The annual Jefferson Township Halloween party has become a mainstay in the community, with this year's event planned for Oct. 15.

The annual Jefferson Township Halloween party has become a mainstay in the community, with this year’s event planned for Oct. 15.

The event, scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. at Jefferson Township Community Park, has grown from 400 attendees 11 years ago to about 2,100 last year, parks coordinator Rob Platte said. The party includes a hayride, a bonfire, an animal exhibit, face painting, games, bluegrass music and candy bags for children. Frank McGarvey, co-chair of the Storytellers of Central Ohio, will tell ghost stories. Live creatures, such as owls and coyotes, will be on display, thanks to Johnstown’s Ohio Nature Education.

Groups will be taken to the haunted forest.

“We have about 12 stations set up in the haunted forest that are put together by Gahanna and Licking Heights students,” Platte said.

Two haunted trails will be available: one for middle school students and older and another for younger children.

Hay rides will be available, courtesy of the Jefferson Township service department.

“We’ll have two tractors with two wagons taking tours through the back of the park,” Platte said. “It’s a nice traditional hay ride for parents with little kids.”

Hot dogs, hot chocolate and other refreshments will be offered at the shelter house for a nominal fee.

“It’s a community favorite, and there’s no charge for the Halloween party,” Platte said. “It has probably been going on close to 30 years now. The parks board and township have been glad to provide it to the community and have everyone come out.”

Jefferson Township Community Park is at 7494 Clark State Road, Blacklick.