By ROBERT JUMPER
One Feather Editor
CHEROKEE, N.C. – The Scare-okee Committee met recently near the BIA Parking Lot and Oconaluftee Island Park to iron out additional details of the layout of this year’s “Trick or Treat Night in Scare-okee” event. The committee met in the evening to get a better sense of how things will look when the actual event takes place. Scare-okee is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 31 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
At the committee’s meeting on Sept. 27, event manager Mollie Grant led the group in a review of the event checklist.
There will be one public entrance to the event on Tsali Blvd near the Tribal Council House and Drama Inn. The plan is to close Tsali Blvd. from the Museum intersection to the intersection of US Hwy 19. The road will be blocked to all traffic at that intersection (near the Art Market and ABC Store). The committee indicated that this sectional road closure on Oct. 31 will last from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. to allow for setup and teardown of the event.
EBCI (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) Destination Marketing plans to dress the Island Park in seasonal lights in conjunction with Scare-okee, but details were not available as to when the Island Park would be closed to the public for installation. One committee member indicated that last year, the Island was closed for 10 days prior to the event to install lighting. Grant said the back walking bridge would likely need to be closed during the Scare-okee event to maintain the integrity of the pedestrian traffic pattern for the event.
In addition to the mapping information, it was also announced that restroom facilities at the Welcome Center and at the Oconaluftee Island Park would remain open during Scare-okee. There will be portable restrooms and hand washing stations strategically situated at the event grounds.
Budgetary items, like candy and haunted house construction allotments, could not be finalized because this event occurs in a new fiscal year of the tribe. The Fiscal Year 2024 tribal budget, which begins October 2023, is awaiting governmental approval and the event budget is awaiting Executive approval.
Discussion included plans for prize categories for the haunted houses, candy booths, and food from the food trucks. Categories presented for the haunted houses were best booth, best theme, scariest, people’s choice, and most original. Similar categories were discussed for the candy booths. Children and their families who visit the food booths will have an opportunity to judge the food truck with the “scariest” themed foods.
The committee continued to stress that their goal is a fun and safe event. Grant provided the following guidelines for costumes appropriate for Scare-okee:
Family-Friendly Trick-or-Treat Event Guidelines:
- Dress for the weather.
- Wear comfy, safe shoes.
- Ensure good visibility and mobility.
- Choose non-scary costumes.
- Keep it age-appropriate.
- Be culturally sensitive.
- Skip realistic weapons or sharp objects.
- Classic characters, famous figures, animals.
- Group costumes for extra fun!
- Get creative with DIY costumes.
The committee opted to hold their next planning meeting on Monday, Oct. 9 to allow those programs that are involved in the Cherokee Indian Fair to focus on that event.