Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It seems to be the catalyst to kicking off all the other wonderful holidays Americans celebrate. As a child, I have fond memories of lugging a grocery sack through the streets of Okmulgee and filling it with delectable goodies that did not have to be x-rayed or checked out by my parents. We would trick or treat all the way to the town square which had been transformed into a Halloween carnival.
Pawhuska began its Halloween celebration last Thursday when the Pawhuska Elks hosted their third annual Halloween, Inc. Past Exulted Ruler Sallee Smith said, "We filled over 600 bags for this year’s event and hoped they would be enough. When we resurrected the event in 2010, we prepared 300 goody bags. Last year the number was up to 500, so the event is steadily increasing."
Smith explained the goody bags have treats, "Don’t Do Drugs" literature and a bracelet, along with twelve free tickets. Additional tickets were available for purchase for as little as 25 cents each.
Shortly after the doors open, the halls filled with children of all sizes and ages. Many were dressed as witches, goblins, clowns, and more. The energy level was one of excitement and gaiety as the children scurried to assorted games and activities. An abundance of popcorn, hotdogs and chips added to the festivity. The Elks stage provided a perfect venue for costume contests.
Nestled behind the stage was a cake-walk designed for just for kids. I was overwhelmed at the number of cookies, pies and cakes awaiting lucky cake-walk winners. Some were ghoulishly spooky, such as the eye-ball topped cake. An abundance of spookily-lit attractions beckoned eager youngsters. The carnival atmosphere featured Ring the Pop, Bean Toss, Fishing, Bean Toss, Face Painting, Jupiter Jump, a jail and more.
Smith credited Elks Manager Kim Moen with resurrecting this popular event.
"The Elks Lodge is a community-service organization. We just wanted the kids to have a place to come and have fun. We were awarded a grant to help offset expenses. Members also donate their time and money. It takes dozens of people to execute this event."
Elk member Laura Goentzer said she, along with other Elks, will be working the concession stand for Friday night’s homecoming event.
"Several weeks ago, our members conducted fire prevention programs for Pawhuska 4th and 5th grade classes. We also gave each child a fire extinguisher."
The costume contest featured three categories – Funniest, Scariest, and Most Original. Each winner received a $5 gift certificate to Handy’s, Simple Simons, McDonald’s and Subway which were purchased by the Elks.
Level 0-3 years: Funniest (Clown) went to Will Cass. Scariest (Pirate) to Tia Walker; and Most Original (Scarecrow) to Gentri Yates. Level 4-6 years: Funniest (Mario) to Tyler Ross; Scariest (Pirate) to Kaiden; Most Original (Evil Jester) to Mason Fohn. Level 7-10 years: Funniest (Cool Gorilla) to Channler Moen; Scariest (Skelton Corpse) to Ethan; Most Original (Tin Man) to Joseph Metcalf. Level 11-12 years: Funniest (Nerd) to Lynnlea McGuire; Scariest (Monster) to James Long; and Most Original (Jack Sparrow) to Tyler Quillen.