5 Things

It’s a weekend full of Halloween happenings in the Ottumwa area. Several organizations are getting into the spooky spirit early.

1. The annual Pioneer Ridge Halloween Hike takes on Yellowstone National Park this year. Those hiking will follow a lit walking path around the nature center and hear from eight different costumed characters representing different animals and sights of Yellowstone. They will give informational talks about the animals’ eating habit, behavior and other trivia. Characters include wolves, bison, eagles and more. Money from ticket sales will go to fund field trips to Pioneer Ridge and other conservation board properties. The hikes run from 6-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and leave from the nature center every 10 minutes, and reservations can be made by calling 641-683-4621 or emailing PioneerRidgeHike@hotmail.com.

2. Those in the mood for genuine scares can head out to the Mayhem Haunted House at the Wapello County Extension Office, 13011 120th Ave. The third floor of the building has been transformed into more than 30 rooms of sights intended to scare you to your core. All money raised from the haunted house benefit Wapello County 4-H. Organizers say that while they have no age minimum to enter, the event may not be suitable for all ages. And, they say, a chicken exit is available for those who can’t make it through the whole tour. Mayhem opens this weekend with hours of 7 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, with hours repeating Oct. 18-19 and Oct. 25-26. For more information, visit the Mayhem Haunted House Facebook page or check out this weekend’s edition of Ottumwa Life.

3. Explore the art of horror films with Halloweenapalooza as the event celebrates its 10th year. Halloweenapalooza is Iowa’s only horror film showcase created by horror filmmakers for horror fans and will run Friday and Saturday at Hotel Ottumwa. There will be an array of international films, vendors, costume contests, a midnight screening of “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Films will be shown from 5-11 p.m. Friday and noon to 8 p.m. Saturday. Vendors will be set up from 5-11 p.m. Friday and noon to 8 p.m. Saturday. Special guest his year is Alex Vincent, who is best known for his role as Andy Barclay in the “Child’s Play” franchise. Vincent will be signing autographs both days and will hold a question-and-answer session Saturday. The costume contest will award prizes in several categories, and wrap up the weekend by attending Saturday’s midnight screening. For more information, email halloweenapalooza@gmail.com or read the feature story in this weekend’s issue of Ottumwa Life.

4. There will be magic in the air at Friday’s Ottumwa YMCA dinner and auction fundraiser. This year’s theme is “You Make the Magic Possible.” The event gets under way with a social at 5:30 p.m. at the Indian Hills Dining Hall. Doors to the dinner and silent auction open at 6:15 p.m. with the live auction following at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available in singles, couples, in tables of eights or tables of 10s and can be purchased at the YMCA front desk. Tickets include dinner, drinks and dessert. The event is the final fundraiser for the Y’s Annual Campaign that supports scholarships to youth and families in need. For more information, contact Garrett Ross at 641-684-6571 or garrett@ottumwaymca.com.

5. From 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Team Iowa Missions is hosting a costume party at the Jimmy Jones Shelter in Ottumwa Park to raise money for team members to go to Haiti. The event will feature a bouncy castle, games, a DJ, a clown and food. The nonprofit organization says money raised will go toward school uniforms for children and to help children in orphanages in Haiti. Funds will also be used to build a home, food, medical supplies and Bibles. Attendees are encouraged to wear costumes to the fundrasier. While RSVPs are not required, they are appreciated. For more information or to RSVP, contact organizer Lisa Gillespie at 641-777-0166 or teamiowamissions@gmail.com.

Features Editor Tracy Goldizen can be reached via email at tgoldizen@ottumwacourier.com or followed on Twitter @CourierTracy.


Tracy Goldizen is the Courier's features and magazine editor, leading production of the award-winning "Ottumwa Life" and the Courier's other magazine offerings. She began work with the Courier on the copy desk.

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