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Safety first . . . A fierce green dragon is outfitted with reflective
tape for a safe Halloween night. Kenmare firefighter Eric Seykora,
right, applies the tape while firefighter Chuck Leet tells the
"dragon" the tape will help drivers see him walking from house
to house while trick-or-treating. Fun Zone Daycare employee
Josie Sauder assists, while a bumble bee and Minnie Mouse watch,
during the Kenmare Firefighters Auxiliary first annual
Halloween party at the Kenmare Fire Hall.
By Caroline Downs
Tiny gremlins, sleek Ninjas, sparkling princesses and young superheroes could all be found at the Kenmare Fire Hall last Wednesday afternoon.
After all, what better to begin Halloween celebrations than with a party in a room filled with Jack-o-lanterns, skeletons and cobwebs, all swaying to the beat of spooky monster music?
None of the young visitors appeared too frightened, however, as they lined up to play games like “Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin” and participate in a “Pop Walk” that left everyone with beverages to enjoy.
Add a few frosted ghost cookies and spider-topped cupcakes, and the Kenmare Firefighters Auxiliary’s first annual Halloween Party could be called a success, especially with 120 kids joining in the fun.
The Auxiliary members didn’t know how many children to include in their planning, but they provided enough prizes so each child left with a handful of treasures. “For our first year, we thought we’d see how the community would accept it,” said organizer MaryAnn Melin. “Next year, we’ll build on this.”
The party started at 2 pm, which allowed mothers to bring their young children and daycare providers to arrive with the troops, all in costume. One goal of the party was to allow the children and firefighters, who were wearing their gear, to mingle.
“We want to familiarize the kids with the guys in these outfits,” said Leet. “That way they won’t be afraid of us.”
The firefighters also attached strips of reflective tape on the back or arm of each child’s costume, with a discussion about safety. “Some of them asked, ‘What’s that for?’” Leet said. “We said it was to reflect off the headlights of cars so the drivers can see them at night. One girl told me, ‘This is for safety, isn’t it?’”
The firefighters saw the party as one way to extend the lessons of Fire Prevention Week, held earlier in October with tours of the Fire Hall for preschool kids and children in grades kindergarten through three.
A second benefit soon became apparent. “The kids were familiar with the Fire Hall because of Fire Prevention Week, but a lot of the parents were not,” said Auxiliary member Janet Leet. “So they had a chance to look around.”
“We heard a lot of positive comments about the facility,” added Chuck Leet. “This was a chance to get the parents into the Hall. A lot of them have never been in there.”
The kids appreciated the prizes and food, the parents appreciated the safe place for their children to celebrate Halloween, and the firefighters appreciated the visits.
Melin and co-organizer Nicole Michalenko were pleased with the response. “We appreciate the support the community gives us,” said Michalenko, “and we wanted to give something back.”
Another group in town received a Halloween surprise from the Auxiliary’s party when the treats still remaining after the last child left were delivered to the residents at Maple View. “There was plenty for everyone!” said Janet Leet.
Other Auxiliary members who participated in the Halloween party included Candace Sieg, Dawn Keith, Kim Mogren, Audrey Wirtz, Sharon Thelen, Stacey Hedberg, Shelley Pullen, Billie Steen and Amber Bruner.