Gilpin raises Halloween goosebumps at the school and campground

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tot_hinklefamilyTrick or Treat Streets combine fun and fundraising

by Patty Unruh

Gilpin kids and kids-at-heart had their choice this year of going cabin to cabin at Base Camp at Golden Gate Canyon or trekking the familiar halls of Gilpin County School – or both! Weirdly enough, the weather even cooperated, bringing out especially large crowds.

Monsters Mash at Gilpin School

  Kids of all ages flocked to the hallways and gym of Gilpin County School for Trick or Treat Street, party games, and a creepily creative haunted house.

New decorations gave an air of the eerie to the proceedings. Angela Webb and Mary Perkins of the PTA reported that the special blow-up Halloween haunts were donated by the Mattivi Estate. (Mr. Mattivi was a former Gilpin school teacher.) These included a giant moving spider and a grinning pumpkin in the lobby, as well as several other cool and creepy items.

A record 520 pounds of candy were given out, which meant the biggest crowd ever. In the days prior to the carnival, elementary classes held a competition for candy donations. The fourth grade won first place, earning a pizza party. The lower Montessori class came in second and will get an ice cream party, and third place was the Montessori Pre-K/K class for a prize of dinosaur hats.

Community organizations had a real treat handing out the candy to the children. Folks from the Central City Fire Department, Masons, Elks, Taggert’s convenience store, Eagle’s Nest Day Care, Gilpin Ambulance, Base Camp, and Prospector’s Run participated.

Party-goers also donated over 750 pounds of food to the local food bank.

LaNora Braning won the pumpkin contest, and Brianna Kennedy swept the costume contest.

The silent auction raised over a thousand dollars. Donors included Freebird Photography, Kevin’s Art in Aspen, Mountain Mocha, the Denver Zoo and Museum of Nature and Science, Ace Hardware, Gilpin Rec Center, Make You Famous Tattoos, El Dora, Loveland, and Arapahoe Basin ski areas, Bandimere Speedway, Body Mecca, the Weekly Register-Call, Easy Street, Lodge, Isle of Capri, and Reserve Casinos, Rocky Mountain Oyster Bar, Nature’s Own, Underground Liquor, Puppy Love Dog Grooming, Sky Country Grooming, and Alternative Sun Salon.

After bidding on great items, families could enjoy a meal at the Spider’s Web Diner, where the entrees included deep fried spider legs, poison ivy salad, and warty witch fingers. If none of those dishes tempted the diners, they could opt for pizza, a barbequed pork sandwich, or baked chicken. Isle of Capri, Manley’s BBQ, King Soopers, and Taggert’s donated the food.

The gym was packed wall to wall with revelers dressed as superheroes, animals, food, video game characters, non-scary clowns, and even reporters. Rock music blared for the popular cake walk; cakes were made by Crystal Zeilbeck, Jacquelyn O’Brien, and Kayce Harmsen.

Traditional carnival games abounded, operated by secondary school students. The freshman class ran booths in order to start earning money for their senior class trip and other goals (that’s really planning a “head”!)

A bounce castle and bouncy slides kept the little ones occupied, while Timberline Fire ran the target shoot. Students Hannah Anderson and Blaizun Diamond kept the “county jail” for students who wanted a taste of the slammer.

The main attraction of the party was the haunted house, which was created by Angela Webb and Wendy Guiliano. Teacher/witch Sharon Lutes took tickets, and students served as guides through the maze of spider webs, coffins, Frankenstein figure, zombies, and various and sundry body parts, all bathed in a sickly green light that glowed through a “toxic” fog. Those who didn’t wish to have phantoms jumping out to scare them could hold a glow stick to signal the ghouls to stay put.

Hats off to the PTA for sponsoring yet another hair-raising thriller!

Kids Get “Broom Service” at Base Camp

Neighborhood ghosts, goblins, and witches flew on in to the Base Camp campground on Highway 46 for Trick or Treat Street. The campground had several festively decorated cabins where children were treated with candy.

It was the first time that the campground had hosted such an event, which ran from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 27. Campground owners Tom and Cary Ihme estimated that about 150 to 200 kids stopped in, most of them before 6:30. They gave out tons of candy – exactly how much?

“Not enough!” laughed Cary. All the candy was gone in the blink of an eyeball, and the Ihmes resorted to pulling candy off their convenience store shelves.

The event was free, but donations were accepted for the Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital. $500 was collected to benefit the hospital.

The cabins were boo-tifully decorated with cauldrons, giant spiders, swamp creatures, skeletons, bats, gravestones, and flashing lights. (Campers could choose between “haunting” or “non-haunting” accommodations – all campers selected the plain vanilla cabins without adornment, and the decorated cabins were vacant.) The spooky trimmings were generously donated by Reinke Bros. Halloween store. Campground employee Erin Miller has family connections with the store.

Base Camp’s employees spent several hours decorating the cabins. Sherry Myer, Crystal Pritchard, Russ Coshow, Erin Miller, and Patti Hack were on hand to shell out the goodies and accept donations.

We’ll all breathlessly await next year’s campground candy caper!

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