Being Bob Ross

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Wednesday began busy with the fun of our co-op’s Halloween party and ended on the same busy note with “Trick or Treating for Seniors.”

Every year around Halloween our church participates in a special service project…”trick or treat for seniors.” In essence we create a trick or treating experience for the patients at a local nursing home.  We do this by “building” a Halloween village in the recreation hall of the nursing home. Preparation for this evening begins weeks before the actual event as organizations and families from church begin brainstorming to come up with ideas for their “house.” We then drive to a local furniture store where we pick up a pile of large cardboard boxes which are left in the gym closet for people to come and collect for their Halloween creations. It is then a few day or a few weeks (depending on the box) of cutting, taping, and painting to create the Halloween boxes. As you will see in the pictures, some people go all out with their creations! On the evening of the activity families arrive early to begin setting up their boxes. At 7:00 the actual trick or treating begins as volunteers wheel the patients around our village and we hand out treats like candy, crackers, cookies and applesauce. The senior citizens enjoy seeing the boxes and the children handing out treats. At the end of the evening the nursing home thanks us with the treat of cookies and juice. It is a really neat event and a lot of fun for everyone involved.

When we arrived home from co-op we had just a little bit of time before we had to head over to the nursing home so we began getting ready after we put away our backpacks and lunch boxes.

Dinner was quickly prepared. It was Gracie’s dinner night so she started dinner, Chicken Italiano, while I put the finishing touches on costumes.

This was the first year that all of the kids were manning boxes created by their youth groups. Gracie and Molly were handing out treats with the Young Women. Rusty was running a box with the Young Men and Ozzie and Tyler were with the cub scouts so Toby and I were on our own. We decided to do a couple costume.

Both of us tapped into our early childhood memories of PBS programing and decided to be Bob Ross and his happy little tree.

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The girls dressed as Native American Indians to hand out treats at their Teepee.

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The cub scouts made a tombstone that read, “Here lies ‘The Guy.'”

They thought they were very funny. 🙂

My cubs.

My cubs.

The young men made an outhouse, complete with a toilet inside, that served as the treat bucket. One patient found it particularly funny when the boys reached in the toilet and pulled out a treat.

The Young Men's box.

The Young Men’s box.

Laughing hard :)

Laughing hard 🙂

All the boxes were very creative. Here is a look at some of the other “village” houses.

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The Nelson Ninjas!

The Nelson Ninjas!

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This activity is one of those annual traditions that I look forward to with a mix of emotions. It is a labor intensive service project that always leaves us wondering whether it is worth all the effort. But then we show up, spend a fun night with all of our friends from church, and see the joy it brings the residents  and we are reminded why we keep coming back.

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Bob Ross making friends 🙂

“As we lose ourselves in the service of others we discover our own lives and our own happiness.” – Uchtdorf

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