Not for the faint of heart: Adult Services’ Haunted Halloween

It was a Halloween like no other for Latham Centers’ Adult Services Program. Thanks to the program’s Assistant Director Ben Mundy, a gifted writer and master-of-the-spooky, we can all enjoy the creepy, hilarious experience: 

In these unprecedented times, one of the long-standing challenges for us as a program has been to find ways to maintain some sense of normalcy in the day-to-day. The question has been, “How do we keep COVID from stealing the joy of holidays and time together?” The staff in the Adult Program have prioritized this since the beginning of the pandemic and ‘stay-at-home’ procedures. Each day, the staff look for moments to share and opportunities to celebrate.

One such moment occurred over Halloween weekend. The Adult Service Managers team – with the incredible support of Kathy Van Esselstyn, Danielle Kinder, Therese Gallerani, and Mindy Uhlman – created the “Haunted Fire Museum of DOOM.  We also had special help from our own “Pumpkin King” who donated several decorations, ideas, and operated the “Butcher Station”!

Originally, we had planned a socially distant Halloween “walk” at the Fire Museum, where individuals could walk a short path and see various frightening stations. Mother Nature was not inclined to collaborate with our plans, so we adapted!  Gina Sheehan worked with maintenance, managers, and Kathy V. to adjust our plans so we could host the event indoors. We made sure that all the safety protocols were observed – all while scaring the wits out of our visitors! Every manager arrived at the Fire Museum to decorate stations, inflate balloons, and to help each other with costumes and make-up. We had vampires and ghoulish clowns; we had zombie nurses and wicked witches; we had a brutal butcher and skeletal hosts! Most notable of all, we had an amazing time working together! The sights and sounds were TERRIFYING! (You can see and hear them for yourselves – if you dare – in the video below).  It was as though we had our own Stephen King directing the production! 

As the light began to fade, the temperature dropped and the drizzle began to fall. Each house arrived separately, and as their cars pulled into the parking lot, one could hear shouts of “Places, everyone!” All of the performers would hustle back to their stations to reset for the next group. As the individuals arrived, they were guided up the stairs into the house of horrors.  While they walked through the various stations, their vehicle was loaded with special Halloween treats and pulled around to meet them at the end of the tour! 

All in all, the event was an immense success and fueled our collective imaginations for future similar events! Reports from staff and individuals have been glowing, and we could not be happier! 

Thank you to today’s blog writer Ben Mundy, Assistant Director of Adult Services!


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