Happy Hauntings: 14th Annual Haunted Hallway for Children entertains community
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Judy Shepherd, of Shepherdstown, scooped a heaping spoonful of hot popcorn into a paper bag, handing it to Tyler Perry, as Perry and her sons exited the Haunted Hallway for Children at the Shepherdstown Community Club on Saturday afternoon.
Although the weekend’s dreary weather forced the Shepherdstown Visitors Center’s BooFest Committee to cancel some outdoor events, the show went on, with a steady stream of visitors walking in to view Shepherds spooky displays.
“This is our first time at BooFest. We live in Shenandoah Junction, so it’s our hometown area. We’re trying to enjoy hometown fun for the holidays. We’re going to try to go to all the events today,” Perry said, mentioning even her four-year-old son was comfortable looking closely at the event’s exhibits. “They weren’t scared — they love Halloween and scary stuff. It’s mild enough for them to enjoy it, but at the same time spooky enough for Halloween.”
Shepherd, who was dressed from head-to-toe in a black witch’s costume, said having a family-friend event has been her goal since she and her three children founded the annual event 14 years ago, in honor of Shepherd’s late husband.
“We always do it on the Saturday before Halloween and on Halloween — people come back year after year, because they like to see what we do new,” Shepherd said, mentioning the family purchases one new item every year to add to the hallway — this year’s addition was a witch reading a book, in honor of the event’s host, the Shepherdstown Community Club, and the club’s annual Legendary Book Sale.
“It’s just a thank you to the community from my family and the Shepherdstown Community Club,” Shepherd said. “We hope this will encourage people to get involved in the Shepherdstown Community Club.”
Shepherd’s grandson, Jefferson High School freshman Devin Jackson, kept busy patrolling the hallway, to make sure no visitors touched the decorations. According to Jackson, he doesn’t mind volunteering his time to help with the event, because some displays have been ruined in previous years when the hallway was unmonitored.
“I’ve been helping with this for a long time,” Jackson said. “It’s a family thing — I love all of it. It’s just the helping that matters.”
According to Mike Pratt, of Shepherdstown, bringing his four grandsons — dressed as fire fighters, military personnel and panda bears — to enjoy the Haunted Hallway and BooFest’s other events has become a family tradition.
“It’s one’s first time at BooFest, but these other three guys have been already,” Pratt said, as he stood outside of the building after walking the hallway with them. “Somebody liked the rat in the pumpkin, which was really good, along with the witch reading a book.”
His six-year-old grandson, Patrick McConnell, piped up at hearing this, to describe his favorite thing in the hallway.
“Mine was the bloody knives,” McConnell said.