STOCKTON -- A "Spooky Festival" was set to be held at Stockton Rural Cemetery -- advertising games, face painting and "bone-chilling" tours of the dead -- but it was canceled Wednesday after backlash from some community members and those with loved ones buried there.
"There’s nothing spooky about my brother. There’s nothing spooky about people that passed away," Melinda Valencia, whose brother is buried at the cemetery, told FOX40 on Monday. "They passed away in these horrific ways and I’m sure they are going to talk about that on the tour, and it shouldn’t be made into something entertaining."
Cemetery manager Ruben Sanchez says he's received dozens of phone calls voicing concerns about the event, which was scheduled for Friday.
"It's going to be a self-guided tour. We are staying on the pavement. We’re not trampling on any stones. No disrespect. No big party or drinking, none of that. Everything is going to be factual stories that are here," Sanchez said earlier this week, before the event was canceled.
He says the event was to be a fundraiser for the cemetery, which is a nonprofit, and that the tour would have been about history from the 1800s, including some scary stories.
Sanchez says he didn't feel the event is inappropriate.
"It's promoting the cemetery and promoting the community. It’s a place to visit," he said.