Parade, other festivities planned for Halloween |

Parade, other festivities planned for Halloween

Jennifer Terman
Staff Writer

Two zombie actresses scare visitors of the Dr. Mortis Terror at the Feargrounds event.

A whole host of haunting Halloween events are scaring up a good time in Nevada County this year, some for the first time ever.

Nevada City will host its inaugural Halloween parade 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, with a "creepy" hearse leading dancers, fire, floats, bands and others down Broad Street to kick off Halloween night. Parade attendees are, of course, encouraged to dress in costume.

The parade was the vision of founder Kim Cacioppo, who wrote to the Grass Valley and Nevada City chambers of commerce about her idea for a parade and street fair.

Cathy Whittlesey, executive director of Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, approved and helped Cacioppo gain support from both city councils. Cacioppo said she garnered a committee of friends to help with advertising and hopes to start small this year and grow the event, which she says is perfect for Nevada City.

“Nevada City has always been a funky town, so it seemed very fitting to have the Halloween Parade there.”
Kim Cacioppo
Halloween parade founder

"Nevada City has always been a funky town, so it seemed very fitting to have the Halloween Parade there," she said. "I am really excited to see my little idea turn into a successful, fun and different event for our community. It's time for new ideas for town events to bring locals and visitors back to downtown."

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Broad Street will also offer trick-or-treating with decorated houses greeted by witches, warlocks, scary sounds and smoking cauldrons.

The Nevada City Lions Club and Parks and Recreation will sell hot dogs, Polish dogs, chips and drinks at the Veteran's Building at 415 N. Pine St. to raise funds for a new slide at Pioneer Park. The veteran's building will also offer free dinners 5 to 8 p.m. or while supplies last.

Miners Foundry will host its annual Fright Night on Halloween night with a full bar, food for sale and a range of costumes.

Halloween events will also sweep through Grass Valley, with festivities at the fairgrounds and downtown.

Dr. Mortis will be on call at the Nevada County Fairgrounds 6 to 9 p.m. today and Thursday at 11228 McCourtney Road in Grass Valley with three haunted houses — the Zombie Hunt, Mortis Manor and House of Horror. The expanded space of the fairgrounds allows for more terror than ever, said Chris Navo, who founded Mortis Manor when he decorated his house for Halloween every year before eventually deciding to expand.

"For 10 years it was at one single house and this year there's three separate haunted houses and each one is bigger than the old one," said Navo, noting this year's event involves 59 rooms and 90 actors.

The story behind the event begins with Dr. Victor von Mortis, who lived in Mortis Manor, an insane asylum for the most dangerous and deranged patients the doctor could find, according to the Dr. Mortis website.

House of Horrors is a dark maze beneath Mortis Manor and home to creatures and terrors, some of which are the failed experiments of the evil doctor, who have been locked away and forgotten, according to the story at

The Zombie Hunt is the last hope of mankind to make way to a government disease research facility to find a cure before all is lost. Visitors will be equipped with a "Zombie Zapper" to help find the cure and save humanity.

Mortis Manor tickets are $18 at the event, $15 pre-sale online at or at Raley's in Grass Valley, SPD Markets, from Nevada Union High School drama students or from the Mortis Manor Hearse driving around western Nevada County. Parking at the fairgrounds is free.

The event not only offers a Halloween experience, but also gives back to the community, as Navo says 100 percent of the funds contribute to the Nevada Union High School drama club and the Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation, which helps beautify the fairgrounds.

Downtown Grass Valley will also celebrate Halloween with a "Safe Trick or Treat" event 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday. Mill Street will be closed to motorized traffic as parents and child care providers bring preschool aged children for a safe trick or treat event. Merchants throughout downtown will dress in costume and hand out candy to the children.

The event will also include window displays and a costume contest, as well as free books distributed by First 5 of Nevada County.

For information on Safe Trick or Treat, contact Grass Valley Downtown Association at 530-272-8315. Call 530-265-2692 for information on the Nevada City Halloween parade.

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email or call 530-477-4230.

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