CHIPLEY — Florida Panhandle College is gearing up for its annual "Candy and Career" event on October 31 at the college. The event, which according to the college's director Martha Compton, serves as an open house and community event will include games, prizes, and food all centered around the Halloween theme and is open to everyone in the community from toddler to senior age.

"We try to use Halloween night as a safe environment for our community," Compton said. "It's just a really good community event. It's a safe environment and it's a fun night." 

Compton said during the event the students will be able to go to every classroom and meet with the instructors and discuss the programs to get more information, which she said could ultimately help them to decide on a career pathway.

"It's free (to attend,)" she said. "Now this year we are offering hot dogs for a fundraiser for Skills USA. We also have candy, popcorn and free prizes.

Te event started approximately 10 years ago when Compton began as director with 450 attendees. she said after the event 25 people enrolled in the program and every year more people come to the event with the attendance this year expectedto max out at 1,200. In the beginning she said it was about getting more enrollment but since then it has become more than that.

"It's about showing the community what FPTC has to offer," she said. "We do a lot of services for people, non-profit of course. If They need something built they call my carpentry department. Or if the school district needs something welded they will call my welder."

Compton said the view of the college has changed from just vocational to technical and she wants to make sure the community knows that it is for everyone.

It is not just for few, the ones who can't go to college," she said. "It is for all, the ones who want a career pathway."

Compton said both of her daughter went to FPTC and went on to successful careers other places and knows of other students who successfully completed programs in pharmacy who are now in successful careers.

Compton said this event is something that they can do for the community without taking away from what the rest of the community is trying to do and said she doesn't plan to hold other holiday themed events.

"We used to have a downtown candy walk called trunk or treat and then we stopped having it," she said. "So we started trying to fill in the gap. So this wasn't trying to take away, this was to add."

The event will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the school's campus, 757 Hoyt Street Chipley Fl. For more information about the program, visit www.FPTC.edu.