Halloween comes early to Soboba


Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians | Contributed

From beautiful princesses to scary clowns, visitors to events at the Soboba Indian Reservation got an early start on the Halloween holiday. Children from the Soboba Tribal Preschool were invited to a Trunk or Treat morning on Oct. 19. Many departments and a few Tribal member families hosted themed trunks and provided lots of treats for the students and their siblings. Transported to the Soboba Sports Complex by their parents, it was able to be a true family affair as the costumed kids made their way around the 20 decorated trunks.

The preschool staff offered three different stops and greeted the familiar youngsters with lots of candy, toys and other goodies. Preschool Director Benita Torres thanked everyone who participated in the event. “It was very hot, but you guys stayed strong and did amazing,” she told those who hosted displays. “The children had a lot of fun and they had big smiles on their faces. I really appreciate all the hard work everyone put into decorating for the occasion.”

The preschool awarded gift cards and certificates to the top three displays. The Soboba Foundation, Tribal Council and Executive Office joined forces to create a Toy Story experience that took first place. Torres said the children loved the group. Woody, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear, Sid Phillips and Bo Peep greeted the kids and passed out Ring Pops and Woody Pez dispensers while the Alien delighted everyone with its friendly antics around the corner setup. There was also a photo op booth where kids could pretend to be in Buzz Lightyear’s rocket ship.

The Cultural Department, which garnered a second-place win, handed out jack-o-lantern faced tote bags filled with coloring books, crayons, stickers, pencils and other educational items for them to enjoy along with their candy. A third-place finish went to the Public Works Janitors who created a “Monster Mash” with a truck bed filled with many different monsters from witches to werewolves while the familiar tune blared on speakers to accompany the scary scene.

On Saturday, Oct. 21, Soboba Parks & Recreation presented the Soboba Tribal Halloween Carnival from 6 to 9 p.m. Booths were set up to allow kids to play fun games for prizes and make crafts. Christian Aceves and Christine Rodriguez from the Soboba Tribal Environmental Department also used the opportunity to educate players about pollution. In a game called “Don’t Drink the Water,” several small fish bowls were filled with clean water while a few others were discolored or had mutant fish pictures inside which meant they were polluted. Getting a ping pong ball inside a bowl with clean air was rewarded with a reusable water bottle. All participants received a treat just for playing, though.

Also using the event in a purposeful way were members of the Noli Beading Club, overseen by Noli Indian School Culture Department Coordinator/Instructor Tashina Miranda Ornelas. Visitors to their spider web enveloped popup were shown how to make a medicinal spirit tie. The center of a small piece of white cloth could be filled with tobacco, white sage or elderberry flowers and then tied off. A face drawn on the bulbous end of the cloth with a black marker mimicked a small but friendly ghost.

A constant stream of screams emanated from a haunted house that was set up at one end of the Sports Complex near a pumpkin patch where each registered guest could go to pick out their favorite. One of the baseball fields was lit up with overhead lights where several inflatable bounce houses and slides offered kids a chance to run and play. Guests were also treated to a taco meal and a chance at several raffle prizes, including a few items donated by members of the Beading Club. A DJ played an appropriate mix of Halloween-themed classics throughout the night.

The Soboba Foundation, Tribal Council and Executive Office teamed up once again for an exciting display that attracted all visitors. Two popups with lighted tables decorated with Disney characters also featured fog machines that surprised and delighted everyone with their spontaneity. Along with a large Mickey Mouse shaped caramel apple enrobed in chocolate given to everyone, children received a card that featured colorful games and activities for them to complete. All eight items were described in English and Chamtéela, which is the Luiseño Indian language.

Costume contests were held for all ages but broken down into age groups of 0-4, 5-7, 8-12, 13-17 and 18-plus. Three winners from each group that best represented scariest, cutest and most creative were presented with gift cards and candy treats.

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