ACCESS (Adapting and Changing Children’s Environments with Successful Solutions), a locally founded non-profit, has announced that the 5th annual Boo Fest will be held on the grounds of Lakeview Regional Medical Center on Saturday, October 25th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  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.  The main gate opens at 10 a.m. 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 ACCESS board member Lea Anne Kreiger,, “We started this event five years ago as a way for all children in our community to experience the fun of trick-or-treating. It has grown to nearly 8,000 attendees each year 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. The day is packed with lots of Fall-themed activities which 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”, “Most Original”, “Crowd Favorite”, and “Best Group” 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 a 5-foot tall cardboard “gingerbread-style” house or castle 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. Placement of the houses and castles will be 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 ($5,000), Boo Town Sponsor ($2,500), Haunted Mansion ($1,000), Haunted Castle ($500) or Haunted House ($250). Sponsorship forms can be downloaded from the event website,, or on Facebook at “ACCESS Louisiana.”

Proceeds raised from Boo Fest 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 four years, ACCESS has raised over $125,000 for the disabled community from the Boo Fest event. For more information about ACCESS or for Boo Fest sponsorships, contact Dr. Aaron Karlin at or at 985-718-7532. 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 third 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 7th 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 (Challenge?), with 1st and 2nd place winners, along with awards for Best Booth Showmanship. The cost to enter a team is $150 with separate event sponsorships also available. 

NABOR Board President, Steve Dixon of Distinctive 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 (Challenge?), contact the NABOR Office at (985) 674-4233, 2014 Chili Challenge Co-Chair David Holloway of Smith & Core Real Estate, (985) 320-8173 or 2014 Chili Challenge Co-Chair Eileen Hodgins of Homes & Land Magazines, (985) 845-8007.