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 3rd Annual Boo Fest on Saturday, October 27th from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on the hospital grounds. The event benefits and serves children with disabilities and their families, but is open to children of all abilities.

“Trick-or-treating poses many challenges for children with disabilities that have mobility issues,” says Aaron Karlin, MD, ACCESS Chairman. “Boo Fest provides a safe and fun environment for these families to enjoy Halloween. Last year we saw over 6,000 attendees and hope to have even more this year.” According to Laurie Spurlin, ACCESS board member, “Last year we had over 60 trick-or-treat houses and castles set up along the wheelchair accessible walking path around the duck ponds and green space adjacent to Lakeview Hospital, allowing children of all abilities to go house-to-house collecting treats. We expect even more this year.” 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 a costume contest for the title of “Scariest” and “Most Original” costume.

Local businesses and members of the community are encouraged to get involved in Boo Fest by sponsoring a trick-or-treat house or castle. Each sponsor will be provided with a 4 foot tall cardboard “gingerbread-style” house or castle for them to decorate and give out Halloween treats from to the children attending. Cash prizes will be awarded to winning Trick or Treat Houses in the “Scariest”, “Most Creative” and “Kids’ Choice” categories. Businesses are asked to provide their own candy or non-edible treats to give to the children. Trick-or-treat house sponsorships are still available: Haunted Mansion ($2500-above), Haunted Castle ($500) or Haunted House ($250). 

BooFest is free for everyone in the community to attend.  Proceeds are raised from BooFest Trick or Treat House and Castle Sponsorships and assist families of children with disabilities with purchasing home or van modifications, assistive devices, and adaptive equipment that has been denied by private insurance and/or Medicaid. In just its first two years, ACCESS has raised over $30,000 for the disabled community from the BooFest event.  For more information about ACCESS or for BooFest sponsorships contact Northshore Families Helping Families at 985-875-0511. Sponsor forms can also be downloaded from the event website, Pictures from prior years’ events are posted on the website as well.

New to this year’s BooFest event is the inclusion of the Northshore Area Board of Realtors Annual Chili Challenge. NABOR is the non-profit professional association of agents, brokers and affiliate members in St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes.  This is NABOR’s 5th year celebration of the Realtor 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 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, Carole Woodward, is encouraging the Northshore community to come out and support this tremendous event. NABOR is excited about this new 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, Guy Jones of Integra Lending, 2012 Chili Challenge Chair, 985-624-9844 or Carole Woodward, 504-578-7691.