Although a Halloween theme isn't necessary for every event in October, it does make them a bit more thrilling. The Cal State Bakersfield Alumni Association is ready to scare up some fun with its annual Party in the Park, taking place Oct. 18.

Sarah Hendrick, CSUB's director of alumni engagement, said the event team was excited by the idea of playing up the season, which popped up after last year's party.

"Even though the event is in October, we have never done a Halloween theme," she wrote in an email. "The theme will be incorporated throughout the event with the décor and marketing, but also we encourage guests to dress up for our silent costume contest! We will welcome guests with throwback Halloween music and the photo booth has some really fun Halloween backdrops guests can choose from."

Also new this year is a beverage lounge area where guests can enjoy their food and adult beverages while listening to Lonely Avenue perform. 

Highlights among the food this year include two award winners: chili verde mac and cheese from Countryside Markets & Restaurants and barbecue by PorkChop and Bubba's BBQ.

The menu also includes: bruschetta and grinder sliders from Sonder; slices from Michaelangelo Wood Fired Pizza; assorted iced treats from Paleta Co.; bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes; chili verde, barbacoa, rice and beans from Fresco Mexican Grill; boneless chicken wings and quesadillas from The BLVD; soup shooters and mini grilled cheese from Bord A Petite; and tacos, burritos and quesadillas from Curbside Kitchen.

Beer lovers will enjoy local brews from Kern River Brewing Co. and Great Change Brewing as well as Lengthwise and Temblor beers, courtesy of, respectively, W.A. Thompson and Advance Beverage. Fans of craft beer made outside the county will have additional options from the distributors.

Oenophiles will also have a number of selections including Croad Vineyards, MadoroM Vineyards, Sextant Wines, Justin Vineyards & Winery, San Rucci Winery and Harmony Cellars.

The silent auction is back with new items up for grabs including two pieces of art from the Boys & Girls Clubs, date-night packages, photography and art from local favorites. Guests can also bid on tickets to see the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, visit Disneyland or experience local pop-up culinary adventure Venue Unknown.

Hendrick said they expect about 350 to revel in Alumni Park, which "is enough to make it a financial success in support of our mentor and scholarship programs, but not so big that it feels overcrowded."

Last year's event raised $10,000, which the association hopes to exceed this year. Funds raised led to $7,000 in scholarships for three CSUB graduate students and the pairing up of 80 sets of mentors and mentees through the Runner Alumni Mentor Program.

"The mentor program expanded to a full academic year this cycle and we will offer two, new additional professional development workshops in the spring," Hendrick said.

Halloween may be the theme but there's nothing scary about the party plan, which Hendrick said is "what we always look forward to — connecting with CSUB alumni and friends."

CSUB's Party in the Park will be held 6 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at CSUB's Alumni Park, 9001 Stockdale Highway. Cost is $50, $45 for CSUB alumni, faculty and staff, includes souvenir glass. Advance tickets are available at Hendrick recommended buying in advance as tickets at the door will be $60 and cash only.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter: @realstefanidias.

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