Weeks before the actual night of haunting, the annual 4-H Junior Leader Community Halloween Party provides a safe environment for trick-or-treating, carnival games, treats, hayrides and more. The free party is 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Exhibition Center of the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds, 2003 Pleasant St., Noblesville.
“It’s a fun way to community service,” 4-H Ag/Youth Program Assistant Lisa Hanni said.
This is the third year the event will be held in the Exhibition Center.
“It helps with the flow,” Hanni said. “We have been able to add more carnival games with the extra space which has cut down on the length of lines that the kids have to stand in to participate in each activity.”
Hanni said a new addition this year is a photo booth.
“We’ll put up a black curtain and put Happy Halloween on it,” she said. “All families want to take pictures of their kids dressed up. This is a photo opportunity for them. We thought that it would be fun.”
Youth ages 10 and under are invited to come in costume and enjoy games, prizes, candy and refreshments, a haunted barn and a hayride. Hayrides start at 6 p.m. and a costume contest will begin at 7:30 p.m. Hanni said there are three age groups (0-3, 4-6 and 7-10) with awards for scariest, cutest and most original. There also is a category for families that come dressed as a group.
“We offer this as a free event for families which includes hayrides, carnival games, refreshments and a haunted house,” Hanni said. “Everyone is allowed to participate in the activities as many times as they wish. We do ask that children need to be chaperoned.”
Hanni estimated the event has 300 children each year.
The evening is organized and sponsored by the Hamilton County 4-H Junior Leaders, who also hold an annual community Easter egg hunt in the spring. Hanni said funds to host the free events were raised from the Jr. Leaders poinsettia sale and soda stand during the summer’s 4-H Fair.
“They take some of their proceeds from their concession stand sales during the 4-H Fair to support this event,” she said. “It’s a way for the Jr. Leaders to give back to the community.”
As much fun as the event is for community children, Hanni said the party is a learning experience for junior leaders, who run the carnival games and plan, construct and man the haunted barn.
“Whether they are the chairman or leading a game, it’s a great opportunity for the students to show their leadership and organization skills,” she said. “It is fun to watch them grow from this and other Jr. Leader experiences. You see them become more outgoing, come out of their shell.”
For more information, call 776-0854 or visit www.ag.purdue.edu/counties/hamilton.