Each year in late October the streets of Benson get invaded by a variety of ghosts, goblins, trolls, superheroes, princesses, furry animals, and cartoon characters. What sounds like an episode of “Uncle Grandpa” is actually the annual celebration of Halloween known as the Benson Boo Bash. Almost 10 years ago the local businesses of Benson decided to find a way to provide a family friendly event centered around the Halloween holiday.
From that first year, the Benson Boo Bash has grown into the celebration of the Benson community it is today. The Benson Boo Bash provides a safe opportunity for families to trick-or-treat along the main drag of Benson. The attractive thing for many families is the fact that the event is held during the day and treats are provided by the trusted merchants of the Benson community. Local Benson mother, Kristin Jones, enjoys the events because visitors get the opportunity to see shops that they wouldn’t normally get to go into, and the event itself is kid friendly.
Kathy Buchanan, President of the Benson Neighborhood Association, sees the Boo Bash as an opportunity to bring families from outside of Benson into the neighborhood so they may discover all of the shops, and sights Benson has to offer. Buchanan estimates that about half of the businesses in Benson participate in the Boo Bash by handing out candy, providing giveaways, and offering entertainment to the visiting families. In addition to the businesses participating in the candy distribution, several churches in Benson also host “trunk-or-treat” events to coincide with the Boo Bash.
The center point of the Boo Bash activities is the local Benson Community Center. The Boo Bash provides visitors the opportunity to actually go inside and discover what the center has to offer to Benson, as well as the entire city of Omaha. While most popular for its basketball leagues, the community center hosts various activities such as martial arts, dancing lessons, fencing practices, and other community activities. While not known to most, the center also provides rental space for events, parties, classes, and community meetings.
During the Boo Bash the center is the central hub of activity. Representatives from several organizations are represented and snacks are provided to hungry trick-or-treaters. The center’s gym also hosts different carnival style games as well as a bounce house. Recreation Supervisor Paula Garcia has seen the Benson Boo Bash grow over the years and sees it as a chance to showcase the Benson Community Center and the services it offers the community.
If you are looking to go the Boo Bash it runs from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm on Oct 29th. As parking can be limited, it is advisable to arrive early or be prepared to walk a couple of blocks. Trick or treating is concentrated between 58th and 63rd streets and the Community Center is a stop not to be missed. As this is a trick-or-treating activity, costumes are a must…even for the adults. There will be photo opportunities available as well as many fun surprises.