Families get into Halloween spirit at Brown School Monster Mash

Families lined up down the block to get into the Brown School’s Monster Mash celebration on Friday evening, where all kinds of haunted happenings awaited them. Some of the favorites this year? Fortune tellers, a petting zoo with goats and rabbits, spooky-themed games, a haunted house and, best of all, the dunk tank where kids took turns soaking Principal Mary Maxfield and others.

“This is my favorite,” said 6-year-old Winnie Gallagher, dressed as an arctic fox and trying to eat a donut off a string without using her hands. “I also liked the corn maze.”

The Monster Mash dates back 20 years, when it started at the Coffin School. This is its third year at Brown and it is more popular than ever. Last year, more than 1,200 people came out.

“This is a core memory for these kids,” said mom and organizer Kate Schmeckpeper. “We’re trying to create new traditions and include beloved things from the past.” The event is run entirely by volunteers.

“My kids love it,” said Karla Strobel, another volunteer. “It’s their favorite event of the year.”

In addition to parents, older students from the Veterans School and the high school volunteer at the event. Mona Gelfgatt and Caroline Jones rubbing a crystal ball and telling fortunes. Gelfgatt remembers coming to Monster Mashes at the Coffin when she was a little girl. This year, she was making memories with the next generation.

Jones said she was reading the future for some kids by saying, “You’re going to get 100 candy bars.”

Hannah Bulger, 7, liked her fortune, that she would meet a prince and a princess.

Then, she ended her interview abruptly when she saw teacher Ms. Sheppard and Dot, a food service worker, lining up to climb into the dunk tank.

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Editor Leigh Blander is an experienced TV, radio and print journalist who has written hundreds of stories for local newspapers, including the Marblehead Reporter.

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