A boo-tiful night: Annual Vampire Ball raises funds for Shepherdstown Community Club
SHEPHERDSTOWN — As costumed community members stepped into the War Memorial Building on Friday night, they were the first people in town to see the Haunted Hallway on the first floor of the building. Piping down from the second floor, live rock music could be heard being played by local band Koko Blue. And to the left of the entrance, tarot card reader Rachel Pierce was waiting to consult with those interested in hearing her predictions of their futures.
According to organizer Jenny Haynes, the ball was inspired by her mother’s first Halloween endeavor, the Haunted Hallway, which was originally opened out of her home’s hallway at 108 West German Street. When the Haunted Hallway grew so large it needed to be moved into the War Memorial Building, her mother, Judy Shepherd, realized all of the work deserved a little more time to be appreciated, than just during the two hours of Halloween night. Shepherd’s ideas inspired the development of BooFest, according to Haynes.
“It takes us a week to put it together. It’s just a little spooky, a little scary — no one’s jumping out at you,” Haynes said, mentioning that for many years now, the Haunted Hallway has been shown on four different days — Halloween, the night of the Vampire Ball and BooFest weekend.
“We crafted the Vampire Ball, to give adults a chance to see what we do and have fun,” Haynes said. “We kind of keep it simple — just the excitement that you can dress up and enjoy yourselves draws people every year. All of the proceeds go back into the community.”
The proceeds are donated to the Shepherdstown Community Club’s projects of maintaining the historic War Memorial Building and Morgan’s Grove Park, Haynes said. Jefferson Distributing donated a keg of beer to the ball, as it has done for many years, and Shepherdstown Farmers Market donated straw and cornstalks for decorating the building.
“I’ve been coming to this since the beginning. It’s kind of the kick-off for BooFest, the Vampire Ball,” said Town Recorder Lori Robertson, sporting a black mullet and gold hoop earrings.
As Robertson’s partner, Chris Crawford, drummed away with the other members of Koko Blue, Robertson walked across the dance floor to talk with the couple’s visiting friend.
“We have a friend here from India — he’s never seen this,” Robertson said. “Halloween’s not a custom that they do in India, so this is pretty fun for him.”
Her friend, Longceim Ingti, agreed, as he gazed around the room.
“It’s really interesting — I’m just observing it. I’m just intrigued,” Ingti said, mentioning this was his first visit to the U.S. “I’ve seen Halloween movies, but this is so interesting for me. Back in India where I come from, it’s a foreign concept.”