Of all the ghosts and ghouls roaming around Halloween night, the ones having the most fun may have been trick-or-treating through the haunted hallways of Riverhead High School.
The Riverhead High School Key Club transformed the building into the school’s spooktacular “Safe Halloween” event, where hundreds of parents and young children played games, made arts and crafts, got candy from classrooms and tested their bravery in a scary hallway of terror.
Children had the chance to pick pumpkins, weave through a stringy web for candy and play ring toss and bowling games for prizes in the school cafeteria.
While students decorated, Key Club advisor and high school teacher Lawrence Mandresh asked them to stop at one point and look around at what they had accomplished.
“You guys — you made a memory,” he said.
In an interview, Mr. Mandresh said he was proud of his students who came up with the idea.
“They did it phenomenally,” he added. “The Riverhead community deserves this. Hopefully, this is the first of many to come.”
Safe Halloween was created over the summer, said Key Club treasurer Shannon Zeltman, who helped coordinate Monday’s event while dressed in a witch’s costume.
It was the Key Club’s biggest success so far, added Key Club president Sarah Brennan, who noted the group — an offshoot of the Kiwanis civic organization — included a fresh group of volunteers.
“I couldn’t sleep last night,” she said. “We came in at 2 p.m. and pulled it all together.
“I’m super excited,” she added while smiling at the trick-or-treaters.
Other school clubs, like the district’s Interact Club and NJROTC, also volunteered at Safe Halloween.
“It’s awesome to have the other clubs’ help,” said Catherine Farell, the Key Club’s secretary.
In addition to the Key Club’s efforts, the school’s special education class held a bake sale, the photography club organized a photo op with a hay bale, and the school’s jazz band played Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Shaunice Faines, the mother of a Phillips Avenue Elementary School student who was trick-or-treating at the event, described Safe Halloween as a “great idea.”
“It’s safer than going trick-or-treating with strangers,” she said.
Joy Flynn, a volunteer with the North Fork Spanish Apostolate, took five young children around the halls of the school for candy and prizes called the event “fabulous.”
“It couldn’t be better,” she said.
Top photo: Shelby, 11, and her brother, Liam, 7, crawl under a web to find candy at Riverhead High School Key Club’s Safe Halloween event Monday night. (Credit: Paul Squire)