It was the August 2019 WHNA board meeting at the Charlie Norr Community Center (lovingly dubbed (“The Charlie.”) Discussion as usual (or unusual) about important neighborhood matters was under way. Jolene Hall, a new board member asked, “Does Woodland Heights do anything for Halloween?”
It had been quite a while since neighbors organized a family event in the park for Halloween.
How about using The Charlie for a spooky maze?, she asked.
She had lots of décor … Halloween is her favorite holiday … hmmm, a safe, family-friendly event for our neighbors …
A budget was discussed, a motion was made, then a second, and the motion passed. An application was submitted to the Springfield-Greene County Park Board to use The Charlie for the event. Doug Schlottman from Community Partnership of the Ozarks went to Reed Academy’s new principal, Sara Strohm, with the idea of a collaboration, and planning for Woodland Heights’ first Fall Festival was soon under way.
Committee meetings were held at Katie Bolt-Goeke’s house with Janetta Tracy, Jolene, Doug and Reed’s Anje O’Donnell. Excited faculty, families and neighbors signed up to add a trunk or treat component. Neighborhood deejay Jason Gish found some music to spin, face painters prepared for a long line of faces to decorate and candy by the pound and hot dogs and buns were donated.
“This will be an awesome welcome for our new principal,” we thought.
Back at The Charlie, Jolene and her family taped out a design on the floor for the maze. A call went out to neighbors for 5-gallon buckets to borrow, and along came Larry Massey and Tom Wallis with them. Then, a trip to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore for supplies, guided by Kelsey Milholland, and the building began. Did we know it would be a wait-in-line-for-an-hour scary two-minute experience?! Uh, not really. We just hoped people would turn out for the event.
Reed Academy invited all their feeder school families. Postcards went to the 1,791 addresses in Woodland Heights. Social media sported a colorful poster designed by Linda Passeri. An estimated 800-1,000 came. It was a huge success!
Jolene’s design/build team included her husband David Hall; her father and mother Lloyd and Lynda Howell; Ty and Renae Howell, her nephew and niece; Milla and Natalie Hall, her daughters; Ryker Douglas, a friend; and missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Donations were provided by Mars Candy, Culver’s, Hill City Church, North Side Assembly of God Church, the Park Board, Air Services Heating and Cooling, The Dream Center, Greene County Freight, Jackson Brothers, Price Cutter, Fassnight Creek Farms, Commerce Bank, Hillcrest High School and Missouri State University.
Activities included trunk or treating, free hot dogs, chips and custard, music spun by Jason, making s’mores, a photo booth, face painting, costume giveaway, yard games, visiting the fire truck, Bikers Against Child Abuse, a local police officer and of course, the spooky maze!
This event was the successful venture of the Woodland Heights Neighborhood Association, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, and Reed Academy. This looks like it may become an annual event!