DECATUR — One of the luxuries of being a vampire is the ability to survive for many decades longer than humans — a perk shared with Galapagos tortoises, which can live up to 200 years.
An unusual comparison to be sure, but maybe not to Victoria Sloan, who handed out Tootsie Pops at Boo at the Zoo on Saturday to costumed kids next to the crawling tortoises and a hanging vampire tree decoration.
"It's just joy. Whenever I see kids out here, they're having fun," Sloan said.
The trick-or-treating event has been held at the Scovill Zoo since 1984, and Sloan, 19, said she's now been volunteering for eight years at the event.
Sloan said she volunteers every year because of the smiles she sees on kids' faces.
Kathy Winter, office manager at the Scovill Zoo, said attendance has so far nearly doubled over last year, from 481 visitors on opening night in 2016 to 899 last night.
"Once it gets below the '50s tomorrow, some of the reptiles go inside — we really keep an eye on them around this time of year," Director Ken Frye said.
"The red pandas, when it gets cool in the evening they get a little more active," Frye said.
As Marios, Elsas, and Darth Vaders coursed through the trick-or-treat stations, it was the volunteers who got to see all of them.
Winter said several local banks had volunteers taking shifts on Saturday, including Darshay Hill, who works at Buena Visa Bank.
"It's fun for all of us to be outside working together," Hill said. Hill's mother Michelle was working the station, along with her daughters Ka'rynn and Nicole, who were dressed as the Mad Hatter and Alice respectively.
"We were a team last year too," Hill said.
"I like passing out the candy for children, and seeing a lot of different costumes which I've never seen before and are really creative," Nicole, 10, said.
Boo at the Zoo will continue each Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the remainder of October.
"This is our last hurrah, then we open back up in April," Frye said.