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Princesses and more

No more teachers, no more books — just fairies, Indian princesses, superheroes, zombies, hunters, wild animals and happy families Thursday night at Pike Liberal Arts School for the annual Fall Festival.

Hundreds of children, from toddlers to teens, and their parents visited the school at 6 p.m. for games, food and spooky fun.

Around the perimeter, organizers had set up ring tosses for Cokes and Sprites, a fishing hole for brown bags of candy, bowling, beanbag throws, and other Halloween-themed games.

In the center of the cafetorium, a circle of kids walked with intense, open-mouthed concentration to “Monster Mash” around a table full of cakes, staring at their feet. On one go-around, a tiny boy in a baseball cap, unaware of the prize or even that he was playing a game, won a golden bundt cake.

Teacher Jenny Meadows stood on a stage filled with tables, where students played bingo for two paper tickets. Her boys, who are 2 and 4 and dressed up as Mario and Luigi, joined in the fun, too.

Meadows, who teaches 10th, 11th and 12th grade, felt reminiscent for her own school days as she watched the crowd.

“This is really exciting because I went to school here,” she said. “It brings back a lot of memories.”

Meadows said she remembers dressing up as Cyndi Lauper when she was a student. Now, she sees her students — the oldest at the school, and maybe too old for dress-up — mingling with and mentoring children 10 years younger.

“They see the little ones really look up to them,” she said.

For Meadows, seeing all of the students with their families creates a feeling of safety and warmth and togetherness. And a sense of fun, she said.

“It’s fun just to be able to relax, because the classroom is so formal,” she said.

Well, it’s not always so formal. Today, Meadows plans to dress up as a witch and light candles to teach her students about Edgar Allen Poe and Macbeth.

Down on the floor, 8-year-old Isabel Robledo waited in the ring toss line wearing a gold floor-length cape and a wide feathered headdress that bobbed whenever she nodded her head. For Isabel, who dressed up as an Aztec princess, her costume was a reflection of her history.

“It’s a Mexican-American tradition, and I’m half Mexican and half Puerto Rican,” she said. She walked away smiling after winning a 2-liter Diet Coke.

Other children’s costumes were a little more open for interpretation. Mom Kim Hollis, whose son Cody Hollis dressed in a white football jersey and a black-lipped, blacked-nosed, black-eared horror mask, offered her best guess of his costume.

“A zombie football player? I don’t know,” she said. “He just likes the mask.”