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Sentence: Fear without bail

Deputies, volunteers turn jail into family-friendly fear fest

Posted: October 25, 2009 10:31 p.m.
Updated: October 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Isabella Barraza, 3, left, one-year-old Julian Perez and Celeste Perez, 2, attend the annual event in their Halloween costumes.

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Jails can often be scary places. But none was spookier than The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station on Saturday.

It was the sheriff's department's 20th annual Haunted Jailhouse event, where volunteers transform the jail cells into ghoulish scenes. The event drew out families looking for some friendly Halloween fun.

"We like to do it because it gives the community an alternative to trick-or-treating," said Deputy Sheriff Pat Rissler. "This is another event for the kids."

For younger children who might not be able to stomach the scenes, a separate, less frightening "house" is set up.

Valencia resident Jose Soto appreciated the different options available, noting that his young children were more suited for the child-centric scenes than the haunted jailhouse.

"There's Winnie The Pooh in there as opposed to Freddy Krueger," he said.

The event also allowed his children to come face-to-face with dedicated civil servants, he said.

"Kids are always interested in firefighters and paramedics," said Soto. "It makes them see all the different types of jobs available and who is there servicing their community. It helps them appreciate them when they see them roaring down the street, sirens on."

First-time visitor Terri Parks brought her son Thomas, 14, and daughter Karrin, 8, and family friend Kiara Necessary, 8.

"It's something fun to do on a Sunday," Parks said. "It's important because it allows for us to come out into the community and do something fun for the family."

Volunteers and contributors to the event included Santa Clarita Valley Boys and Girls Club, SCV Newhall Optimist Club, the City of Santa Clarita and the County of Los Angeles.

This year, the event included a Halloween Costume contest, moon bounces, music, food, rides and games for families to participate in and enjoy.

Megan Holland, 19, has been volunteering at the event for the past 12 years.

"It brings families together," she said. "That's a key factor. People aren't rude or anything, so it's good to be here. It's a really kind atmosphere."

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