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Trick-or-treaters dressed to thrill on Santa Rosa's McDonald Avenue

  • Ricardo Saldivar-Aparicio, 4, peers up at the Wizard of Oz-themed guards Thursday at the McDonald Mansion in Santa Rosa.

Jameson Manville's first American Halloween was a trip to the Land of Oz, brought vividly to life at the McDonald Mansion on Thursday night.

“Help yourself,” said Dorothy, wearing a frock and standing by a candy bowl the size of a witch's cauldron on the curved walkway leading to the historic house, known as Mableton in the 19th century.

Dorothy was actually Maria Joslyn-O'Rourke of Bennett Valley, a friend of the mansion's owners.

Halloween Along McDonald Avenue

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Jameson, 3, wearing a red-and-white-checked shirt and overalls, obliged.

Halloween is his favorite holiday, Jameson said, holding a pumpkin-shaped cloth bag for his treats. “I love Christmas, too,” he said on a moment's reflection.

“What a great turnout here, amazing,” said his mother, Sara Manville. The family moved from Switzerland to Santa Rosa this year and joined the throngs on the city's premier trick or treat street.

Nearby, the Wicked Witch of the West, dressed all in black with a crooked hat, stomped on her platform and screeched, “I'll get you my pretties, I'll get you,” with a hoarse cackle for emphasis.

The witch, played by John Webley Jr., admitted that she/he had scared a few little tykes.

“It's quite the production every year,” Webley said. About 20 costumed characters and 20 more people in supporting roles were on scene Thursday.

Tech entrepreneur John and Jennifer Webley, who made over the 1875 mansion from top to bottom, host a Halloween extravaganza every year, drawing children and adults to their stately neighborhood.

Rain formed puddles on the sidewalks and streets last year but failed to dim the festivities of a New Orleans Mardi Gras theme at the mansion.

Thursday night was a dry, almost balmy 67 degrees as the skies darkened around 6:30 p.m.

Two imposing guards, the Winkies who served the Wicked Witch, bracketed the entrance to the mansion.

“Happy Halloween,” they said cheerfully, somewhat out of character.

Oz, the Great and Powerful, announced himself in a booming, amplified voice from behind a screen on the mansion's front porch.

“Welcome to my Emerald City, the city of joy and the city of candy,” he said. “We have candy.”

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