It wasn’t just the balmy day, or the dazzling sunshine or the spectacular leaves or the wondrous collection of animals at the petting zoo that made such a superb success of the Round Hill Halloween party. It was a combination of all of these, organized and executed by co-chairs Deepa Javeri and Christina Schwefel and assisted by Anne Louise Bostock, Heather Cotter, Leigh Retzler, and Laura Grad.
The careful planning of activities, including a bouncy castle, always a huge draw, face painting, a popcorn machine and train rides, all kept guests lingering joyfully outside, chatting with each other in the rays of the slanting sunshine. The train, festooned with Halloween decorations, collected its passengers and made several runs around the driveway, across the lawn and back to the “station”. Toddlers dressed as dragons and princesses, a baby dressed as “a California avocado roll”, another dressed as a pirate, carried by her father who wore a pirate’s hat, testified to the ingenuity and creativity of those attending. Children were fascinated by the goat, the alpacas, the hamster, the Belgian rabbit; “he will grow to be the size of a dog,” said his keeper, and the rooster. All of the animals were there to be petted. The animals’ keeper had thoughtfully provided extra kibble so children could feed them. Seeing outstretched hands, the goat and alpacas made use of their comparative freedom to extend their necks outside the pen in search of more grub. Tickets had sold out long before the event itself, prompting fears that walk- ins would be turned away, to conform with the fire code of having a maximum of 160 people in the building. But the sensational weather and plethora of activities outdoors induced guests to remain outside for most of the party.
When dusk began to fall and parents brought their children into the community house, they were greeted by ghostly figures hanging from the doors and ceiling. Spider webs adorned the windows, the stage was decorated with pumpkins and straw bales. On the floor in front of the stage were two moving inflated figures, one, a giant black cat who turned his head slowly, and the other an upside down witch whose leg kicked sporadically. These intrigued the youngsters.
Bright orange pumpkins adorned black covered tables. At one activity table there were huge pumpkin shaped sugar cookies to be decorated. Children applied orange frosting to the cookies and added M&M’s or candy corn. Everyone was polite and waited a turn. At another activity table blank masks awaited coloring; children were given crayons to personalize their own Halloween face masks.
Pizza and soft drinks, water and donut holes were served. Beer was offered as well but the great draw was the chance to reconnect with neighbors, to admire the costumes of each other’s children and grandchildren. Toward the close of the party, which ended at six, many princesses, ballerinas, monsters and lions were asleep on their parents’ shoulders, a tribute to a terrific party.