Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dream Halloween... What a Wonderful Experience!

Wow. That's all I can truly say, but I will try to add more. Wow. It was amazing.

I don't know what I expected for sure, but it was completely different. :)
Just the thought and preparation and time that went into this one evening was amazing. I know it was a benefit and that it's purpose was to raise money for CAAF, but being able to experience it was such a gift. I saw a number of families who were there as "guests," (as we were distinguishable by our orange "credentials"), who seemed to just take for granted all they were being given. I could tell many of them had been there previously as they brought metal "carts" to haul all their stuff, or got tables right away so that they had a place to roost when not taking in attractions and when they were eating.

I was constantly in awe. There were craft tables, huge, long craft tables for kids and beyond these, against the wall were boxes and boxes of extra craft supplies so that they would not run out. I can't imagine they used all of them, there were so many. And the trick or treat areas, little "houses" the kids went around and had their credentials punched for each one, looking inside there were piles to the ceiling of the gifts they were receiving. Amazing.

Anyway, upon entering the evening, each child was given a huge decorator pillowcase to fill with stuff, and their own halloween disposable camera for the evening. I let Olivia trick or treat first as she was so excited about it. We went to 2 of the 3 areas and she got some really neat things. A Dora wheeled luggage bag that is a yellow car with the characters in it and the lights in front light up and it beeps, a Scooby Doo scrapbook kit, hair things, an American Girl hardback book, a poster kit, a coloring book, and a necklace and bracelet set. Then we went to an area with Eli's Cheesecake! They had mini cheesecakes and these long tables at kids' height with bowls of real whip cream, choc chips, gum drops, candy corn, etc to put on top of them. We went through one side of the room on the way there that was restaurant after restaurant of food you could eat. We got Ziti and bread from Maggiano's and then ate at Eli's area because, like I said, the tables were gone. We then went to the third trick or treat area and she got a Barbie toy phone, and two other things.

The remainder of the evening we wandered from place to place. There was a large stage at the front that had rotating entertainment, which repeated once through the evening. There was the huge craft area, where Olivia made a candy bracelet with licorice rope and candy, and a magnetic bat (there were 3-4 other crafts we didn't get to). There was a retro type carnival game area (no prizes, just fun) which she loved to play. There was face painting and stick on tattoos. There were many characters, some she had no clue about: Popeye and Olive Oyl, Geoffrey, many clowns, the penguin from the surf movie, Tweety, Sylvester, Bugs Bunny, etc. There was another line down the other side of the room of other restaurants. We ate here later and had CA Pizza Kitchen. There was a beverage area. There were TONS of volunteers helping with everything. A bunch of them had the job of carrying around polaroid cameras and cardboard frames which had been decorated with halloween stickers and a sticker saying Dream Halloween 2207, etc. They would take pics and hand them out along with the frame, so cool. We got 3 of them. One of the two of us at the Eli's tables, one of Olivia and Barbie :), and one of Olivia and the penguin (name?). A silent auction took up a part of the middle. As far as entertainment, we saw part of Bitty Bear's matinee from American Girl, Barney, a couple really good dance groups, one Irish dancers, one contemporary, and the live auction. This was when Melina K from CSI NY came out and hosted. They had prizes like a trip to LA to see CSI, a trip to Shanghi, a trip to London, a new car (as the lowest of these went for $3600, I didn't bid :) ). We also were able to meet Melina and had her autograph Olivia's credentials.

The evening wrapped up with all the characters on stage and dancing with the kids. Olivia just walked around them, a little intimidated, but not wanting to get off the stage. :) She had SUCH a great time!!! And everywhere we went people were telling her how beautiful her costume was. I am glad I got it for her. :) As we were leaving, there was a big table full of "adult" gift bags. Someone stopped me and said, "Wait, you didn't get your gift bag. I just need your credentials." Mine was turned over to the back, I really assumed these were for sponsors, etc., not guests. I said, "But I just have an orange tag." She said that was ok, everyone gets one! I was awed again. Inside my gift bag was a Dream Halloween Tshirt, men's cologne, a limited ed Barbie of the girl from Titanic, an American Girl book and craft kit Molly's Halloween, and two I guess specially made for this, matchbox cars in plastic display cases that say Dream Halloween 2007. The cars are special in that they have Halloween themes and say CAAF, Dream Halloween, etc. How fun!!!

Here are a few pics from the evening:

Waiting in line outside to get in.


Bipass looking at Barney,
and see if you can spot the purple butterfly fairy on the screen behind him!!! :)
(You can click to enlarge the pic!)


Melina K from CSI: NY

3 comments:

Julie said...

It sounds like an amazing day! I am so glad you got to go!!!!! Yea for Olivia - she looks absolutely beautiful! :)

Jody said...

Olivia looks absolutely precious in her costume. Glad you had such a wonderful time.

What a fantastic experience! I am so glad that you got to go. I looked at the organization's website and it is impressive. They have a real heart for the children.

Lisa

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I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!


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