Halloween’s coming early for kids in Elmira.
EDSS Drama teacher DJ Carroll, the Elmira BIA, and high school drama students have joined forces to create Halloween Haunt, a tour of downtown Elmira where kids will stop at different businesses for treats while the drama students put on an interactive story along the way.
“Our theme is Once Upon a Time, so basically the storybooks have all exploded and the characters are out in the town,” Carroll said. “The heroes are trying to get the villains back inside the books. The kids will help them at all the different stations where they’re going to get a prize and they bring it back to the band stand [gazebo at Gore Park], that’s our headquarters. And if all the prizes get brought back then all the villains are going to get put back in the book.”
The idea came from FB and Me owner Tami Runstedler. She approached Carroll about putting together an event because she knew how fond Carroll is of the holiday. He said she also wanted to get as many young kids involved as possible, so they started brainstorming in the spring and this weekend the hard work will come to fruition.
“There are about 13 or 14 businesses so we’re going to do this big loop. It will probably take kids about half an hour to do which is pretty cool,” Carroll said.
Kids can expect all kinds of storybook creatures like trolls and princesses to make an appearance. There’s no maximum number of kids who can participate. They’ll be divided into groups of eight to 10 for the tour, Carroll says, but he’s not sure how many to expect since it’s the inaugural year.
About 25 students from EDSS are helping out.
“We are starting to do some costuming this week and then they’re assigned their characters and roles. A lot of it will be improvised because we can’t really rehearse a full town thing,” Carroll said.
Carroll will also be hosting a haunted house on Halloween as he’s done in previous years. As for the Halloween Haunt, he’s hoping it will connect the community in a new way.
“Number one I think it’s important for young kids to see that the town is alive. I think it’s important for people in general to see the businesses in our town are involved in the community. I think it’s great for people to see that teenagers are willing to give back with their time and energy. And I think most importantly it’s about having fun,” Carroll said.
The event runs from 10-2 on Oct. 24 (Saturday). Participation is free and everyone is asked to meet at the gazebo in Gore Park.