By Morgan Tuss
One step, two step, three step… Stop! Justin Bieber’s famous tunes cut short by the swift finger-press of the contest moderator, Vanessa Grossman. Pause! The kids halted to a hop and stumble, each landing on a numbered square. Eyes looked left and right and torsos wobbled as they waited for their fate.
…And then there were nine. Survivors of the elimination sighed a breath of relief and stood by for the “go-ahead” to walk the circle again. The finger pressed play and Bieber belted on.
Trays of Rice Crispy treats and brownies; baskets of candies, bags of cookies, and plastic encasings of cupcakes agonizingly delicious looking, but all unmistakably overshadowed by mouthwatering rows of colorful, green, orange, and brown cakes topped with marshmallows, chocolates, Gummy Worms, and technicolored candy sprinkles.
Certainly enough cake for a cake walk… or a cavity.
In the midst of a fall evening, the dining hall glowed from the outside in, lit with bustling activity from all sides of the room. Kids hurried from station to station testing out each game and competing with their peers. In costume and garb, staff and guardians watched-on, attending to the party-goers needs and encouraging Halloween spirit.
The youth toiled over who was next in line and how many turns the person had in front of them. Gladly, they accepted candy as a satisfactory reward for each finished game.
Moving on from one station to the next, the youth looked for opportunities to high-five friends and steal successful techniques.
John Dailey’s “Just Dance” with the Wii attracted the kind of partiers who weren’t afraid to bust a move. They watched the screen closely, flicking their wrists, waving their arms, dipping and kicking their legs out, and shuffling their feet—buoyant with the rhythm of the on-screen dancer. If focus could be measured, this game would take the win.
At different stations, party-goers took turns throwing footballs into holes, mowing down towers of red SOLO cups and monster bowling “pins,” blindfolding each other and pinning the wart on the witch, tossing bean bags into a coffin-shaped Cornhole game, and participating in other carnival games decked-out in spooky, orange and black decor. It was clear that each lodge put a lot of thought into their station, making each of them the engaging and inviting booths that they were.
The hall was hung with jack o lanterns, ghosts, ghouls, spiders, and skeletons and featured a traditional centerpiece with straw bales, corn, pumpkins, a rooster, and a scarecrow.
Some staff brought their spouses and kids, and wore costumes to match the fun. Anya Mohr dressed as the Victorian Queen Anne and served punch until the ladle ran dry. Rishay Watson, PRTF Executive Director, and Dr. Chandra Perez, YBGR’s clinical director, brought over their kiddos and Jeff Seeley brought his son too.
Every person eyed the cakes, treats, and goodies on the way in and out—even the youngest of us.
A Halloween Poem
Without a doubt, the ghouls, goblins, and ghosts galore would’ve been dancing in their skeletons to be at our door.
But, the biggest scare is yet to come. Not Halloween, the presidential election, or your mum…
Lurking in the backdrop of one of these photos is the iconic reminder of the day that comes only but once a year: The holiday that children dream of and the one that parents fear—Christmas!