On Oct. 22, demons spawned by the imagination of author R. L. Stine will be stalking around San Benito County. The following week, three witches are expected to be coming back through time from Salem, Massachusetts. Hollister is in for some scary nights, but some plucky teens will be on hand to save the day.
And locals can be there for the action—for free—thanks to the Hollister City Council. Earlier this month, the council approved two additional drive-in movie nights at the Veterans Memorial Park, ending the series that began in late summer.
“Our first drive-in movie was September 18,” said Tina Garza, supervisor with Hollister Recreation. “Since then we have shown ‘Onward,’ ‘Play With Fire,’ and ‘Frozen 2.’ We have had a great turnout and everything has gone really well.”
The final two films will be 2015’s “Goosebumps” on Oct. 22 and a Disney Halloween favorite, 1993’s “Hocus Pocus,” on Oct. 29. Gates open at 6 p.m., and registration is required due to limited space.
There are no plans for more movies after these two screenings.
One advantage of the drive-in is that residents can still see movies with friends and neighbors, but with automatic social distancing with everyone in separate cars.
“It has been great,” Garza said. “Everyone is sitting in their cars, when they go to the restrooms they have been using their masks, and everybody is cleaning up after themselves. Everyone has been doing a great job of going there and having this experience.”
The idea began after Relay for Life of San Benito County asked to borrow the city’s portable movie screen. The group set it up in the old K-Mart parking lot, and Garza was impressed with how well the movie could be seen from a distance.
“I was over at the end of the parking lot and I could still see everything clearly,” Garza said. “I thought, ‘If they can do it, maybe we can too.’”
The only obstacle was the location. The owners of the K-Mart lot wanted $500 a night for the use of the abandoned property. Garza moved the drive-in to Veterans Memorial Park to be able to keep it free to anyone who wanted to come.
Alisha Cardenas has been a regular for the drive-in movie nights, along with her husband and two sons, ages nine and 11.
“We have seen every movie they have played,” Cardenas said. “We take lawn chairs and sit in the back of the truck. It is a fun way to get out of the house and it’s free. We don’t have to worry—as soon as someone gets out of their car they put on a mask and the city is doing a great job keeping things safe.”
It’s been a new experience for Cardenas’ sons, who had never been to a drive-in before.
“We had talked about it,” she said, “but we never had a chance to do it before sheltering began. When my husband found out about it he signed us up right away. The boys were amazed that you could just blow up a screen and show movies on it. They love it.”
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