Fun and fright for all at Harvest Festival

Mrs. Linda Wanslow, as the wicked witch greeting children at the entrance of the Haunted House.

Everything from zombie softball players to Elsa and Anna from Disney’s “Frozen” converged on Luigi Aprea Elementary School during the annual Harvest Festival and Haunted House Oct. 18.
“This is the third year we have put on the Harvest Festival and Haunted House,” said Debbie Russell, Parent Club President.
Last year, the Harvest Festival profited approximately $5,500 and this year was no different, according to Geri Zerbini, co-chair of the event. There were also nearly 100 high school student volunteers earning community service hours for graduation.
Parents cheered on children playing carnival games inside the multi-purpose room, including archery, bean bag toss and lassoing a wooden cow. The newest addition to the annual event was the guided tour of the fun house behind the stage curtains in the multi-purpose room. Along with the typical fun house mirrors, brave patrons could put their hands into various boxes to feel things such as zombie hearts, witches fingers, bloody worms and cat eyes.
Faculty and staff participated in the boisterous atmosphere by volunteering at booths and wearing costumes, including Principal Richard Rodriguez, who dressed up as sock monkey.
On the basketball court, vendors sold blankets, jewelry and marshmallow guns among other things. There were gourmet food and dessert trucks along the fence line, a Scooby-Doo bounce house and a D.J. rocking some beats. Customers could also purchase a keychain at the Rainbow Bead Keychain booth made by Luigi Aprea fifth-grader Abigail Finucane, who is saving up to buy a skateboard.
Tiffany Hoiberg, sitting with her mother Jane Stevens and friend Loan Luu, volunteered at a booth as well.
“I am here to promote Girl Scouts in Gilroy and to welcome new registrants,” Hoiberg said.
A witch, also known as kindergarten teacher Linda Wanslow, greeted eager children at the front entrance of the haunted house and explained the reasoning behind the creation of it.
“We needed some money for a yard duty for our kindergarteners,” she said. “My favorite part of the haunted house is the kids. Some are a little scared and I try to teach them it’s all just pretend. I hope they see that it’s Mrs. Wanslow, not really a witch.”
Children slowly crept along the haunted house path, holding hands with friends, wondering what might pop out at them next. Tombstones reading “I told you I was sick” and “U.R. Next” in front of black coffins, the hall of lost souls and a spooky pirate ship with a mysterious fog surrounding it were all part of the haunted house at Luigi Aprea. And just when people thought they were safely out of the clutches of the haunted house, Michael Myers from the movie “Halloween” snuck up behind for one final scare.
Volunteers Liz Johanson and Daria Ogden were enthusiastic about the turnout.
“This is a great opportunity for the community to come together and show support for our school,” Ogden said.
“It’s becoming a tradition here in Gilroy,” Johanson added.

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