TOP: The Indy crew and friends dressed as Clue characters at last Saturday’s Monster Mile. ABOVE: A spooky crowd haunted Bombardier Park. (Photos by Emerson Lynn)

Sunshine befitting a summer’s day greeted participants at this year’s Monster Mile, the Milton Independent’s fifth annual Halloween fun run/walk/stroll for charity last Saturday in Bombardier Park.

Nearly 200 walkers and runners of all ages descended upon the park in creative costumes to support the Milton Family Community Center Food Shelf, our beneficiary for which we donated more than 500 pounds of food, 200 from Milton Rescue’s team alone.

The food drive was held in conjunction with New England Federal Credit Union’s Food from the Heart collection. Our monetary donation is still being tabulated and will be announced in a subsequent edition of the Indy.

This year, the Mile expanded with a 5K route to celebrate our five years helping the community and having fun. Just after 2:30 p.m., the runners lined up on Park Place and took off at the sound of the ambulance’s horn.

They progressed down Bombardier Road, and with the help of interim police Chief Steve Laroche, crossed to Hobbs and made a circle through the Woodcrest neighborhood before returning back to the Milton Outdoor Performance Center.

Meanwhile, the horde of Milers gathered at the start. Instead of crossing to Hobbs, they took a right on Middle Road and progressed through Bombardier Park’s east side to its west via the foot bridge, a colorful backdrop of fall foliage the whole way.

Ben Charbonneau won best men’s costume for his Viking outfit. (Photo by Emerson Lynn)

Volunteers assembled by our faithful helpers in the Milton Recreation Department guided the Milers around the final lap along the soccer field before they returned to the MOPC as a veritable Halloween parade.

There, our costume judges from MFCC and NEFCU consulted on who wore it best.

For best men’s costume, Bill Charbonneau won for his spot-on impersonation of a Viking. The beard was the best part, and it was all his own.

Best women’s costume went to previous winner Betsy Hoffmeister, who pulled off an impressive rendition of an All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player, fictionalized in the classic movie “A League of Their Own.”

Khloe Rose stole the judge’s hearts for her tiny cop costume, and Reese Payea made an adorable Harry Potter, lightning-bolt scar and all.

Best group costume was awarded to Katie, Matthew, Olivia and Westley Lang, who portrayed heroes and villains from the Batman franchise.

And the best-dressed pet was Lady Gaga and her owner, Bella Kittson, who dressed like Native Americans.

As the Milers waited for results, they taste-tested baked goods in our third annual bake-off on the stage: Carmelita bars, lemon cookies, chewy ginger cookies and peanut butter balls were all on display.

Reese Payea as Harry Potter casts a spell on the footbridge before winning best boy’s costume. (Photo by Emerson Lynn)

The peanut butter balls made it a threepeat for Vanessa Fleming, whose more than 65 votes won her a $25 Hannaford gift card donated by George McRae of McRae’s Towing.

Kids also got to visit with goats and a pony from D&M Goat Farm in Fairfax and beg their parents to adopt a dog from All Breed Rescue, who brought a few eager pups to the Mile.

John Lindsay and Stevie Beats from The New Hot 96.7 emceed our event, which was made possible by our generous sponsors: NEFCU, NG Advantage, Northwestern Urgent Care, Let’s Grow Kids, Green Mountain Power, Vermont Gas, Husky, Milton Ace Hardware and Villanti.

A big thanks also to town manager Don Turner Jr. and his father, Don Turner Sr., for logistics and setup; Jim Ballard for festive pumpkins and cornstalks; Working Dog Septic for a discounted portolet; and to our crew at the St. Albans Messenger for just about everything else.

Finally, we thank all our participants for coming out to support a great cause.

We look forward to seeing you at the Indy’s next event, the Milton Community Tree Lighting, on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. sharp at the Hannaford plaza. If anyone’s looking to get rid of a healthy, shapely tree, let us know at

To see more scenes from the Mile, check out our photo album on Facebook.