MORE THAN 50 children dressed to the nines for a Halloween party and costume contest at the Union Bridge fire hall last week.
The party was sponsored by Union Bridge Lions Club. Union Bridge Volunteer Fire Company donated its hall for the event. Before the contest, children played games and waited in line to appear before the three judges.
"I've been here many years," said Julie Scott as she kept track of her 3-year-old daughter, Lindsey, dressed as a princess, and her 15-month-old son, Mason, dressed as a devil. "But that was when I was little," she added.
The Lions have been host to a Halloween event since 1947, said Cecil Massie, a club member who helped out. "We used to have floats and bands."
About 25 years ago, the Lions decided to make the party more youth- oriented, he said.
Strutting around the fire hall was Patrick Kirby, 4, son of Lori and Joe Kirby of Union Bridge. He said he was dressed as a surgeon because that was what he wants to be when he grows up.
"There isn't anyone in the family who is in medicine," said Lori. "He just wanted to be a surgeon because that is what he is interested in."
Joe was the creator of the costume.
Lisa Costas and her daughter, Brandy, 7, of Union Bridge eagerly waited their turn to go before the judges.
Brandy was dressed in a homemade clown outfit.
She was trying it out at the contest before wearing it for her birthday party.
"We both will be dressed as clowns for her birthday party," said Lisa. "It's fun to do things together."
The organizer of the event the past 10 years has been Frank Mastalerz.
"It's getting to the point now that it is not very difficult to do," Mastalerz said. "We've been doing this for a long time. We have the people who, each year, donate the cider or donate the treats. We usually have about 15 to 20 people working the event."
Mastalerz said he has noticed a change in costumes over the years. "The quality of the costumes has been getting better as people come up with unique ideas," Mastalerz said.
One of them was a winner in the first category, ages 0-3. Summar Quesenberry, 2, was the perfect little bag of jelly beans, complete with a nutrition label printed on the plastic wrap. Her mother, Rachel Quesenberry, of Union Bridge, said her friend, Bridget Dowery, came up with the idea.
The challenge was getting and keeping the balloons in Summar's hair and in the bag that was part of her costume.
Dr. Tom Tarpley, a club member and one of the judges, said judging was a tough job. "We found it excruciatingly difficult to decide the winners," he said.
The other winners (the contest had no first, second, third, etc.) were: Category I (ages 0-3): Nathan Wentworth, Pierce Wentworth and Emily Beacham; Category II (4-5), Amanda Voland, J. T. Wetzel, Sierra Harris, Logan and Mason Grossicle.
Category III (grades one and two), Jennifer Pivar, Justin Beacham and John Gravel; Category IV (grades three and four), Brian McCartney, Nathan Bauer and Sarah Hoff; Category V (grades five through eight), Jack Walter, Colin Ensor and Brandon Stambaugh.
Taneytown Heritage Committee will sponsor its annual Christmas Door/Home Front Decorating Contest beginning Nov. 16.
All homes and businesses must be decorated and lighted by 5: 30 each evening of the week to qualify for judging, which will be done Dec. 13, according to Pat Lawyer, who is organizing the event.
"This is only my second year organizing the event, but the event was first started in 1987," Lawyer said. "Last year, we had 28 homes and six businesses that participated. We've been getting more and more probably because we have more people in Taneytown now."
For homes, first and second prizes will be awarded for residential doorways, worth $40 and $25, respectively. First and second prizes will be awarded for residential overall, also worth $40 and $25, respectively.
For businesses, first, second and third prizes will be awarded for overall appearance. Those prizes will be given by Taneytown Chamber of Commerce, which is sponsoring the business category.
Jean Marie Beall's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.