PORTER | “Disgusting!” “Gross!” came the cries of little girls dressed up as princesses and zombies as they ran from the exit door of the haunted kitchen at the Hawthorne Park Community Center during Sunday afternoon’s annual Boo Bash.
Inside the kitchen, they were treated — or tricked — to touch slimy brains, eyeballs and hearts, which were really grapes and spaghetti.
Throughout the rest of the event, children and families enjoyed games, costume contests, donut decorating, apples and hot chocolate, and even a haunted ambulance outside complete with dummy on a stretcher clad in cobwebs.
“It’s all about community,” said Brian Bugajski, director of parks for the town of Porter. “All of the activities here today are free thanks to donations and our volunteers. There are people in this community who really care and the parks department is the conduit to connect those people.”
Babies dressed like dinosaurs and sharks, toddlers in Angry Birds and pumpkin costumes, and youngsters who transformed into ninjas, pirates, Buzz Lightyear, Frankenstein, skeletons, Mona Lisa — and even a salad — came to enjoy the festivities.
“It was my mom’s idea,” said Jocelynn Ponce, 11, of Chesterton, who dressed as a salad, complete with green tissue paper lettuce, a giant silver fork, and a bottle of “Porter Valley Ranch dressing.”
"But I helped to cut out the circles for hard boiled eggs and colored the strips of carrots," she said. "I like salad, and I like my costume. I think it’s funny.”
Rondi Wightman, former park board president, helped to organize the entire event and said about 200 people attended this year, the same as in the past five years.
Porter Clerk-Treasurer Carol Pomeroy said the day was truly about community.
“It’s always exciting to see the families and kids getting together and having a good time,” Pomeroy said.