VALDOSTA -- Even before the sun set, ghosts and ghouls roamed the grounds just off Madison Highway Saturday. They walked among the masked and unmasked, the young and the old.

It was all in good fun, all part of the third annual Lowndes County Sheriff's Department Safe Halloween. The evening provided families a controlled environment to trick-or-treat, play games, and have lots of Halloween fun.

Dressed in a wide variety of costumes -- some frightening, others funny -- that's exactly what they did. During the five-hour event, a pink poodle did a little fishing, Spider-Man played some football, Batman tossed a bean bag, and a young lion got acquainted with a black bunny rabbit.

Harry Potter also enjoyed the festivities, testing his dart-throwing skills. A tiny bride, dressed all in white, focused her efforts on collecting lots of candy and other goodies.

Christopher Moore, 7, a ninja in black, was found standing in line for the rock-climbing wall, having already jumped around in the bounce house.

"I've been here and I've been there," said the S. L. Mason Elementary School first grader, looking around at the ongoing activities. "There are lots of scary people around."

Quitman's Alesa Bennett, 8, came to the Halloween event as a green-faced witch, complete with pointy black hat. She said the best part of the evening was getting lots of candy.

The Lowndes County Sheriff's Department Safe Halloween also featured a petting zoo, train ride, carousel, big slide, and lots of games, including a dunking booth and cake walk. Besides these activities, children were able to walk around the event and get candy from area first responders, including the Hahira Police Department, Valdosta Police Department, Remerton Police Department, Lowndes County Sheriff's Department, Valdosta Fire Department, and Lowndes County Fire Rescue.

In an earlier interview, Ramonda Holmes, senior administrative clerk at the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department, said, "We're providing a safe environment for kids to have fun, and it's an enjoyment process because we enjoy the smile on kids' faces."

Hundreds of families participated in the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department Safe Halloween.

To contact reporter Jessica Pope, please call (229) 244-3400, ext. 255.

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