Guinns celebrate one last Halloween at Governor’s Mansion |

Guinns celebrate one last Halloween at Governor’s Mansion

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer
Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Dema Guinn, Nevada's first lady, poses with some of the spooky decorations Monday at the Governor's Mansion. Guinn said she gets into the spirit of Halloween for the children's enjoyment. This is the Guinn's last year at the Governor's Mansion and Dema hopes the next first lady or first man will continue the tradition.

It will be a dark and chilly night.

Rodents, spiders, black cats and ghoulish demons intimidate visitors who dare to take the walk up a half-circular driveway past a cemetery. Enter if you dare.

Gov. Kenny Guinn and first lady Dema will greet visitors, hand out candy and pose for photos in their last Halloween at the Governor’s Mansion today beginning at 5 p.m.

In a Nevada tradition dating back to 1959 with Gov. Grant Sawyer and his wife, Betty, Nevada’s first family has handed out sweets to trick-or-treaters for Halloween who simply knock on the mansion door.

From there, it has been Govs. Laxalt, O’Callaghan, List, Bryan, Miller and Guinn who each have stepped Halloween up a notch for community fun and entertainment.

“The O’Callaghans turned it into a modest event with Dick and Bonnie Bryan going to a larger event,” said State Archivist Guy Rocha. “The Millers and the Guinns have turned it into a huge event, growing progressively since its inception. Now, it’s spectacular.”

The Guinns have enjoyed personally greeting the youngsters and families each year.

“Everybody wants a picture with Kenny,” Dema said. “So we don’t like to be in costume, others wouldn’t recognize him.”

Dema said her most memorable thoughts of Halloween are of the children. She has enjoyed seeing the excitement in their eyes and expressions on their faces. Guinn, first elected in 1998, was re-elected in 2002 and is term-limited from seeking re-election.

Monday morning, children from Miss Taylor’s first-grade class at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic School walked to the mansion to check out the decorations before heading to the Capitol to see Gov. Guinn.

An excited Cole Salaices, 6, said his favorite decoration was the huge bat on top of a grave.

“It’s got real big teeth,” he said. “And it’s scary.”

Matigan King, also 6, and her classmates agreed the bat was scary, but said her favorite decoration was that of Freddy Krueger emerging from another grave.

“I like the long nails on his hand,” she said. “It’s real scary, too.”

The mansion was built in 1908 and first occupied by Gov. Denver Dickerson in 1909. It has six bedrooms, five bathrooms, two reception areas, an office, dining room, family room, kitchen and breakfast room.

Trick-or-Treat at the Mansion

WHAT: Trick-or-Treating at the Governor’s Mansion

WHEN: 5-8:30 p.m. today

WHERE: 606 N. Mountain St.

ALSO: Children with special needs can go to the front of the line

• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at or 881-1223.