Teri Hammarback kept her finger on the CD player as “Monster Mash” hummed above a chiminea crackling next door, where kids were making s’mores with fudge striped cookies and marshmallows. More children marched in a circle before Hammarback, waiting for her to stop the music and draw the next winner of the “cookie walk.”
“You’ve got to walk like a monster,” Hammarback told them. “It is the Monster Mash, after all.”
Saturday was the annual Haunted Heritage Village in East Grand Forks, where area families spent the afternoon wearing costumes, playing games, making crafts and eating candy.
In the village’s church basement there was bingo and several other side games, including pumpkin toss. Volunteer Wendelin Hume, who normally participates as a vendor in the village farmers market during the summer, said most of the games have been donated from groups like the American legion.
“That way we can make the event free for some people,” Hume said.
A former sixth-grade teacher, Hammarback pointed out the event is geared more toward younger kids. Other adults working at the event agreed.
“There’s a lot of things that are out here for adults,” Heritage Village Treasurer Marilyn Egeland said. “I think it’s fun to see all the adults bring kids about.”
The Northern Lights Railroad Museum, sitting at the village entrance, was also open to Haunted Village attendees Saturday afternoon as it is every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“A lot of what you’re seeing today is pretty much our attraction year round,” museum vice president Justin Nelson said. He and the museum’s president, Michael Mahnke, were standing in the model train room attendees can observe from a hallway window. Outside the museum there’s also a full-sized car for patrons to walk through.
“I’d like to think we’re helping to interpret the history of railroads in this area, as an educational tool,” Nelson said.
Treasurer Egeland and Heritage member Mary Herda were serving apple cider and candy at the village’s Russ Beier Building while children made fruit kabobs for birds. On Heritage days in August, both women are usually in charge of the village’s country store, where they serve sarsaparilla root beer.
“And the kids are just in awe,” Herda said. “It’s like something out of Little House on the Prairie!”
To her, bringing kids and others out to Heritage village is an important part of learning about East Grand Forks history.
“It’s like finding out about your DNA,” Herda said. “It’s like, ‘Where do I come from?’”