Plans were percolating months ago for a Halloween Festival on Isles of Capri, but like most of the planned events before COVID-19, plans needed to be modified, postponed or canceled altogether. For example, the Community Center used to hold monthly informative meetings, had yoga, Mahjong, Bridge and many other special events such as an Ice Cream Social, Bingo nights, Saint Patrick’s Day pub crawl, Holiday golf cart parade and more. Most of those are still up-in-the-air at this point.
So, based on health concerns, Halloween plans for the kids this year needed to be tweaked so participants could be outside and whether masked or not, be able to keep a safe distance from others. President Joyce Beatty of the Capri Community, Inc. and many other “party-planners,” including Board members and spouses, residents and members of the Capri Christian Church, swapped ideas and safety protocols and decided they could implement their combined ideas with little chance of acquiring the virus. Thus, the idea of a Halloween Scavenger Hunt was born, and other movers and shakers went into action.
Ideas came as fast as a Florida deluge and the planners elaborated on the ideas or “piggybacked” on them to incorporate physical agility along with following the clues to the surprises, scares and sweets along the way. The “hunt” was narrowed to four parallel streets, with a sidewalk that led to each, another safety precaution.
Donations of candy were requested via the Coconut Tele, the members’ newsletter published by Ann Hall with contributions from others. Soon, chocolate and sugary delights poured into the Community Center. The next step was putting a selection of candy into small plastic bags so the kids could pick up a bag without handling the individual pieces. On those tables were gloves and sanitizer as another layer of safety. Honestly, those table decorations and the creativity that went into them was impressive. There were also vignettes set up in different places that were surprises along the routes to the sweet rewards,
There was a long length of tables at the registration area outside the Capri Christian Church. Church members, Capri residents and Board members helped both boys and girls put their name on tickets placed in separate jars to be drawn later for a meal at the Island Gypsy—thanks, Island Gypsy! Children picked up colorful, skeleton–decorated trick-or-treat bags to stash their candy in after they perused the GIANT Treasure Map, artistically created to reveal all the sites they should visit. Argh!
Planners also created a set of directions on officially aged “parchment” so parents and children could find their way step by step with such clues as, “Carefully cross back over the trail and enter the gravel graveyard. Beware as you near the tombstones of Pirates of the Past. There is even a kettle filled with some of their bones. Grab another grub bag hidden near, you will need it for your journey.”
I couldn’t resist taking photos of the clever props that were on the tables and the zombie at the Pumpkin Patch. There were engaged parents, grandparents and children everywhere, smiling and having fun. One of the stops included several movement activities, such as stepping in and out of rings, searching a “pond” full of plastic colored balls for a hidden alligator, going through an obstacle course then under a waterfall and then walking the plank. Argh!
It seemed the throng of costumed characters were everywhere as they headed off to solve the mysteries. These included a superhero, ninja, cowgirl, scuba diver, fireman, a mini-fairy, militia boy, dinosaur, policeman, unicorn rider, Elsa, skeleton, robot, farmer, “dead” zombie, race car driver, fairy princess, a cube and too many more to name. At each “station,” they followed the directions and received candy, tattoos, or at the last stop, the gazebo structure in front of the church, they could choose an “active” prize, such as a bat and ball, a racquet and ball, bubble-making solutions and more. As they rounded the corner back to where they started, I was so impressed by the care and safety issues that had been addressed to make this an outstanding event for young and older.
I overheard lots of conversations about Trick-or-Treating later tonight and where they would go, but I have a feeling that there were many participants that may still be napping after all the fun and activity in the sun and sampling their booty. On the other hand, for this night that comes once a year, is there such a thing as too much candy?