With an ample supply of creativity and teamwork, the Caledonia High School Student Council and classmates made Fright Night Haunted Forest fundraiser a monster success. The annual event benefits families struggling to make ends meet.
Held at the mouth of the woods in the back of the high school, the 80-member Student Council planned and constructed spooky scenes for the Oct. 30 Fright Night. Other Student Council students wore costumes that transformed them into “scarers” — creatures who unexpectedly jumped in front of patrons who paid $5 each to walk through the forest’s floodlit trail. All proceeds were donated to the Dutton Community Food Pantry, a local charity serving students and families living in the Caledonia district.
“The pantry is for families in less than a great situation who can’t really help themselves,” said Caleb Sleeman, 17, a senior who is a member of the Student Council.
“We want to keep the benefiting charity local. It’s more personal,” said Lexi Bush, 17 a senior who is also a member of the Student Council.
Truly a Team Effort
The Student Council develops and coordinates the lion’s share of Fright Night, but it relies on other students as well to make Fright Night scary fun, said chemistry teacher and Student Council adviser Kevin Remenap. Caledonia High School’s Student Council is an elective class that teaches students team-building skills, some of which is gained by planning and executing all the details events require, such as the homecoming parade, pep assembly and Fright Night.
The school’s National Art Honors Society decorated Fright Night scenes; kids from 3-D art classes made promotional flyers. Seeds from the pumpkins were then baked by food science students and sold by journalism students at the three-and-a-half-hour Fright Night.
Overseeing Fright Night’s details provides students with practical experience in developing, building and coordinating a large event. They learn to work toward a common goal, discover valuable ways to work with others and troubleshoot inevitable problems.
“We have three weeks of planning Fright Night,” said Lexi. “That involves deciding which scenes we’re going to put in the woods, how much material to build the sets we need, and deciding who’s going to put the scenes together and decorate them. Everyone has their own job. Everyone knows what they’re doing.”
More Plastic, Please!
Much of Fright Night’s trail is lined with large sheets of black plastic that serves as “walls” so costumed monsters can jump out from behind it. The rolls of plastic are effective in enabling the monsters and gremlins to jump out at the right moment, but it can present its own challenges if it runs in short supply.
“It always seems like we don’t have enough plastic,” said Caleb. “Plastic is vital to this event.”
And to a degree, that’s the point of Fright Night.
“The students gain some real-life skills: working with others, working with adults, working towards a common goal and dealing with problems as they arise,” said Remenap.