Anyone who turned onto Campbell Drive near Homestead Hospital Saturday October 31, 2020, around 6:00 p.m. was undoubtedly startled at the long line of cars. In keeping with so many events this year, the hospital staff came up with the idea of a “Halloween Drive-Boo.” Six of the hospital departments and numerous churches, non-profit organizations, and businesses from the community put up twenty-five decorated booths as participants. Senior staff and other supporters dressed in costumes as they waved and cheered families who drove slowly through the lanes with their trunks open. Packets of candy and other giveaways were placed inside. Many of the vehicles were decorated too, as children and some adults were outfitted in popular and creative costumes.
“Our sister hospital, Kendall Baptist, has a Halloween event each year and we’ve wanted to do one,” said Margaret Sotham, Director, Community Relations & Volunteer Services. “We’re here for the community at a time when they need something fun and this is the safe way to celebrate Halloween.”
In the first hour and eight minutes, 193 cars rolled past the counter while police directed hundreds more waiting to enter. Texas Roadhouse was among those providing candy as well as coupons for a free kids’ meal. The Seminole Theatre staff and volunteers were in costume with their giveaways, reminding everyone the theatre was open once again.
“I so enjoyed being part of the Characters Gallery at the Halloween Drive-Boo and wishing all who entered a Happy Halloween,” said Yvonne Knowles, Director of Homestead Main Street. Kenneth Spell, Chief Executive Officer of Homestead Hospital, and other senior staff were dressed as Marvel Comics Superheroes. “The community has been so supportive of us during the most intense times of the crisis and this is a way for us to give back,” he said in a brief pause of walking around, greeting families and returning cheerful waves.
The GFWC Homestead Woman’s Club had been promoting the event on Facebook since mid-October. “We are excited to participate in this wonderful community event hosted by Homestead Hospital, please swing by with your family for a safe & fun drive-thru trick-or-treat. Our Woman’s Club Wacky witches will be joining this safe & fun event and will be giving out treats.”
One of the families driving through nodded enthusiastically. “Good idea for the pandemic – really great,” said the mom with a smile.
Homestead Mayor Steve Losner was in costume and almost non-stop in placing candy packets into vehicles. ”This is an example of how we adapt in these times.” He wasn’t surprised at the turnout. “They told us to prepare 1,500 packets,” he said. His wife, Lori, acknowledged it did take most of the week to get them ready. “We rolled hundreds each day.”