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Gaston ghouls (and boys) come haunting

Grade schoolers and Forest Grove care center residents mix up a brew full of fun on Halloween
by: Chase Allgood Chase Allgood/News-Times

Second grader Laurynn Mesenbrink (in cowgirl hat) watches as classmate Abbi Klaus gets some sweet loot from Marquis Care resident Ron Stewart (foreground) when Gaston Elementary School paid a visit to the Forest Grove facility Monday morning.

Spooky skeletons, preening princesses, wooly werewolves and confident cowboys were seen invading a Forest Grove care center Monday morning.

There was no need to call the local police, however. The colorful Halloween parade at Marquis Care on 19th Avenue came courtesy of Gaston Elementary School - specifically, the first and second grade classes of teachers Viki Mulick and Rhonda Taylor-Kenny.

Residents of the adult care community, many sporting costumes of their own, greeted the children in the activity room and listened politely while they sang six songs heralding the end-of-October holiday.

'Don't be startled if we say 'Boo!,' because we might!' Taylor-Kenny warned mischievously, her black cat whiskers turning up as she grinned.

With selections such as 'Skin and Bones' and 'What Shall I Put in the Pumpkin Stew?' brewing up fun, 'kids' young and not-so-young clapped along to the music.

Seven-year-old Emmy Jesuro, dressed as the Snow Queen in a regal white robe, had the honor of leading one of the musical numbers because, Taylor-Kenny said, 'She's a really good reader.'

Once the mini-concert concluded, each student received a plastic goodie bag - in the eerie shape of an eyeball - and started making the rounds to residents with suckers, stickers and various other surprises to share.

'I was happy to come here because we got to sing some songs and give them the pumpkin placemats we made,' said Yvette Bellar, 7, dressed as a good witch in purple and black.

Resident Penny Sheperd said she'd looked forward to welcoming the kids. Her basket, filled to the brim with sheets of Halloween stickers, soon was nearly empty. 'I think they like them instead of candy sometimes,' Sheperd said.

Playing along

Watching a rooster, a cheerleader, a bumble bee and Spongebob Squarepants wind their way through the room, activity director LaRayne Barrios smiled with satisfaction. She was happy to see the students' much-more-mature counterparts play along - one man in a red velveteen king's crown and a woman sporting a ladybug beanie.

'We have a whole collection of costumes for them to wear,' said Barrios, who added that later in the day, residents would change into full regalia to greet the community's trick or treaters.

Jennifer Cook, who works at the care center, watched as her daughter, Jordyan, 7, charmed folks in her plaid pinafore.

'This year they decided to bring both the first and second graders, so it's an extra big group,' Cook noted.

For second grader Laurynn Mesenbrink, 7, the visit to Marquis Care wasn't completely unfamiliar.

'My grandma lives at the Forest Grove Beehive, so I go to see here there,' noted Laurynn, who was dressed as a cowgirl with a 10-gallon hat. 'I like to see the people - they're nice.'