Over 500 families played a variety of games, activities, carved pumpkins, and made Halloween themed crafts at the fifth annual Camp Chestermere Halloween Howler on Oct. 27.
“We were pretty close to doubling the Halloween Howler,” said Camp Chestermere Assistant Director Collin Daws.
“We were a little worried about the weather going into it, but we ran everything that we wanted to run, and it was a really big success,” he said.
When families first attended the Halloween Howler, they were able to walk through the Teal Pumpkin Project Trunk or Treat and collect numerous non-food items.
“We love to collaborate with everybody in the community. Everybody in the city was trying to find ways to make sure we didn’t double up on our events and make sure there were localized spots in the community for people to visit,” Daws said.
From the Trunk or Treat, families could carve pumpkins, play life-sized checkers and life-sized Jenga in Synergy’s Kid Zone, or play at the City of Chestermere’s Mobile Adventure Playground.
Families could also find their way through the glow maze, dark wall climb, participate in the broomstick battles obstacle course while enjoying hot chocolate and smores in between activity stations.
“Synergy had their own themed room, and they prepared it with a bunch of gross touch and feel stuff, they had a blast doing that,” Daws said.
There was also an arts and craft station with mini-games, which was meant for children under four years old.
“Part of the feedback we got was we needed more things for kids four and under, so we took that and ran with it,” Daws said.
The family favourite activity, Pumpkin Punishment, was back, where youth could smash pumpkins with sledgehammers or shoot pumpkins with bows and arrows and slingshots.
“It was a lot of fun, and we went through a lot of pumpkins for sure,” Daws said.
Year after year, Camp Chestermere has the goal for the Halloween Howler to bring families together to spend an afternoon out in the community.
“There aren’t a lot of opportunities for families to do that, to connect intergenerationally, that’s something we want to continue to pursue and give opportunities to families who just don’t have time to connect,” Daws said.
“For me, seeing the people that I knew, my friends and my family have fun with their kids was a highlight. Seeing kids with smiles on their faces is always a highlight,” he said.
Adding, “The joy that we can bring from an event like this is what gets me to work every day.”
Throughout the afternoon, Daws saw a variety of characters running around Camp Chestermere. However, one that stood out to him was a child wearing an inflatable t-rex costume.
“He just walked in, and I had this little mini t-rex running around the site. That was the marker to understand the public was there,” Daws said.
“There were a lot of really cute outfits,” he added. “There were unicorns, dinosaurs, and a bunch of superheroes, it was adorable.”
The annual Halloween Howler was only possible because of the support from Synergy, who supplied volunteers and activities, Macaroni Kid Chestermere, the City of Chestermere, Safeway and the Chestermere Lions Club who donated pumpkins, Compact Rental, and Parent Link.
“All the volunteers a huge thank you to them who came out, supported the event, had fun with the kids, handed out candy, and everybody for coming out,” Daws said.
“It’s amazing to see this many people on site who just want to have fun with their family, but it’s cool to see that they want to come out to Camp Chestermere,” he added. “We will be running the event again next year.”