Traditionally, children spend Oct. 31 ringing doorbells, saying “trick or treat,” and sorting through candy. In recent years, however, many parents have preferred to take their children to organized Halloween parties at recreation and community centers.

A community organization cannot host a carnival or event without help, so Halloween has become a day when thousands of volunteers are needed.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens invites kids of all ages to visit its “Haunted Gardens,” a Halloween celebration featuring a spooky walk through the grounds, children’s activities and games. Guests wear costumes as they tour the grounds, decorate Halloween cookies, watch a creepy movie and visit Goblin Land.

Older children may enjoy visiting the Haunted Forest, where Dr. Frankenstein and other creatures live.

Lydia Chandler, director of volunteers at the Arboretum, says she needs about 200 volunteers Oct. 28-29 for the event.

“The Arboretum is a fun place to be on a spooky weekend,” Chandler says. “We have the safest Halloween activity in town, and both children and volunteers will have a great time.”

Neighborhood resident Cherrilane Blackburn has been a Haunted Gardens volunteer for many years. Dressed in Halloween colors, she serves on the security team, giving directions and answering questions.

“Working at Haunted Gardens is fun,” Blackburn says. “I love seeing the kids in costume, and everyone seems so happy.”

Blackburn became an Arboretum volunteer five years ago through the Lakewood Service League. Members of the league are assigned volunteer placements at various nonprofit agencies. Blackburn chose the Arboretum because it seemed to be “the most fun and non-stressful.”

Other area organizations hosting Halloween activities include:

  • On Oct. 31, Harry Stone Recreation Center is having a carnival for children ages 13 and under. Volunteers are needed to coordinate carnival games, distribute candy and take coupons.
  • Samuell Farm Park and Recreation Center will host an “old-fashioned farm carnival” Oct. 30-31. Volunteers are needed to man carnival booths, distribute prizes and coordinate games.
  • The Science Place needs volunteer storytellers at its Haunted Bomb Shelter Halloween Parties Oct. 26-29 and Oct. 31. Party hosts and deejays also are needed.
  • “Boo at the Dallas Zoo” is an annual Halloween event for children ages 3-12. It features trick-or-treating, games, prizes and costume contests. Volunteers are needed Oct. 29-30 to help with crafts, monitor games, host trick-or-treating stations and work in the haunted house.

For information about these and other volunteer opportunities, call the Volunteer Center of Dallas at 826-6767.

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