By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN There is excitement in the air at Holy Trinity School as students await the sixth annual Halloween Bash Friday, Oct. 29.
As in previous years, the bash begins with a food drive for the McLeod County Food Shelf. After the food has been collected and weighed in at the school, students can celebrate the holiday with several fun activities in the school gym.
New this year is a spook house, giant tricycle races, and a costume dance, in addition to the other traditional games and inflatable challenges offered to the students in the past.
The food drive, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., will have approximately 14 groups of Holy Trinity fifth through 12th grade students knocking at the door of homes throughout the city of Winsted and in the neighborhoods in Lester Prairie, along McLeod County Road 9, asking for donations for the food shelf.
After the food has been collected, students will meet back at Holy Trinity School to get their food weighed in and the winning team will get free pizza and pop that night.
For the last two years, in just an hour-and-a-half, students have brought in close to 3,000 pounds of food.
The food donations are desperately needed, according to Marietta Neumann, supervisor of the McLeod County Food Shelf.
“We are in need of anything, everything,” Neumann said. “Basic foods, paper products, personal care products, and school snacks. I am using my reserve funds to buy everything right now.”
In September, the food shelf gave out 27,000 pounds of food and served 300 households.
“I have never seen the shelves so empty,” Neumann said.
Items to be donated should be, “Anything you would want yourself, if you had to use the food shelf,” Neumann said.
The Halloween Bash has been something that has helped Neumann every year since it began, and it is something that she counts on to help her until other fundraisers in the county start to bring in donations, usually around Thanksgiving time.
Besides the Halloween Bash, Neumann said the school is always coming up with ways to help stock the shelves at the food shelf.
“Not as big as the Halloween Bash,” she said, “but something throughout the year, like their Thanksgiving drive and the National Honor Society food drives.
Food donations can also be dropped off at Holy Trinity School this week during regular school hours for anyone who will not be home on Friday evening and still would like to make a contribution.
Monetary donations should be made by check to the McLeod County Food Shelf. Every $1 donated is equivalent to one pound of food.
Elaine Kahle, head of Holy Trinity Campus Ministry, was the one who came up with the idea of the Halloween Bash combining a service project with a celebration.
“We are celebrating our faith by being of service to the community, and coming together and celebrating that in a fun and safe event,” Kahle said.
For Kahle, the Halloween Bash provides “that little voice that says, ‘Nice job. You did something good for somebody else.’”
She hopes that, in turn, the kids will be able to remember that feeling and they will go out and do something similar on their own, which will encourage others to do their part a kind of pay-it-forward mentality, Kahle said.
Kahle attributes the success of the event to all of the support she gets from the many chaperones and volunteers who help throughout the evening. Because of all of the activities that are included in the evening, it requires help from about 25 to 30 individuals.
Beginning at 8 p.m., the doors to the gym will be open, providing several activities for Holy Trinity parish and school students in fifth through 12th grades. Other students can attend if they come as a guest of someone from Holy Trinity.
Some of the fun activities planned for the night are jousting with padded paddles and inflated ring, Dance Revolution, Texas hold ‘em, bean bags, a 65-foot obstacle course, and giant tricycle races.
The new spook house Kahle calls a work in progress. The committee in charge of making it spooky will evaluate what works this year and what didn’t and improve on the project for next year.
All of the activities in the gym area will close at 10:30 p.m.
A dance for 7th through 12th grades will be from 8 p.m. until midnight, and take place in the stage area. Costumes are encouraged.