Dressed in army fatigues, Jeremy Schalnus, 10, holds the crosshairs of a crossbow up to his eye, aiming at a deer-shaped target a few feet away. He pulls the trigger, a plastic dart fires from the toy crossbow, just missing the bull's-eye.
Win a prize ticket for hitting the target, but win two prize tickets for a bull's-eye. Schalnus gladly took his one ticket, putting it in the pocket of his camouflage jacket with the others he collected.
Hundreds of South Routt students, parents, family members and teachers -- almost all dressed in costumes -- packed the South Routt Elementary School gym Saturday for the Parent Teacher Organization's Halloween carnival, which featured about 20 carnival-type games.
One of the largest attractions of the afternoon was the "haunted obstacle course" behind the dark curtains of the gym stage. Students dressed as aliens, monsters, princesses and comic-book heroes and navigated a course that concluded with candy.
Also dressed as a soldier, 5-year-old Koby Vargas said the haunted obstacle course was the most fun attraction at the Halloween carnival.
Other games and attractions included a fortuneteller, a fishing game and a tent decorated to look like Hogwarts, the wizardry school from the popular book series "Harry Potter."
Dressed as a hippie with a long-haired wig, tie-dye T-shirt, fake goatee and round purple spectacles, Zane Elston said the target-shooting game was the best.
Also dressed up for the carnival, teachers and middle school students managed the booths.
"I think it's like everything we do here -- the whole community supports us," South Routt Elementary School Principal Troy Zabel said while preparing to make cotton candy. "This place is packed. We get a lot of support from the community from businesses, organizations and volunteers for the booths and serving food. It's great because it is such a safe setting for the kids around Halloween."
The carnival is not only fun for all who attend, but it is one of the biggest fund-raisers for the South Routt PTO, which returns money back to elementary, middle and high school students. The Halloween carnival, which brought in about $1,400 last year, comes in second only to the July Ranch Rodeo, which has raised as much as $7,000 in a year, said Kelly Gates, a former PTO board member and current PTO volunteer.
But the Halloween carnival has continued to grow in popularity during the past few years, Gates said.
"It's real enjoyable, because the kids get to take part in all of it," Gates said.
-- To reach Nick Foster, call 871-4204
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org