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the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

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Annual Monster Bash haunts Morningside again after renovation

Kate Durden
After an absent year due to COVID-19, and two years of renovations causing the event to be hosted at Virginia Highland Elementary school, the annual Monster Bash returns to its original location at Morningside Elementary school.

With the renovation at Morningside Elementary School finishing, the annual large-scale Halloween festival, Monster Bash, will return on Oct. 28, after two years of being hosted at Virginia Highland (VA-HI) Elementary School.  

Joel Glorvigen has been an art teacher at Morningside for the past 10 years and has been with the school throughout many location transitions. He said Monster Bash, being hosted by Morningside, is symbolic for students returning to the location.

“It’s like a homecoming in a way,” Glorvigen said. “It’s a, ‘Hey, we’re back here.’ The school is a part of the community. I’m glad we’re back. It’s been three years and it’s been a long journey.”

Despite this being Aisha Stith’s first year as Vice President of Morningside PTA, she said that because of previous experience, she knew she would have many responsibilities in order to keep the 43-year community tradition alive.

“I mean I’ve seen [the Monster Bash] for the past 10 years,” Stith said. “We were in a temporary state at the old Inman building and it was great there. No matter where it goes, it’s a great community event.” 

Glorvigen recalls attending the annual event when hosted by Morningside, but not attending at the VA-HI Elementary location. This year, Glorvigen plans on attending along with dedicating several hours to help with the festival’s pumpkin patch.

“They had a bigger field to work with [at VA-HI Elementary],” Glorvigen said. “They’re going to have a nice field here to work with, but I don’t know if they’re going to have the same space for the rides. It will be interesting to see how they set it up on the artificial turf or what kind of rides they’ll have.”

Similarly, Stith said one of the biggest differences in locations of the festival is the amount of outdoor space surrounding each elementary school following Morningside’s renovation with the additional gym and glass walkway across the main driveway.

“The great thing about [VA-HI Elementary’s] space was there was amazing outdoor flat space,” Stith said. “We’re a little limited with space this year at Morningside which is difficult. Also, a huge thing is that it’s a different layout.”

Glorvigen also said that the difference in the space before and after the renovation introduces a challenge for the return of Monster Bash to Morningside.

“When the parents came in they could see right from the street the Monster Bash, but now we have a building right in the way,” Glorvigen said. “They’re going to walk in a little bit more. I think there’s going to be less maneuverability in the play area there. I think it has made it a little bit smaller. The building takes up more square footage than the old annex did. It’s going to be a little bit more cramped.”

Likewise, although grateful for the additions to Morningside, Stith said the renovation presents a challenge to the planning of the event. 

“[The renovation] did present a challenge to the trucks that bring in the rides,” Stith said. “They usually enter from Rock Springs Road and this year they are going to have to back the trucks up. The space is a little smaller than it used to be, even though it’s brand new and great. We’re going to have a few less rides, but we have chosen the best rides and we’ll have a lot more games and inflatables. We were working with less space this year. That was a challenge, but really we’ve overcome it.”

When the Monster Bash was hosted at VA-HI Elementary, the fifth graders’ annual haunted house was held in smaller spaces such as trailers. Stith said that because the haunted house will have more space in the garage of Morningside, the students’ can expand their imaginations.

“[The haunted house] is going to be so good,” Stith said. “The students get to take autonomy of the theme, and they are actually building out, some of them participate and volunteer their time. So it’s really good to get back in that space and that tradition.”

Many of the Morningside fifth graders are some of the last students to have attended Morningside before the renovations. Current fifth grader Henry Scott, a tour guide for the haunted house, said having experienced both locations, more room for the haunted house allows the fifth graders to show their “spooky” creativity that was previously restricted. 

“I’m definitely most excited to be a tour guide and to just see [the haunted house],” Scott said. “I think it’s going to be pretty cool.”

The majority of the funds raised during the Monster Bash are given to the PTA to continue to hold future events. Stith said the community is thrilled to have the event back in the original venue. 

“I think that [the community] is excited,” Stith said. “As long as we keep it contained to the hours that were advertised and make sure that the flow of traffic for them works well. I think that the community is happy to have it back.”

The Monster Bash contains a variety of activities for every age to enjoy. Younger kids may be entertained by the games or bouncy houses while grandparents can appreciate the music or enjoy the festival food, taking comfort as bits of cotton candy dissolve in their mouths. 

“I think that it’s one of our events that truly is all-inclusive,” Stith said. “There is a cost to participate in rides and such, but anyone can come in and enjoy the festivities. Some of everyone is there and it’s very upbeat. There’s something for everyone and it is for everyone.”

As families mark their calendars to plan and attend the Monster Bash, Stith said she hopes to see people from every community visit this year. 

“I think it’s just a great way for the school and the community to come together and to extend to siblings and grandparents,” Stith said. “Also, it’s everyone from every background in a place where you’re just having fun.”

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About the Contributor
Kate Durden
Kate Durden, Lifestyle Associate Managing Editor
Kate Durden is a junior and this is her third year writing for the Southerner. She enjoys volunteering at an animal shelter, attending 21st Century Leaders meetings, making films at Midtown's cinema club and hanging out with her friends.

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