Epic Halloween display to benefit community

Shawn and Christina Smith stand inside Raceway Bar and Grill Oct. 23, 2023. [Elias Weiss]
Shawn and Christina Smith stand inside Raceway Bar and Grill Oct. 23, 2023. [Elias Weiss]

When Christina and Shawn Smith swapped a suburban Gilbert neighborhood for acreage in Hidden Valley, they realized few would see their enormous collection of Halloween decorations.

This year, they’re putting them to good use. And better yet, it’s for a good cause.

“We like goofy, fun, a little spooky,” Christina Smith said. “Not too scary for the little ones.”

The couple spent five laborious weeks decking out Raceway Bar and Grill on Papago Road with lights, inflatables, animatronics and so much more. From bubbling cauldrons to flaming pyres to a skeleton bartender, they pulled out all the stops.

Shawn even brought out the hydraulic scissor lift to hang skeleton-piloted airplanes and monster cobwebs from the ceiling. The whole place — literally — is covered in spooky webs and orange lights.

A view of a skeleton with glowing eyes inside Raceway Bar & Grill on Oct. 23, 2023. Christina and Shawn Smith took five weeks to deck out the restaurant into a true Halloween trunk-or-treat destination. [Elias Weiss]

“These people are passionate about Halloween,” said Rand DelCotto, owner of Raceway Bar and Grill. “I’m ecstatic about the fact that they did all this.”

It’s all to attract folks to a trunk-or-treat and car show this weekend. Coffee and rolls for breakfast, chicken sandwiches for lunch — all supporting the Maricopa Pantry, a local food bank that just this week helped more than 1,600 families.

The food bank’s founder and CEO Jim Shaof said the event benefits the pantry a lot. But, best of all, it gives the kids of rural Hidden Valley a real trick-or-treating experience.

”A lot of people down here don’t have the time, money or cars to even go up to Maricopa,” he said. “That’s the biggest benefit, for the kids to have fun.”

In return, the food bank is bringing goodies for the kids. Participants should supply their own candy for the trunk-or-treat.

“We just want to try to help,” DelCotto said.


Now in its fourth year, Maricopa Pantry will host its annual trunk-or-treat car show that doubles as a fundraiser for the food pantry. Cars arrive as early as 7 a.m., followed by the trunk-or-treat at 12 p.m. and Halloween food and drink specials through the day. Car owners interested in participating can contact Raceway Bar and Grill at 520-568-0808.

Saturday, Oct. 28 from 12-5 p.m.
Raceway Bar & Grill, 19237 W. Papago Rd.