Chloe Hanigan – Sugar Beet staff reporter
Halloween is still days away, but that doesn’t matter to the Friends of Lee Richardson Zoo. They hosted their annual Boo at the Zoo fundraiser last Saturday, Oct. 21. from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Hundreds of kids dawned their costume ten days early and lined up with their parents to attend. Dressed as everything from princesses to super heroes, they journeyed through the zoo, where local groups set up booths to hand out candy and raise awareness for their organizations.
Garden City High School’s HALO club was one of these groups.
“I love to see all the little kids in their costumes, but my favorite part of Boo at the Zoo is dressing up myself,” Abby Castanon, a trade and health academy senior and HALO member, said. “I just love Halloween.”
Other volunteers agreed that the children were the best part of the event.
“It’s great to see kids of all ages get excited,” Nancy Colocho, a volunteer from the Kansas Children’s Service League, said. “The event always draws a big crowd and it’s nice to see people having fun with their families.”
In fact, the crowds at Boo in the Zoo have in the past numbered around 3,000.
“People like Boo at the Zoo because it gives everyone a safe way to trick or treat,” Whitney Buchman, the event coordinator, said. “A lot of people don’t necessarily like to go all over town, especially with little ones, so this way they can be someplace safe and be done in an hour or so.”
In total, there were 37 treat stops at Boo at the Zoo this year. In addition to the candy, there were haunted houses and halloween-themed snacks. Guests could also purchase a ticket on the “Hogwarts Express” to visit the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” for $5.
The fundraiser, which is in it’s 23rd year, raises money for various projects at Lee Richardson Zoo. This year, the proceeds were put towards a new primate exhibit.
“We want to build a new enclosure for the lemurs and spider monkeys,” Buchman said. “Ours was built in the 80s and we’ve learned better ways to do things since then.”
Tickets for Boo at the Zoo were $5 in advance or $10 at the gate.
Chloe Hanigan is a trade and health academy junior. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.