Longwood carnival offers Halloween fun, frights

Published 12:16 am Sunday, October 24, 2010

NATCHEZ — When 5-year-old Mia Marvel came out the haunted house at Longwood Saturday night, her mother, Roslyn, looked the most terrified.

With wide eyes, Roslyn pried her bawling 5-year-old’s clutching fingers off her chest, adjusted her shirt and checked around her side to make sure her 10-year-old had made it out alive and with less trauma than Mia.

Christian, still reeling and adjusting his eyes from pitch black and strobe to the 5 p.m. light, emerged with a smile stretched across his face.

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“She almost pulled my shirt off,” Roslyn said.

Mia cried some more and simply shook her head to show her dissatisfaction with the whole thing.

Christian admitted he understood a smidge why his little sister was so upset.

“It was a little bit scary,” Christian said, still beaming.

When the family regrouped and Mia’s tears slowed down and finally stopped, they rushed toward the next activity.

Almost completely around the circular, historic plantation, different booths and activities were set up for the Halloween carnival, and costumed children scattered in every direction.

Eight-year-old Anna-Katherine McDonough, otherwise known Saturday night as Michael Jackson in his “Thriller” stage, came out of the fortune-telling booth with some news for her father.

Apparently, McDonough will have a good education and attend Louisiana State University when she grows up, according to her fortune.

McDonough looked forward to the haunted house but said her sister was not so excited.

Camille McDonough, 3, wagged her finger, “no,” at the mention of the idea of entering the haunted house.

Camille, who was dressed as Sandy from Grease — at the end of the movie, with the leather pants and teased hair — said she did not want to go to the haunted house with her sister and was happy after winning a pin wheel at the fish-bowl toss.

Gina Cauthen, chair of Halloween carnival at Longwood, said the event was turning out great.

Cauthen said starting the event at 4 p.m. worked out well to give the younger children a chance to participate before dark.

At dark, Cauthen said the hayride turned spooky and the haunted house grew even more merciless.

Some new activities, such as karaoke and sand treasure hunts, were popular.

Another new big hit was the football tent.

“I can’t tell you how many (parents) stayed longer that wouldn’t have stayed without that tent,” Cauthen said.

Cauthen said she expected another drove of people to show up after the LSU football game ended, as well.

Cauthen said she liked the tradition of the Longwood Halloween carnival and looks forward to the coming years.