Harvest Hoopla offers haunting fun

Monday, October 18, 2004

Along with the Haunted Bates Motel, an all new spooky creation in the old building that once served as an office for Aurelia's actual Dr. Bates, the area community is planning a full day of Halloween fun for the annual Harvest Hoopla on October 30.

Events for the day include:

* 2-4 p.m. - The Little Spooks House of Fun - an unscary, unhaunted house for kids 5th grade and younger, in the Heritage Bank basement. There will be 12 all new fun-stations. Costumes are optional. Sponsored by the Friends of Aurelia. Admission is $3.

* 4:30 p.m. - Kids Costume Parade, starting at the city park. All kids and their parents are welcome, and kids get a free goodie bag. The Aurelia High School Marching Band will lead 80-100 kids expected for the parade!

* 5 p.m. - Coffin Races - Teams of six in this spooky competition over an obstacle course near the Haunted Bates Motel on Main Street. Cash prize of $60 to the winners.

* 5:30 p.m. - Winner Announcement for the Yard Decorating Contest, at the Haunted Bates Motel. Winner gets $50.

* 4 p.m. - Pumpkin Recipe Contest Judging. Prizes for most unusual, best appetizer, best main dish and best dessert. Join in the tasting! Entries must be at the Village Boutique by 4. Winners will be announced at 5:30 at the Haunted Bates Motel.

* 2 p.m. - Downtown Food Fair begins, with caramel apples, popcorn balls, and other treats. Hot dogs, taverns, coneys and other items will be served at the Community Center at 5:30.

Of course, the Haunted Bates Motel is always the star of the show. This year's haunted house is open for three nights only - Saturday, October 23 from 7-10 p.m., Saturday, October 30 for the Harvest Hoopla from 6-10 p.m., and Sunday, October 31, 6-8 p.m.

The entire direction of the hotel has been changed for this year, with volunteers drilling through a 14-inch wall to allow for a completely new layout running opposite to that of past years, and ending with the popular maze.

Among the new exhibits will be a haunted aquarium, according to project spokesperson Pam Allen. She isn't giving away many secrets, but says to "look out for Jaws..."

"It's a lot of work, but it's going to be really different and really fun," Allen said.

The attraction may be too intense for very young visitors. A modest admission fee is charged.

Aurelia is located 14 miles west of Storm Lake on Highway 7.

For information on the Aurelia holiday events, call 712-434-5371.