Joe Pfeiffer has had to tame it down for BooFest over the years, so he spent over four hours on Friday setting up his tent at Main Street at Lakewood Ranch to be not too scary for kids attending the annual event.
“They let me set off an air cannon from my tent one year. It goes “Boom” and shoots a big blast of air at you,” Pfeiffer said. “Instantly, all the dogs in the area started barking, and all these kids were crying.”
Pfeiffer’s subdued setup included a spooky backdrop with animated mannequins and a plasma ball.
Pfeiffer made the scary clown mannequin himself, along with some others. He also bought a few with the most expensive of the lot being a pumpkin-headed ghoul that cost $1,200. It was purchased after his wife spent $8,000 on a sewing machine, so she couldn’t say “No.”
A management consultant by day, Pfeiffer has loved Halloween night since he was a kid. He’s been volunteering at BooFest for 14 years now, and his tent is a fraction of the haunted houses he used to create both for the event and at home in his three-car garage in River Club.
“I try to make it fun for the kids,” Pfeiffer said.
Autumn Minardi brought her 6-year-old son, Brennan, who wanted to be a cactus for Halloween. Minardi poked brown pipe cleaners through a green T-shirt to create the prickers.
Between the costumes, trick-or-treating, bounce houses, live entertainment and food and drink trucks, thousands of kids and adults were having a blast at BooFest.
An hour before the event started, Lakewood Ranch Main Street was already filling up with trick-or-treaters, and the street only became more packed as the night went on.