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Ghosts, goblins and other Halloween creatures of all shapes and sizes will appear at Mountain Elementary School to participate in a tradition than spans about 30 years: the Mountain School Halloween Carnival. The event will be from 5-8 p.m. Saturday and will include games, treats, scary adventures, prizes and a haunted house.
The carnival got its start around 1975, when Pat Knecht organized the first Halloween fundraiser. However, it really took off the next year when Knecht teamed up with Donald and Elaine Morris and other members of the community and school staff to organize the first full-scale event. Many Los Alamos businesses and organizations were active participants in those early years.
In addition, students, staff and industrious parents created many of the original games and activities. Many of these have been updated, but will still be in use at this year’s carnival. Look for the beanbag toss, the fortuneteller, the cakewalk and the haunted house, which is still set up on the stage of the gym.
Over the years, many other parents and teachers have heeded the Halloween call and have volunteered to coordinate or help with the event. In fact, Donald and Elaine’s daughter, Dawn Jalbert, who is currently a teacher at Mountain, was also a coordinator of the event for several years.
Keith Stevens is another volunteer that has been involved with the event since 2004.
“This is the first year I get to go back onto the ‘scare floor,’ ” Stevens said, explaining that for the past few years he collected tickets. “The Olions have helped for the past two years. They really get into it.”
Stevens said the Olions do a good job of running around on the “scare floor” and keeping it safe, while scaring the kids. He also said that there’s at least one adult supervising, as well. Accommodations are made for young children who are afraid to enter the haunted house.
“There’s lots of creepy stuff,” Stevens said, “but every half hour we turn the lights on and let the little kids go through. We also provide a flashlight service.”
Tickets will be sold at the door and can be used to play games. Children are encouraged to come in costume. Everyone is welcome. Proceeds from the Carnival are used by the PTA to fund field trips and grants to teachers for special classroom projects.