Spooky kids’ events haunt Westmoreland and Woodstock

Take a look at all the fun kids (and their grown-ups) were having at these inner SE Portland Halloween parties …

After crawling through a graveyard at the Meyer Boy’s & Girl’s Club Haunted House, the kids end up here – at the at the Mummy’s crypt.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
While the door-to-door tradition of neighborhood trick-or-treating is still in favor, many families are opting for organized events. We visited two parties on October 31 in inner SE Portland.

Fred G. Meyer Memorial Boys & Girls Club
Our first stop was in Westmoreland to see the final performances of the Haunted House at the Fred G. Meyer Memorial Boy’s & Girl’s Club.

“This Haunted House supports the Oregon Food Bank,” said “Deviled Egg” and event spokesperson, Naomi Head.

During the three day run, Head said, the event attracted about 600 kids. “We’ve filled most of an office with donated food that the kids brought as their admission to the Haunted House.”

Naomi Head (a Deviled Egg) sits with a small sample of the donated food collected during the Fred G. Meyer Memorial Boys & Girls Club Haunted House.

The Haunted House was built into the large gym, and featured a haunted corn maze, a man-eating spider, a graveyard – including a pile of dead bodies to crawl through – and finally, the Mummy’s Crypt. Older kids volunteered to dress in costume and operate special effects.

Even the bravest kids were startled during their trip through the Haunted House. “Aaah, it wasn’t that scary,” commented “cowboy” Jimmie Lee after exiting the darkened room. His little sister, Alisha, fighting back tears, apparently disagreed – we hope she didn’t have bad dreams.

Woodstock Community Center Halloween Party

Outside the Woodstock Community Center, Maizie Logee and Ella Huntzinger find the spooky decorations fun, not scary.

The volunteers who produce the Woodstock Family Picnic decided to do “a little something” for Halloween at the community center. The event turned out to be a hit with neighbors.

“Welcome to our first-ever Halloween party at the Woodstock Community Center,” Ruthann Bedenkop greeted us. She was flanked by the famous fearsome pirate Capt. Jack Sparrow (aka Mike Rocheleau). “It’s sponsored by the Woodstock Neighborhood Association and Woodstock Community Business Association.”

Organizer Ruthann “First Mate” Bedenkop and Capt. Jack Sparrow (aka Mike Rocheleau) welcome guests to the Woodstock Halloween Party.

Because it was their first year, Bedenkop said they expected a low turnout. “We’d prepared 75 gift bags – they were gone before the time the event was scheduled to open.”

The volunteers planned to host about 150 guests throughout the evening, but they’d already surpassed that number by 20 guests when we visited early in the event.

Witches (they assure us they are good witches) Maile and Sylvie Baures share a Halloween moment with friends Genevieve and Susan Rosenkranz.

These kids say they’re loving the crafts at the Woodstock Halloween Party.

Thanks to the diligent work of volunteers who kept the snack counter stocked, nearly about 300 guests were treated to cheese and crackers, cookies and apple slices with “swamp sludge” (caramel) dipping sauce. In total, about 30 volunteers kept the event running smoothly.

During the late afternoon, the Woodstock Branch Library hosted “Story Time”. Upstairs, kids played simple games and won prizes; the basement craft room was packed with youngsters making masks, wands and other spooky-themed crafts.

In addition to financially supporting the event, businesses along Woodstock Boulevard participated by offering trick-or-treating at their shops.

After playing games at the party, the Murray family, from Woodstock, pause for a family portrait.

“We like showcasing our Community Center,” said Bedenkop. “We have a spring open house, and thought it would be nice to have something in the fall. Thanks to our volunteers, and our neighbors, this event has been incredibly successful.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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