The line was long and full of excited little Spidermen and fairy princesses awaiting their turn Sunday to be spooked at the Family Museum’s 15th annual Scarecrow Shenanigans.
There were plenty of projects to entertain all types of little goblins with offerings such as free train rides, pumpkin decorating, real cow eyeball dissections, mystical dry ice experiments, and glow-in-the dark goo and vampire veins.
“This event has evolved into one that is highly anticipated every year. We (museum staff) feel an obligation to make each event better than the year before,” Jeff Reiter, business development manager, said.
Jared Kannerberg, educator at the Bettendorf museum, welcome all the ghosts and goblins as they floated into the museum. With a table set up of dry ice mixed with bubbles and hot water, Kannerberg created a bubbling cauldron. Dressed in a black robe, he showed kids his “magic powers” by scooping invisible dry ice fumes and pouring them on a lighted candle flame. Many ooohs and aaaahs emitted from the audience as the flame vanished before their eyes.
“It’s actually a neat science experiment — the melted dry ice is heavier than oxygen, and therefore, puts out the candle flame,” he said.
Further inside the museum was a place for only the bravest of kids — The Spooky Room. A skeleton sat perched in the corner, seemingly plinking out spooky tunes on an organ, as glow-in-the dark vampire veins begged even the most squeamish to finger the slippery strings and wonder how they were made.
One of the volunteers helping out in The Spooky Room didn’t look so spooky, as he wore an orange T-shirt that said, “I Don’t Do Costumes.”
“I decided to use my ninth-grade service hours toward this event since all my friends told me the museum was a great place to work and make friends while still volunteering,” Vijayendra Jagtap, a freshman at Pleasant Valley High School, said. Students at the Bettendorf school must compile service hours to graduate.
Many other young students came out to help at this event. Almost 20 members of Augustana College’s Epsilon Sigma Alpha sorority shared shifts throughout numerous craft stations.
“I’m from St. Louis and never even knew this museum was here until today. It’s so nice to be able to help out and learn more about the community,” said Kendra Rakers, a sophomore at the Rock Island college who is studying neuroscience.
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When asked what the most favorite part of the event was, most children agreed that anything scary is the best.
“Getting scared is the most fun part for me,” Elly Holst, a fourth-grader at East Moline Christian School, said as she got ready to enter The Spooky Room.
“The cow eyeballs were my favorite,” said Camden Ruddy, 5, a pre-kindergarten student at St. John Vianney Preschool, Bettendorf. The gooey, sliced cow eyeballs were dissected for children to observe and learn about optical science.
“We want all our events to be fun and educational,” Reiter said.