Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. The little ones toddled, crawled or scrambled, if they weren’t carried, into the Nederland Teen Center on the Saturday before Halloween. It was a safe, contained, age appropriate Halloween event for younger children and their families and the center was packed as volunteers created a fun, only slightly scary party.
The activities mostly took place in the gym and the foam pit. The Haunted House was near the entrance, with a warning sign advising those who dared enter to let their guide know what level of scary they would prefer.
One group chose the most terrifying trip and soon they were screaming as voices leaned right into their ears. The haunted house hallways were pitch black. Every step was another foot into the unknown and nerves were on edge. When a hand touched the neck of one of the guests, she just about jumped out of her skin.
The teens did a horrifying job. The Haunted House was worth the trip for those who love the macabre, and after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Inside the gym, kids had a chance to decorate pumpkins and cookies. The TEENS Inc. volunteers sold chili and hot dogs and the hot dog guy said he sold more hot dogs in the first hour than ever before.
Batman almost disappeared under the blue squares of the foam pit as a princess struggled to climb out and jump in again.
Adults gave it a try and discovered that it is easier to get out of a foam pit when you weigh 40 pounds instead of 160 pounds.
Shrieks of fun echoed in the building.
At 2 p.m., the noise dimmed as the costumed children sat on the floor and watched the incredible magician, Doc Murdock, do things that seemed impossible, including not noticing the mouse trap that was stuck on his nose. Children were picked from the audience to help him with his tricks and shook their heads in disbelief and confusion when he tore up a napkin and it reappeared as a frame for their faces.
Teens organized and helped the little ones play games and when the party ended, everyone had a decorated pumpkin or a prize and an afternoon of memories, thanks to the hard work of the Nederland teens, teachers and staff.
(Originally published in the November 2, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)