Legend Comes to Life for Halloween

October 31, 2003 -- Posted at 11:00pm

STRAWBERRY, AR - The legend of Sleepy Hollow comes to life every Halloween in the town of Strawberry.

"Yeah. Ever since kindergarten," said Cray Howard, 4th Grader. "The first part wasn't that scary, but later on in the story it got scarier," added Kayla Perkins, a 5th Grade student.

A man dressed as the Headless Horseman rides his horse around on the campus of River Valley Schools.

Howard explained, "The years past it was just him riding a horse around. This year it was Ichabod and the Headless Horseman. They actually played out some of the story." "I like the part where the Headless Horseman threw the pumpkin at the other guy," added Zachary Barton, a 6th Grade student at River Valley.

The man who portrays the Headless Horseman is Kennard Ward. He's been scaring kids for 30 years; the last 17 of those years in Strawberry.

Ward recalled, "I decided I'd hide down at the other end of the playground, and about 10 minutes before the school bell rang that morning, I dashed across the playground, and the kids all hollered, 'Zorro, Zorro, Zorro.'"

The fact that the kids didn't know about Brom Bones and Ichabod Crane caused the retired principal to practically 'loose his mind'. Since then teachers have bee reading the story to their kids. Ward hopes to continue acting it out for them for decades.

"I'm old enough, if it works, it hurts, but I think I'm old enough I can keep going maybe another 31 years," said Ward.