History and family fun came to life Saturday for scare seekers eager to dawn their costumes during a tricky Halloween season.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to force many traditions to go unfulfilled this year, the board of directors at the Old Jail Museum downtown decided to come up with something a bit more family friendly in lieu of a haunted house.
“We felt like, maybe with the 2020 situation, that not a lot of little kids and families were going to be able to join in Halloween festivities like they have in the past,” Director Brittany Turpin said. “We wanted to provide an atmosphere where everybody felt welcome.”
Turpin was joined by a host of board members and volunteers during a six-hour open house that featured an informational tour of the jail’s history while spooky characters provided friendly scares along the way.
“We are giving out trick-or-treat bags for the kids and the posters are out with information about the jail, so parents have something to read about and look at,” Turpin said. “We’re going to turn the jail every half hour or so, so every here gets to see it move.”
The 138-year-old former jail and sheriff’s residence is one of two rotary jails left in the U.S. and the only of its kind in Indiana. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Since quarters were notoriously tight both in 1882 and on Saturday, board members doubled down on safety precautions. Characters stayed in roped-off spaces and regularly sanitized.
“We’re maintaining six-foot distances and being careful about making sure everybody has sanitizer at their stations and as we’re getting closer, we’re wearing masks,” Turpin said.
Candy and prizes were individually wrapped, as well.
Sponsors for the event included Tri-County Bank & Trust, Froedges, S.T.A.R. Ambulance, Anarchy Axe Throwing, Stock+Field, York, Nprint Copy & Design, Oak Hill Corn Maze and Tree Farm, Home Depot, Hoosier Heartland State Bank, Justice & Pyle, Iron Order Motorcycle Club, Christi Hubler Chevrolet and B&L Engineering.
For more information about the Old Jail Museum and Tannenbaum Cultural Center, visit www.rotaryjailmuseum.org or www.facebook.com/RotaryJailMuseum.