It was a hauntingly happy time on Halloween at Rolling River Day Camp in East Rockaway as the facility hosted a Halloween Spooktacular event.
“When we found out that there was a possibility that Halloween may be cancelled in New York, we all agreed that we needed to be there for our children to get dressed up and give them a sense of normalcy, just like we did during the summer,” Camp Director Rhonda Goodman said, “. . . Our goal for this event was to provide a sense of community in a familiar atmosphere, normalcy during a unprecedented time and a safe haven for families and children to have fun in the tradition of trick-or-treating so that they did not need to expose themselves by visiting strangers door to door.”
The event encouraged attendees to have fun while practicing safety protocols and social distancing, and lasted from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Activities included a cross fit kids obstacle course, a temporary tattoos stand, a bracelet making station, a Halloween rubber ducky race, a horse corral, a photo booth, pumpkin decorating, a balloon artist, trick or treat bag decorating, spooky bikes and more.
“I participated in the event because it gave me a chance to see my campers again in a safe and fun way,” said voulunteer Judi Lisi, an Oceanside resident. “It felt good to be back at camp and it brought back such good memories of the summer. I was able to meet many of my campers’ parents in person for the first time since the summer restrictions prevented that connection.”
Attendees had to register for the event in advance, and it was only available for those who are enrolled in summer camp for 2021. Safety protocols included mask wearing, staggered times, a limit of no more than 25 children admitted in a one-hour time period and sanitizer stations being placed.
The festivities were a hit with many attendees, including Oceanside resident Ben Coffman. “The Halloween Spooktacular was a tremendous opportunity for my daughter to see her friends and campers from other schools in safe and fun environment,” he said. “It was great that the Rolling River staff made an unusual Halloween feel somewhat normal.”
Stephanie Gay, of Oceanside, said she felt secure while attending the event. “As always, we felt safe and comfortable at Rolling River for Halloween,” she said. “The staff made our children feel like it was a normal day of fun, sports and arts and crafts. My daughter had a phenomenal time.”
Susan Messenger, who also lives in Oceanside, said the staff created a safe and fun environment. “Our family had an amazing time participating in all of the fun stations, which also limited the number of attendees per station to allow for social distancing,” she said. “I’m thankful that Halloween was both special and memorable for my daughter.”