Mrs. Behland (left) checks out the costume of Emma ...
November 04, 2013
With rainy weather threatening to dampen their evening trick-or-treating plans, the students of Mokena Intermediate School on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 31, made the most of their school's yearly tradition of hosting a Halloween costume parade, haunting the hallways with a colorful array of creepy, creative and humorous get ups.
It appeared every one of the building's 350 fourth- and fifth-graders participated, and most teachers got in on the act as well. The ingenuity on display — coming in the form of zippered foreheads, elaborate face paint and attire featuring electronic displays and inflating fans — astonished many of the adults.
"It always amazes me the energy and effort kids and parents put into this venture every year," said reading teacher Maureen McDonough, who wore a black-and-lime-green witches hat. "I don't know how early the parents woke up to do it."
Another teacher responded, mentioning some students were already yawning, saying they had woken up by 6 a.m. to begin preparing their ghoulish garb.
Organized by student council, the event began with each classroom electing three of its members to compete in the school-touring parade, during which teachers briefly exited their rooms and surveyed the scene, selecting a scariest, funniest and most creative costume-wearer or his or her choice. Prizes and pride were at stake, meaning the children, each holding a numbered card to expedite the voting process, flocked to the ballot casters, boasting the merits of their costumes and shouting, "pick me, pick me."
But some costumes just stood out.
There was Napoleon Dynamite, several grim reapers, a cast member of "Duck Dynasty," football stars and a harmonica-blowing hobo. One scariest category contestant had an iPod tucked in a hole in his skeleton-bone gut playing video of slithering snakes and other scary scenes.
"This is way too hard to vote," said Mari Jo Hanson, the Mokena Junior High School assistant principal who has been covering administrative duties at MIS in the absence of Principal Eric Melnyczenko, who is on leave. "You guys are scaring me."
Caden Leonard, a fifth-grader, took the comedic route with his grandmother costume, wearing a bathrobe, slippers, an antique-looking string of beads and gray-haired wig.
"I just felt like being a funny person," he said.
Emma Connors, a fourth-grader, was dressed as a Minion from the popular Universal Pictures flick "Despicable Me."
"I just really think they're kind of cute," she said, explaining her choice.
Seeing everyone enthused and in costume seemed to have an uplifting effect on all involved, young and old. The teachers, it seemed, were having just as much fun.
Upon seeing a fellow adult dressed as a banana, social studies teacher Steve Roberts — an orange-vest-wearing construction worker for the day — said sarcastically, "Why didn't you dress up?"
To continue reading and view more photos, login or sign up for Hometown Advantage: