The Juneau Pioneers' Home was invaded Wednesday afternoon by elephants, killer bees, an escaped felon, cowgirls, tigers, Pokemon characters and a junior wizard.
The residents were prepared. Clayton Fleek, 75, was wearing a clown outfit complete with outsize red polka dot tie, shiny yellow shoes and a multi-colored fright wig.
The occasion was Trick or Treat Safety Street, a convening of home residents with kids and staff from local child-care centers. Kids came in costume, ready to trick or treat in the home's "neighborhoods." The event's aim was to stimulate the home's elderly residents while teaching safety tips to the children
Four girls attended from the Montessori school. Kaitlin Wilson, 4, was dressed as a Barbie doll bride. Emily Keithahn, 4, was a witch in black and orange. Sydney Woodbury-Davidson, 4, was sleekly feline in a black leotard with tiger tail and tiger ears. Classmate, Molly Tamone, 5, was Cinderella in a pouffy dress, lace headdress and glittery red pumps.
Dressed as Batman, Romney Tupou, 3, cuddled shyly in the lap of his father, Al. Romney claimed to be 4, "because that is his favorite number," Al Tupou said. "We always dress him up on Halloween, but this is his first time trick or treating here."
Kueni Maake, owner/director of ABC Central, escorted 20 preschoolers. "We used to come in the summer and at Christmas to sing, but this is the first time we have come for Halloween," Maake said.
Pioneers' home activity director Joyce Levine, "Handy" in a costume covered with felt hands, settled the kids down, leading them in "Twinkle, Twinkle" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
"I think it's very interesting," said resident Bunny Westfall, 90, costumed in a tall witch's hat and a turtleneck with patterned with ghosts, cats, witches and brooms.
Then Juneau police officer Kim Martin knelt on the carpet in the home's great hall.
"I'm excited that you kids are here today and trick or treating with grownups in a safe place," Martin said. She used signs and hand puppets to instruct the 40 preschoolers in Halloween
safety. Her main tips were:
Don't go trick or treating by yourself.
Don't touch or eat your candy until a grownup can look at it.
Always stop before you cross the road. Look both ways. And listen.
The kids practiced stopping, looking and listening. "You guys need to get this down before you get any older," Martin said. To emphasize her message, she distributed green wrist reflectors and junior police badges.
Levine reiterated Martin's lesson by reciting a rhyme, with moves to suit.
Activity aide Trudy Gruber was appointed to lead the kids into the four neighborhoods, but not before Levine had the last word, telling the kids that when she went trick or treating, she always said: "Trick or treat. Smell my feet. Give me something good to eat."
Dressed as a pumpkin patch, pioneers' home nurse Sandy Watson said the Safety Street activity, begun in 1996, was good for the 46 residents.
"They practice communication skills. They get to interact just as they did when they had their own homes. And they love to see the costumes. And they get to dress up and get extra attention," Watson said.
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