The Pine Bluff Convention Center turned into a Halloween wonderland Tuesday night, with costumed children collecting candy.


The Pine Bluff Police Department hosted its annual Fall Festival, featuring games, a haunted house, a bounce house, 39 treat stations offering candy, costume contests, and representatives of companies and agencies. A disc jockey played music.


Deputy Pine Bluff Police Chief Shirley Warrior expected more than 4,000 children and adults to come to the event. The attraction provides a safe environment for children to trick or treat inside an illuminated building with police officers overseeing activities, she said.


“We’ve got the arena full of activities,” Warrior said. “We started this years ago in reference to a safe environment for the kids and a fun activity so you would not be out there in the weather or you would not be out there going from door to door. It’s not like it used to be 30 years ago or 20 years ago when we had all these houses close together or when everybody knew their neighbors.”


Police officers told the children to walk in an orderly fashion into the arena. Many adults were also wearing costumes. Companies and other organizations joined forces with the police department to host the fall festival, Warrior said. The Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services Department took part in the festivities.


Pine Bluff Convention Center director of operations Marty Huddleston watched children enter the arena under the direction of police officers and other adults. The police department took one week to prepare for the fall festival and spent many hours to set up equipment.


“This is a really good thing because it’s a safe and warm environment and it keeps kids off the street,” Huddleston said.