It was a graveyard smash!
Lake Oswego's Parks & Recreation Department held a special indoor trick-or-treat extravaganza last week to provide local kids with an opportunity to get a jump on their candy collecting in a safe, fun environment.
The "Monster Mash" was held at Christ Church Episcopal Parish, a new location for Parks & Rec classes and activities. City employees and volunteers decked out in costumes handed out candy to the children as they followed
a trail of monster footprints through multiple floors and rooms of the church.
"The Parks & Recreation Department has a mission to help build community, enrich lives and care for the environment," says Recreation Superintendent Jan Wirtz. "The Monster Mash is a special event that celebrates all of those goals. It's a party with local fun festivities unique to LO, like finding little hidden gnomes throughout the church, playing some musical instruments, making fun crafts, dancing to Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' and following the green feet on the floor to collect some well-deserved candy."
Wirtz says the event also provides a chance for little kids to ease into the spirit of Halloween without the experience being too scary. Multiple local groups also got in on the fun.
"The Youth Action Council teens were instrumental in helping with decorating for the event and being present to meet and greet event guests," says Wirtz. "Police and fire departments also get into the event and join the fun."
She says the event was also an opportunity to introduce the community to Christ Church Episcopal Parish as the new location of Parks & Rec activities.
Wirtz says her favorite part of the Monster Mash was seeing the community embrace the spirit of Halloween.
"I loved seeing the families dress up and hearing the kiddos say 'trick or treat' and 'thank you' as their parents coached them. Many of the visitors are just learning about the concept of dressing up, looking at decorations and others in costumes. It's such fun," she says. "There was one family dressed in the movie 'Ghostbusters' outfits, complete with props and a little dog being carried as the green 'Slimer.' It was fantastic."
Wirtz herself is a huge fan of Halloween, as evidenced by the elaborate Glenda the Good Witch costume she donned for the event.
"For me, the best thing about Halloween in LO is the creative community spirit displayed by the people I get to see and meet," she says. "There is genuine positivity and appreciation for the time spent together doing something special. It's a gracious and sincere outlook that Lake Oswegans exude.
"It's a blast being a part of something that brings sweet smiles to little faces and also makes memories for a lifetime," Wirtz adds. "Plus, who doesn't love playing dress-up and eating a little candy?"
For more information on future Parks and Recreation events, visit www.ci.oswego.or.us/parksrec.