19, 2019.

While it is the Sisolaks’ first year in the Governor’s Mansion, the governor and his wife plan to uphold a longstanding Nevada tradition.

Gov. Steve Sisolak and first lady, Kathy, will be handing out candy to the little ghouls, goblins, zombies, princesses and cowboys lined up at the Governor’s Mansion for trick-or-treating on Thursday evening.

“The governor and the first lady are very excited,” said Kristen Dillard, executive coordinator for the Governor’s Mansion. “It is so much fun to get the mansion decorated for Halloween. We do a ton of tours in October. The kids love to see the mansion.”

Decorating for the holiday begins weeks in advance — a coordinated effort between staff at the mansion and the state’s buildings and grounds division.

In the past couple of years, the first family has opted for more of an autumn harvest theme. This year, the décor is returning to its spooky roots.

Skeletons climb the pillars that frame the front porch and a graveyard — with headstones fabricated by the inmates in the wood shop of the Silver State Industries program — dot the lawn.

With the theme decided and the decorations in place, it leaves only one thing to be settled. When is trick-or-treating? This is an easy question to answer: on Halloween. But it comes up each year because, for decades, it wasn’t so simple.

Since Halloween and Nevada Day both fall on Oct. 31, the observance of both holidays on the same day presented a conflict.

Carson City officials decided it was too hazardous to have children roaming the streets on the same night that adults were reveling after the parade. As a result, for decades, the Nevada Day Parade took place on Oct. 31, and trick-or-treating happened the night before.

Many residents have fond memories of trick-or-treating one night in the capital then hitting the streets for more candy the following night.

However, in 2000, the Nevada Legislature decided Nevada Day would be officially observed on the Friday before Oct. 31. The parade is held the next day, thereby eliminating the Nevada Day-Halloween conflict.

Still, if Oct. 31 — Halloween — happens to fall on a Saturday, trick-or-treating will be moved to the previous Friday. (So a bit of confusion remains.)

The festivities at the mansion begin at 5 p.m. Thursday and will continue until 8 p.m. Dillard said about 2,000 people usually show up.

Entertainment, including fire dancers, live music, Irish River Dancers and other performers, will keep the waiting line lively.

Following tradition, the Sisolaks will pose for photos with families.

“They makes themselves really accessible, and it’s really lovely that they do that,” Dillard said. “Nevada’s Governor’s Mansion is one of the most accessible in the United States.”


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