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A different kind of fright night

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Even a pandemic can’t stop a 57-year-old tradition. The Halloween fun at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis will begin Oct. 2, but it will look a lot different than it has in previous years. 

Instead of a haunted house, visitors can participate in the Monster MASKarade, presented by Old National Bank. The MASKarade will take place outdoors in the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legend Experience, where families can participate in a spooky obstacle course, dance and try their hand at “broom ball.”

Jen Triplett, one of the “witches” overseeing the MASKarade, said when they realized they couldn’t host a traditional haunted house, they knew they still wanted to find a safe way to celebrate Halloween. 

“We identified the hurdles that we had with traditional haunted houses, like being indoors and tight spaces,” Triplett said. “We thought of ways to make people more comfortable and to have a safe experience. We have a great outdoor space, so we thought why not utilize it?”

Triplett said her favorite parts of the MASKarade are the floats on display, which pay homage to previous haunted house themes, including a pirate ship and the Guild Tree, which now glows from the inside out and is decorated with skeletons.

A trio of witches, led by Frances the Friendly Witch, will be on hand to guide guests through the event, including a small parade at the end. On the grounds, children can play the Monster Mash Candy Dash — a spooky and socially-distanced take on musical chairs — and families can bust a move with mummies on a dance floor.

The museum will offer the event with sensory modifications for children who may be overwhelmed by loud music and other sensory sensitivities from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 5. The museum hopes to offer more sensory modifications with future events to make experiences more inclusive, Triplett said.

Guests over 2 years of age must wear a mask throughout the MASKarade. A health screening, including questions about exposure to COVID-19 and a temperature check, are required to enter.

A boxed dinner on Friday night or a boxed breakfast on Saturday morning will be provided and each guest will leave with a goody bag. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, capacity at the MASKarade is limited. Tickets must be bought ahead of the event, and cost $23 for museum members and $25 for nonmembers. Costumes are encouraged, and masks are required even if a costume includes a face covering.

For those leery about being in social spaces, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is offering a virtual way to have some frightening fun. On Oct. 30, actors from the museum will go live on Facebook for a virtual tour of some of the spookier items in the collections.

Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ MASKarade will run every weekend in October, weather permitting. For more information on the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ MASKarade, visit www.childrensmuseum.org

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