ACCESS (Adapting and Changing Children’s Environments with Successful Solutions) in partnership with Northshore Families Helping Families has announced Lakeview Regional Medical Center will again host the 4th Annual Boo Fest on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the hospital grounds. The event benefits and serves children with disabilities and their families, but is open to children of all abilities. Gates open at 9:30 a.m. for special needs families and admission is only $1.

“Trick-or-treating poses many challenges for children with disabilities – especially those with mobility issues, but every child should have the opportunity to enjoy Halloween,” says Aaron Karlin, MD, ACCESS Chairman. “Boo Fest provides a safe and fun environment for these families to enjoy the holiday.” According to Lea Anne Kreiger, ACCESS board member, “We started this event four years ago as a way for all children in our community to experience the fun of trick-or-treating. It has grown to nearly 2000 children and more than 70 trick-or-treat houses and castles for the kids to visit.” The wheelchair accessible walking path around the duck ponds and green space adjacent to Lakeview Regional Medical Center allow children of all abilities to go house-to-house collecting treats. Other activities include pumpkin decorating at the pumpkin patch, face painting, all-abilities games, a complimentary photo booth, music and dancing provided by a DJ, participation by State Police Troop L and much, much more. Children are encouraged to wear their favorite Halloween costume and take part in the annual Boo Fest costume contest for the title of “Scariest” and “Most Original” costume.

Local businesses and members of the community may get involved in Boo Fest by sponsoring a trick-or-treat house or castle. Each sponsor will receive and then decorate 5-foot tall cardboard “gingerbread-style” houses or castles from which they will also hand out candy and other give-aways. Cash prizes will be awarded to winning trick-or-treat houses in the “Scariest,” “Most Creative” and “Kids’ Choice” categories. New to this year’s event will be placement of the houses and castles in three “Halloween-themed neighborhoods” in addition to locations along the walking path. Businesses are asked to provide their own candy or non-edible treats for distribution. Varying levels of Boo Fest sponsorships are available to area businesses/families interested in participating: Great Pumpkin ($5000), Boo Town Sponsor ($2500), Haunted Mansion ($1000), Haunted Castle ($500) or Haunted House ($250). 

Proceeds raised from Boo Fest trick-or-treat house and castle sponsorships assist families of children with disabilities with purchasing home or van modifications, assistive devices, and adaptive equipment that have been denied by private insurance and/or Medicaid. In its three years, ACCESS has raised over $120,000 for the disabled community from the Boo Fest event. For more information about ACCESS or for Boo Fest sponsorships contact Northshore Families Helping Families at 985-875-0511. Sponsorship forms can also be downloaded from the event website,, or on Facebook at “ACCESS Louisana”. Pictures from prior years’ events are posted on the website, as well.

Back for a second year, the Northshore Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) Annual Chili Challenge will take place during Boo Fest. NABOR is the non-profit professional association of agents, brokers and affiliate members in St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes. This is NABOR’s 6th Annual Chili Challenge. The event is open to all interested in a fun afternoon demonstrating their culinary talents, while supporting programs that benefit children with disabilities and their families. Part of the proceeds from the Chili Challenge will be donated to ACCESS. Teams are invited to participate in the Chili Cook-Off, with 1st and 2nd Place winners awarded, along with Best Booth Showmanship. Cost to enter a team is $150 with separate event sponsorships also available. 

NABOR Board President, David Holloway of Smith & Core Real Estate, is encouraging the Northshore community to come out and support this tremendous event. NABOR is excited about this continuing partnership with ACCESS, as it also supports the mission of the NABOR organization in serving the community. For more information on the Chili Cook-Off, contact the NABOR Office at 985-674-4233, 2013 Chili Challenge Co-Chair Guy Jones of Integra Lending, 985-624-9844 or 2013 Chili Challenge Co-Chair Eileen Hodgins of Homes & Land Magazines, 985-845-8007.