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Local

Annual YMCA Halloween bash arrives early to NIU Convocation Center

Everett Threewitt, then 1, of Cortland, dressed as Dumbo, looks around at the bounce houses as his dad Jeff Threewitt holds him during the Kishwaukee Family YMCA's Annual Halloween Event at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb on Friday, October 28, 2016.
Everett Threewitt, then 1, of Cortland, dressed as Dumbo, looks around at the bounce houses as his dad Jeff Threewitt holds him during the Kishwaukee Family YMCA's Annual Halloween Event at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb on Friday, October 28, 2016.

DeKALB – Ghouls and ghosts, get your costumes ready: The annual Kishwaukee Family YMCA Halloween Bash will creep into Northern Illinois University’s Convocation Center a little early this year.

The Halloween Bash, set for Friday, has in past years run into competition from popular seasonal events such as Sycamore’s annual Pumpkin Festival, which takes place closer to the haunted holiday, so organizers decided to move it one week up in the fall calendar.

“This year, we were able to plan our calendar way in advance, allowing us to book the NIU Convocation Center for the sixth year in a row,” said Heather Dunker, marketing and communications director for the YMCA.

Dunker says community participation for the event has increased so much that the Convocation Center is the best option for the event, which has been a Halloween staple in the community for almost 20 years and hosts on average 2,000 participants.

Along with popular features such as an entire basketball court full of bounce houses and obstacles, a haunted house, a fear factor tasting table with crickets and other creepy crawlies, themed arts and crafts, games and sports activities, a new partnership with the DeKalb Public Library will showcase scary stories.

“We’re excited because this year we’ll be doing Spooky Stories with the DeKalb library,” Dunker said. “This is an exciting new partnership we’re exploring.”

During Spooky Stories, library staff will read interactive scary stories in 15- to 20-minute segments to participating children, featured on a special stage.

Other vendors running their own booths include the Kishwaukee United Way, the Epilepsy Foundation of North Central Illinois, Olympia Chiropractic and Physical Therapy, and the Kishwaukee Special Recreation Association.

Families and kids are encouraged to attend in costumes. The Convocation Center will sell popcorn and drinks during the event, and Dunker said the event is sure to be a hit for children of all ages.

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