A little fall fun

Hy-Vee, Lake Shetek State Park provided activities for kids

Above: Many kids came to Hy-Vee Saturday afternoon to partake in the Halloween Party provided by the store. These trick-or-treaters are coloring fall and Halloween pictures while waiting to help decorate their own caramel apples. There was also miniature pumpkin decorating and storewide trick-or-treating.

AREA — With Halloween approaching and the crisp fall weather in the air, area children had a couple of opportunities to have a little fun this weekend, both outside and inside.

It was definitely the leaf pile at the Pumpkin Festival Saturday at Lake Shetek State Park that drew the most laughter from the kids who attended.

The huge trees in the state park on Lake Shetek made quite a contribution to the effort. Zuya Group members had raked a huge pile to accommodate the large attendance. The pile was knee-deep on the upper elementary children.

Hy-Vee in Marshall celebrated its Halloween Party on Saturday. Children were invited to trick-or-treat in every department in the store. The children were presented with a Hy-Vee tote as they entered the store in which to collect their treats.

In addition to the trick-or-treating, the costumed kids were invited to decorate miniature pumpkins, color fall and Halloween pictures and help decorate their own caramel apple.

Most of the activities at the Pumpkin Festival were outdoors. Several kids wrapped their arms around what appeared to be a half a bale of leaves and launched them into the air, sometimes at each other, which drew shrieks of joy.

Part of the fun of the leaf pile was that there were orange balls buried in the pile. Anyone finding one could turn it in for a small prize.

It had rained earlier in the day, and festival workers had to fluff up the leaves, hoping it wouldn’t ruin the event, but it didn’t stop the kids who played in the pile long after all the prize balls were found.

“The leaf pile is my favorite (station),” Hannah Engen, 12, of Minneapolis said.

It was her second time at the festival. She was found roasting a marshmallow for a s’more.

Next to the leaf pile, and hard to miss, was a flat wagon spilling over with a plethora of pumpkins. Each child was permitted to pick out a pumpkin, take it into the cafeteria area and decorate it. They could draw pictures on them or use felt peel-offs to stick on a face. Some made vampires while others made goofy faces or cat faces or ghosts.

The Williams family from Marshall were among those whose children wore costumes as they partook of the holiday fare at Hy-Vee.

Amare Williams, 5, was dressed as the Transformer known as Bumble Bee. His brother, Adam, 7, was also a Transformer, the leader Optimus Prime. Their younger sisters were also dressed up. Natalia, 1, was Minnie Mouse and Natanya, 2, was Peppa Pig. Other costumes included Cleopatra, queen of the Nile, Wonder Woman, Fire Dog, Batman, Superman and many others.

At the Pumpkin Festival, Brockton Sell, 1, of Slayton had to have his father, Jake, carry his pumpkin, which was nearly as big as he was. That didn’t stop Brockton from grinning and chortling his obvious pleasure at having his own pumpkin to decorate.

Alex Monson, 11, of Tracy, was at the festival for the fourth year in a row. He was pictured putting a vampire face on his pumpkin, although it wasn’t his favorite activity on the agenda.

“I like the bean bag throw the best,” Munson said.

Some of the younger kids, like Elliette Honetschlager, 2, of Marshall curled up with the scarecrow for a photo session at the Pumpkin Festival. She and others also enjoyed the hayrides that were running throughout the afternoon. There were two tractors with hayracks filled with people rolling around the park’s paths.

There was even a face painting station where Sheridan Meier, 6, of Rosemont had had a red heart painted on her cheek. Meier had been at the Pumpkin Festival last year, also, and said that she was looking forward to the hayride as well.

The group that really stood out at Hy-Vee, though, was Harry Potter and his Hogwarts friends.

Looking very much like their characters were Isaac Simon, 12, as Harry Potter; Michael Simon, 5, as Ron Weasley; Myla Wright, 8, as Hermione Granger; Emilia Simon, 7, as Ginny Weasley, and Everly Wright, 4, as Moaning Myrtle.

The Wrights are from Albert Lea and were visiting the Simons who live in Marshall. They were planning to watch a Harry Potter movie later.