STOCKTON (CBS13) — A local cemetery is preparing to host a Halloween festival and tour, but the event is getting a lot of backlash.
Families who have loved ones buried at the Stockton Rural Cemetery worry a large number of people may create a big mess.
For Stacey Conrad and her daughter, this cemetery is a peaceful place to visit friends and family who have passed.
“I have a very dear friend of mine just buried last week here. It’s a fresh grave,” she said.
She is concerned about the cemetery’s decision to host a spooky festival and tour of the dead this Friday.
“I just don’t want a bunch of kids running around on any of the people’s loved ones,” she said.
The flyer promoting the event says visitors will get a guided evening tour of bone-chilling scares and true stories from 1861 and beyond. The manager says it was intended to raise awareness of the cemetery and its history.
“Just to bring out to the community that we exist and that we’re still doing burials here and that we’re expanding…and make it a fun, respectful occasion,” said Ruben Sanchez, cemetery manager.
Sanchez says cremation has gone up 68 percent in recent years, which is why they are expanding the cemetery to include a cremation wall and they want the community to know about it.
“This cemetery goes back to about 1861 and it’s a nonprofit cemetery. We’re not affiliated with the state, county or city. It’s private,” he said.
People have been sharing their concerns on social media. They are worried about visitors at the event being disrespectful to the people buried there and damaging aging headstones. The manager is taking things seriously and considering making other plans.
“I’m not going to let anybody beat up this cemetery,” said Sanchez.
For now the event in the daytime is scheduled to start at three on Friday, however, evening plans are up in the air.