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Halloween, Nevada Day traditions continue at Governor’s Mansion

Rhonda Costa
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

Amid the pumpkins, Count Dracula, spiders and ghosts, Nevada’s first lady Dawn Gibbons ” keeping with a long-standing Carson City tradition ” will be handing out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween.

Helen Wiemer, mansion coordinator, said the grounds are staged with a “Phantom of the Opera” theme.

“We’ll have a very tall gentleman in a black box, who will actually be lip synching the songs from ‘Phantom of the Opera’ to a CD we’ll have playing,” Wiemer said. “And he’ll be dressed in a cape with a half-mask, like the character.”

There are also skeletons, the Wicked Witch of the West, hundreds of decorative lights, bats and black cats. On the southeast lawn, a wooden stage has been placed where numerous entertainment acts will be performing.

“We have a clown, a man who has marionettes, Irish dancers and mimes from the high school,” she added.

Though they will have a photographer on hand to take photos, Gibbons recommends the public bring their own cameras, too.

“We’ll have extra volunteers on hand to take family pictures for them,” Gibbons said.

“It will also help keep the line moving,” Wiemer said. “Which really helps us get candy out to everyone more quickly.”

Youth with disabilities will be served first, then all other children are welcome to get in line for their treats. Trick-or-treating usually begins around dusk.

The pumpkins on the grounds as well as the candy for trick-or-treating have been donated.

“She’s hidden the candy from me,” Gibbons accused Wiemer, with a laugh.

The tradition of Nevada’s first family celebrating Halloween and Nevada Day, which used to be held on the same day, dates back to 1959 with Gov. Grant Sawyer and his wife, Betty, handing out candy for Halloween.

Since then, former Govs. Laxalt, O’Callaghan, List, Bryan, Miller, Guinn and, now, the Gibbonses, have each carried on the tradition, adding their own special touches to the event.

On Nevada Day, Nov. 1, Dawn Gibbons will conduct tours of the Governor’s Mansion from 2-4 p.m. The mansion is at 606 N. Mountain St.

“Only in Nevada, I think, does anyone have this kind of access to their own governor’s mansion,” Gibbons said. “It’s part of what makes Nevada unique.”

“Hoards of people come by to look at the decorations,” Wiemer said. “It’s sort of a way to say thank you to the people by doing this.

“One of the best parts of it is the socializing, in addition to all the kiddies. It makes an ordinary day different.”

There is no word from Gov. Gibbons’ office if he will be on hand for trick-or-treating on Halloween, or Nevada Day activities.

– Contact Rhonda Costa at rcosta@nevadaapp

eal.com or 881-1223.

East, Oct. 24-26, Oct. 30-31 and Nov. 1-2, 7-10 p.m. Admission is $12, with a $2 discount for two cans of food to go to Friends In Service Helping. Active duty military and their families receive a $3 discount. For more information or a group rate, call 220-5031 or visit the Web site: grimescastle.com

– Pumpkin Patch: Small Blessings Preschool and First United Methodist Church, corner of Musser and Division streets. Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3-7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

– Madame Zamora’s Traveling Ghost Show: Oct. 25 at the St. Charles Hotel ” guided tours of the Kit Carson Trail. Tours run every 30 minutes 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Adults $15, kids 12 and younger are free.

– Halloween Makeup Class: The Wild Horse Children’s Theater and Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada host a makeup class for students 10 and older. The two-and-a-half hour workshop is taught by Misha Marie Stevens. Learn make-up tricks to create scars, bruises, scratches, or how to become mythical creatures or beautiful fairies using basic stage makeup. The workshop is Oct. 25, 1-3:30 p.m. Cost is $25. To register or for more information, visit http://www.wildhorsetheater.com or call 887-0438.

– Trick or Treat Town: Enjoy a safe evening of Trick-or-Treating at the Children’s Museum! Treats, Face Painting & Fun! Costumes encouraged! 6-8 p.m. Thurs. and 4-6 p.m. on Halloween day. Kids $3.00, adults free. 884-2226.

– Bowers Mansion Ghost Tour: Explore the park’s mysteries firsthand by joining Washoe County Park Rangers for a guided ghost tour Oct. 24. Tours include the mansion grounds, hot springs, family grave site and a look at the secrets hidden within the historic mansion while rangers share strange and spooky stories about the place and the people who once lived there. Guided walks begin every 10 minutes from 5-7 p.m. Bowers Mansion Regional Park, 4005 Old U.S. 395 on the west side of Washoe Valley. Cost: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for children younger than 17 accompanied by a paying adult.

– Haunted Firehouse: The Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department is putting on its 13th Annual Haunted Firehouse & Safe Halloween October 24-25, 5-9 p.m. On the east side of Washoe Valley, take Eastlake Boulevard south to Lake Shore Drive and make a right. Located on the corner of Lake Shore and Esmeralda drives. Adults are $2, children 6 to 15 are $1 and younger 5 are free. Game room is 25 cents each game. For details, call 849-4921.

– “Frightnight in Dayton”: A Halloween comedy show is Oct. 30-31, 6-9 p.m. at the Dayton Valley Golf Course, 101 Palmer Drive. Tickets are $30 in advance for dinner and a show. Call 246-7888 for more information.

– Virginia City Ghost Night: Oct. 31 features a parade and costume contest, a variety of haunted scenes and more. Goblin Parade, 5 p.m. at the Virginia City Jerky Company, 204 South C St. Registration is at 4 p.m. and lineup begins at 4:30 p.m. Children’s forms must be signed by a parent or guardian. The parade will offer awards for best costume, scariest costume and most unusual costume in adult and youth categories. There also will be awards for best float and best animal entry. Call 847-4768 for information on the parade.

– Fourth Ward Haunted Halls: At the Historic Fourth Ward School on Halloween night, featuring ghostly tours of the old school. Tours will be from 6-8 p.m. The school is located at the south end of C Street, where highways 341 and 342 intersect. Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children 16 and younger. Call 847-0975 for more information.