The Bethany Family Apartments residents – parents and children alike – enjoyed a fall festival for the ages complete with boxes filled with scary things like monster intestines, a best Halloween door contest, apple bobbing contests, face painting, games of bean bag toss and bowling, and a hamburger and hot dog cookout.
The kids squealed with delight as they competed with one another in the bean bag toss or the bowling contests. Often times the older kids helped the little ones, showing them how to toss the bean bag or roll the ball. Then there was the scariness that lurked in the dark insides of the four boxes holding who knows what, including bats eyes and monster intestines (for the record the four boxes held: Wolf’s teeth, Mummy’s eyes, Witches’ heart, and Zombie’s intestines…yuck!!!). The prize for those courageous enough to try, a small bag of candy of their choice. For some of the wee little ones, their tiny hands surreptitiously grabbed candy while the adults in charge (including Isabella, teenage daughter of Susan Torres – who was the only adult to dress up – as a pirate!) watched those trying out the scary boxes.
Apple bobbing brought out the most competitive fire….and from the most unlikely corner as the beloved Housing Manager, Taryn Mahabir-Best, ruled the apple bob buckets across multiple rounds and made sure everyone knew it! It was all in good fun as adults faced off among themselves, kids among themselves, and then finally two more rounds of mixed adult-child contests with Ms. Mahabir-Best handicapped with multiple grapes instead of an apple, still prevailing! Director Tomi Steinruck and Bethany assistant and van driver, Rex Forrester, observed from a safe distance staying dry with the rest of us and playfully noted Taryn’s competitive personality! New case manager for the chronically homeless, Tim Deaton, wasn’t so luck, as he was “volunteered” for one round! For an eye-witness account of one of the contests watch here.
The kids and their parents got into the spirit with a contest for the residents with the best decorated Halloween-themed door. The doors ranged from downright spooky and dark, to traditional, bright, pumpkin-orange colored entry. The winning door from Apartment #7, belonged to the family of Holly Morris (our official face painter an apple bob contestant). Second place was the pumpkin-orange door of Alma Hill’s family (our little cheerleader, Sabrina). The two winners received special gift bags. Madison Edmonds won the prize for best pumpkin!
The rest of the day revolved around face painting, running around, and enjoying the staff-provided hamburgers and hot dogs with residents serving one another along with a delicious vegetable plate, chicken wings, baked beans, chips, and drinks. The parents helped out. Holly did the face painting. Val manned the food. Christina and others manned the scary box station while Rex was part of the best door committee!
Many of the residents have been at Bethany for months or longer, including Maria who is now the resident manager, responsible for assisting residents when the staff is off-duty. But some, including Christina, who hails from Minnesota and arrived at Bethany two weeks ago from Pasco Women’s Shelter after living in the New Port Richey area for many years. Some (not all) of the children deserve many thanks for their participation, including: Sabrina (who wore an adorable cheerleader outfit and was one of the darlings of the festival), Logan (awesome cat painted on his face), Keaton and Madison (who often took time out from their fun to help the younger kids), Haven, and MacKenzie (another feisty 2-year old toddler).
As the sun began to set on a glorious fall Florida day, everyone pitched in to clean up and put things away, and with that another successful Fall Festival was complete.
Nearly everyone departed with the same thought on their minds: “That was fun. I can’t wait ’til next years!”