Archive for Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Girl Scouts brew up Halloween festival

October 6, 2004

Ghosts, goblins, crafts and haywagon rides -- it was all part of Saturday's Halloween activities in Tonganoxie.

Girl Scout Troop 3244's leader, Donna Henley, said the Halloween Fall Fun Fest went so well, she's hoping it can be repeated next year.

Key players in the planning were Henley, Mary Ellen Slawson, who has two Girl Scout troops, and Henley's assistant troop leader Amber Lentz.

And of course there were the Girl Scouts and all the parents who helped make the day a success.

Henley was surprised at how many children attended the event, held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the administration building at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds.

"We were expecting about 100 girls initially," Henley said. "We've only got 350 girls in our Mid Continent Council."

But after the invitations went out, 225 people signed up ahead of time. And about 25 more came through the door on Saturday. Admission was $1 for those who pre-registered and $2 for tickets purchased on Saturday.

Colorful costumes were everywhere. One of those attending was Elizabeth Puhl, a 9-year-old Girl Scout from Piper dressed as a southern belle in a floor-length red dress and hat.

The event was fun, Elizabeth said.

"I like how you get so much candy," she added.

Henley, who is expecting a baby later this month, said the timing worked for her. But because this was the first experience her troop had had in putting on a festival, she was concerned. Planning sessions began in August.

"There were lots of sleepless nights just trying to think of last-minute lists," Henley said.

And, she was concerned whether there would be enough Girl Scouts and adults to run a room full of activities and craft-making booths.

One of the most popular events was the doughnut dangling. Henley explained this is more sanitary than bobbing for apples.

"We hung doughnuts off of ribbons and the kids had to eat them in the air without using their hands," Henley said.

Henley said she appreciated the fair board allowing the Girl Scouts to use the building at no charge, as well as donations by area businesses.

Now that she has experienced one Halloween festival, Henley's already planning the next one.

"Next year we will make it closer to evening time," she said. "We're trying to find people to be scary or who can come in and tell stories."

The event held Saturday will help her troop members earn their leadership badge.

"Next year we plan on using it to complete their bronze award," Henley added.

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