Youngsters, mainly of the tyke-type, had first dibs on Halloween celebrations this past weekend at the YMCA of South Collier (Marco).
The children, along with their cheerfully supportive parents, enjoyed a Pumpkin Party Night at the Y that put a bit of a different slant on the traditional celebration.
First, they picked up their snow globe-sized pumpkins by walking a maze in the gym, after which they made their way to the pool to try to throw them into hoops floating in the water. (The pumpkins were retrieved and returned to the kids by organizer Morgan Joseph, who is the Y’s aquatics and sports director).
Next it was on to the tennis courts to pop orange balloons with green pipe cleaners that also served as faux foliage, and after that everyone got going with paint and paintbrushes to create assorted works of art.
Welcoming the kids and their guests, the Y’s Youth Development Manager Stephanie Pepper said this particular celebration was a “nice alternative” to the upcoming array.
The evening – the first of its kind – was a preamble to the Y’s other big Halloween night – Bootacular – set for this Saturday, Oct. 26 from 4 to 6 PM at the Youth Development Center.
Matt Hansel lives close by to the Y, and he brought along his young son Hudson to enjoy the evening.
“He loved throwing his pumpkin in the pool,” Hansel said. “These evenings are great.”
Marissa Steiner chaperoned a few kids, and painted her face to be part of the fun.
“It’s nice to participate in the occasion,” Steiner said.
Although dressing up is encouraged more for Saturday’s Bootacular, some little ones did enjoy coming in outfits.
Bentley Pike was a ringer for Disney’s Sheriff Woody, and spent quite a lot of time on dad Charles’ shoulders.
“It’s a really nice evening,” dad Charles said. “The activities are great and really fun for the little kids. We appreciate it.”
Halloween, according to a definition, is a celebration observed in a number of countries on the 31st of October.
It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints, martyrs, and all the faithful. (This, of course, prompts all the ghoulish costumes seen wandering around towns on Oct. 31.)
Celebrations include trick-or-treating, costume parties, making jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, divination, apple bobbing and visiting haunted attractions.
And now, each year at the YMCA of South Collier – the Pumpkin Party Night.
For more on the Y’s wide variety of programs and activities for adults and children, visit marcoymca.org or call 239-394-YMCA (9622). Follow on Twitter at ymcamarco; on Facebook @marcoymca, and Instagram at ymcamarco.