Friday, November 4, 2016

2016 Halloween adventure was scary fun - By Stephen Signor

Windham Parks and Recreation and the Windham Public Library held the first ever truck or treat contest on Saturday, just after the Windham Primary School . As the theme and main event put on by the Windham Parks and Recreation department implied, those interested in participating decorated their trunk or rear of an SUV in a Halloween theme. Prior, during, and after the judging, treats were available from the rear of the vehicles. 

“This event was a far cry and improvement from last year’s adventure which featured hunting for candy in the dark with flashlights,” said Randi Benish, one of the entries. When darkness prevailed the rear end of vehicles lit up with a variety of flashing lights, luminescent balloons and even a bubble making machine. It was obvious there was no limit placed on the creativity.   

In all there were nine entries with three winners. One of the winners was the Warren family. 

Their theme was not only unique, it was mostly improvisation. Their undersea display, which won most creative, included balloons to mimic air bubbles, incorporated an electric bubble making machine and a handmade jellyfish fashioned out of an umbrella frame, bubble wrap, lights and packing tape. 

“We just wanted to do something fun and really creative. The kids loved the bubbles and balloons so we went with it,” said Sally Warren.

Clearly everyone else had just as much fun. All of the contestants displayed a unique and creative quality making the judging extremely challenging. When it was over the kids reaped the benefits by filling their Halloween containers with goodies from the trunks.

There was more going on than just Trunk-or-Treat, however. An announcement could be heard in the darkness. “There other fun things to do inside after the Trunk-or-Treat, said parks and recreation director Linda Brooks using a megaphone. There’s a table in the gym for registering your costume for the contest,” continued Brooks. There was also a haunted house inside that began on the second floor of the gym where long lines formed all evening.

Entertainment was provided by Flamin’ Raymin and Sizzlin’ Suzzin high energy DJ’s. They have been pleasing crowds and providing unprecedented entertainment for 22 years. “We started out as line dance instructors and still are. But we evolved more as entertainers.” Doing nearly 200 shows a year has kept them busy, especially in the summer months. With numerous environments it’s always different. 

“We try to fit what we do to the crowd or if there is a theme we stick to that and decorate accordingly. During the summer months we do a lot of resorts. We have been performing at Point Sebago for 22 years,” shared Susan Hall, the Susan in Suzzin and controller of the tunes.  

“The town has done a great job with this. I’m impressed. I think Windham did a really good job of getting it going. I think it will only continue to grow,” she added.

The other half, Raymond Dupuis, had the duty of keeping the crowd, especially the kids, entertained. Dressed up as a pirate, he held the audience captive with his swashbuckling mannerisms. When it came to dancing, all ages enjoyed the lessons in choreographic elements of such Halloween favorites as Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Tunes also included other favorites like Bobby Pickett’s MonsterMash.
Meanwhile, the best costumes were chosen. Judging was done by Mrs. Maine 2017 Betsy Benish, Sherma Moody, Jennie Butler and volunteer Selena Pelletier. There were numerous visually appealing outfits and several age groups eligible to win making judging very challenging. “Among other things we are looking for the scariest, detail, originality and overall appearance. Some very original costumes are out there,” said Benish. Even Donald Trump made an appearance.

When the finale the kids were waiting for arrived, they were ready. The costume contest winners were announced.  Tina Bean was given the most original title and Elizabeth Benning was most authentic dressed as a cat. 

Although this event was scheduled until 9 p.m., the majority of the crowd made a mass exodus immediately after the judging of the contest, but everyone agrees they had a great time.

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