Friday, October 29, was a windy day under dark, cloudy skies. A black crow sat on top of the roof at Artman. The warning signs were everywhere – UFO crash site.
Artman’s haunted house delighted residents with thrills, chills and squeals. Always a favorite, this event reminds us all that you never outgrow Halloween. Then again, who doesn’t love candy? And isn’t there a little part of us that wants to be scared?
As they entered the haunted house, residents were greeted by alien creatures. Traveling down a narrow corridor, hands grabbed at them from behind dark walls. Around every corner, they were frightened by creatures of all sorts.
Well, maybe they weren’t all that scared. After all, residents and staff created many of the aliens featured at this year’s event. Marie, a resident at Artman, was tickled to see her green glob, bulging-eyed alien in the haunted house.
As they emerged on the other side, residents could be heard saying: “That was fun! Let’s go through again,” or “I laughed and yet it was kind of scary, too.” Some singled out one team member dressed in character who never disappoints them at this annual event, saying, “James scared me twice, even though I knew it was him.”
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James, head of housekeeping, was in full character as an alien – his shrill laugh straight out of a horror movie. “I love being one of the characters in the haunted house,” he shares. “The residents really seem to enjoy it, and I love seeing their faces as they come through. We’ll talk about it for weeks afterwards.”
The afternoon culminated with special music selected specifically for Halloween, and performed by music therapist interns from Temple University. Residents loved singing along to familiar tunes like, “Monster Mash” and, “I Like Candy,” and bopping to the rhythmic melodies.
Volunteers, excited to be back at Artman, handed out candy and cookies, and took pictures of residents being “beamed up to the mother ship.” While many residents preferred chocolate, there were just as many who favored good old-fashioned candy corn (fun fact –candy corn was once called “chicken feed”).
Community Life Director, Madeleine, is already plotting next year’s haunted house. “Every year, we see new possibilities for engaging our residents in this fun activity,” she reflects. “The creativity of everyone involved, residents, staff and volunteers, never ceases to amaze me.”