On Oct. 25, the Southwestern Elementary PTO and Physical Education staff sponsored their second annual Halloween Bash.
Volunteers participated from many high school and middle school organizations such as National Honor Society, Key Club, Art Club, Student Council, the boys' varsity soccer team and the girls' modified soccer team. Their help made this event possible. Members of the elementary school faculty helped set up, take down and run games in the gymnasium.
The mastermind behind this event was Hannah Swan-Leuze. Two years ago, she said she had an idea and wanted to put it into play. She said that she wanted to get the community involved in an event that would get people to come to a function at the school during Halloween. The idea has built itself into the largest function the school has held. Last year and this year, the school housed the Bash to more than 1,000 people from the community.
The Halloween Bash has a couple of features. First, as the people come in to the school they can enter the gymnasium and play games at 10 different stations. These games include bowling, racing, climbing wall, Frisbee throw, lacrosse toss, hockey shot, basketball shoot, and a ring toss. Many of the volunteers ran the games and were supervised by PE teacher Mark Arnold, third-grade teacher Lori Anderson and her husband, Sherman PE teacher Brad Barmore, and Steve Matteson. The children were excited that there were many games to play and the lines went pretty quick.
Next, there was a haunted house. Here, the children and their families walked through a maze of mild terror. In this location, the school had many student volunteers that helped set up, run and clean up at the end of the night. This year the school asked the Art Club to paint spooky trees on 8x10 foot sheets of cardboard, donated by Jamestown Container. These trees represented a scary forest scene. There were also corn stalks and pumpkins - donated by Anderson Farms - that were strategically placed throughout the maze. Students brought in leaves and strobe lights to help make it realistic.
Money for the props was donated by the Lawton family, as well. This section was supervised by Mr. Swan-Leuze. While the sounds of Halloween were heard throughout the areas of the cafeteria, each person walked with anticipation of a spooky character to jump out at them or display creepiness. Mr. Swan-Leuze heard a few kids say, "I loved it last year, but this year was way better!"
There was a face painting stand where "Hannah's Crew" painted Halloween theme items on children's faces. This station invited children to take a break from all the excitement and have a little painted souvenir that they took home with them. Hannah said, "The kids were so polite and used their manners when choosing their designs."
Alsomusic teacher Darlene Hetrick supervised a movie showing of "Casper the Ghost" in the fifth-grade house area. This also gave the parents and their children a chance to relax and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the Bash.
Lastly, there was "The Great Pumpkin Run." Here, students rode roller racers down the second-grade ramp.
The students would go one at a time and race down the ramp and enjoy the speed they picked up as they made their way down to the bottom. Within each age group, the children could start at different levels up the ramp. The younger kids (K-1) started lower, and the older, more experienced children (2-5) started higher on the ramp. One child stated that this ride was their favorite part of the night. PE teacher Mr. Moran - with help from his wife, Mary and daughter, Shannon - set up and ran this awesome activity. It just goes to show you that kids have a need for speed, especially when they get a chance to ride down the ramp!
As the night progressed, the PE teachers had a couple goals. One, they wanted to make sure there were enough volunteers to make the Bash better than ever. There were more than 50 people helping to put on this event. Second, there was a pre-paid and "need to pay" entrance so the wait wasn't as long. People were asked throughout the night, "Did you have to wait very long to get in?" They responded, "I got right in. It was nice not having to wait." Finally, to make the Bash even better, those involved agreed that there was no comparison to last year. Last year rocked, but this year just ran so much smoother, according to the school.
Volunteers, custodians, faculty helpers, spouses and families, and those that donated products for the Bash, such as Ready about Sailing - pizza for volunteers - McDonald's - free food coupons - and the SWES PTO made the event a success.
Additionally, $500 was raised for the Kallie Swan Benefit. She was just diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia over the summer. A check will be presented to the parents of this little girl in the near future.