By Michele RobertsonWe all know that 2020 kept a lot of events, plans, and activities from happening, but thanks to one group, the holidays were a little brighter here in Carlsbad. The Facebook group called Hometown Holidays and Events in Carlsbad, NM is a community driven page that aims to ensure the holidays in our town still happen on some scale for our children, no matter what life throws at us and ourselves. The group is the brainchild of Stephanie Williams; she and several other women (Demitri Ambrose, Jasmine Olivas,and Doni Rosenbaum) continue to manage the page. “I originally started the page back in August of last year to recruit the town to help ‘decorate the town spooky,’ Williams Shared. “COVID-19had already taken away so much from our kids...holidays, events,school, extracurricular activities all gone. As a mother,it was heartbreaking to watch so much of my daughter's life be taken from her. I worried what Halloween would look like that year so I thought what if I recruit the town to help decorate the town for Halloween? Kids love driving around looking at Christmas lights, surely they would love to see Halloween decorations too!” With the help of friends, word of the page quickly spread and the fun began. Many community members agreed to decorate their yards for Halloween so that people could drive around and look at the Halloween decorations like we do at Christmas looking at the light displays. “Jasmine Olivas had reached out to me with the idea of a ‘You’ve Been Booed’bucket, something that could be contactless but would brighten these kids' holiday season. So we organized that and after everything was said and done over 500 kids in Carlsbad had participated in the Boo Bucket Exchange. The page continued to snowball after that, Demitri Ambrose had reached out to me to offer to help with anything I might organize for the page in the future. With the help of her and a few other women we started a month worth of events. Scavenger hunts, costume/pumpkin/house decorating contest, Halloween trivia, support your local witches Sunday’s, activities to do at home for the kids...the list goes on and on,” Williams explained. This page is the one that organized the Keep Carlsbad Safe Trick or Treat Route; which was a Google map of about 70-80 houses around town that agreed to provide safe, contactless/socially distanced, trick-or-treating. Hundreds of families and children used the map last year.
“It was quite possibly one of my prouder moments in life to do something for the community that was so needed at the time. That was no easy feat and it was hard asking so many people to do something “different” but I was so proud of our community for jumping in to make Halloween as fun and normal as we possibly could while keeping the kids safe,” Williams said.“We went to work immediately after Halloween and did similar contests and activities for Christmas to keep spirits up with another main goal in mind to help small businesses for the holiday season. Our sponsor recruitment tripled from October to December. Doni Rosenbaum joined us in November of last year to help me with all the sponsor sign ups and our virtual Black Friday Event. We had another successful month of events and helped numerous small businesses in the process.” added Williams. “The number one thing this page has done for not only me I’m sure but also many others is help us notice what a giving and supportive community Carlsbad is. I’m personally proud to be a part of it after seeing how giving people are around here. If anyone ever has a problem or needs something I realize all they have to do is ask and people will drop everything for aide,” shared Ambrose.“On a personal level this page is what boosted my business so much last year that we were able to open an actual brick and mortar building in a year,and I will forever be grateful to Stephanie for that! So small businesses and other businesses of course, I definitely recommend becoming an event sponsor! It’s worth every penny and minute of time donated!” added Ambrose.Participation on the page is highest around the holidays, September through December. The page continues to share family friendly event information throughout the year for followers to see. Many events and activities are planned for the month of October, be sure to find the page online and follow it to stay up-to-date on all the happenings. October events include: ●Boo Bucket Exchange ●Carlsbad’s Little Pumpkins Scavenger Hunt ●Virtual Monster Books & Crafts with Ashley Hernandez●Cruella's Mask Design ●Masquerade Contest ●Kid & Adult Pumpkin Contest
●Charcuterie Halloween Contest ●Halloween DIY Contest ●Halloween Costume Contest ●Most Spooktacular House in Carlsbad Contest Spooktacular Houses To See In Carlsbad Map (decorated houses around town)“I would just like to say a thank you to the community of Carlsbad for making the page such a hit and glad it’s enjoyed. It’s a lot of work (volunteer work!) on our end as admin especially Stephanie but seeing the community of Carlsbad come together in such a positive way makes everything worthit. Thank you Stephanie Williams again and if anyone who enjoys the page has an extra second in their day I would definitely take it to thank her too,” shared Ambrose. “I just want to thank Stephanie Willams for all that she has done! She works non stopon this page. Day and night getting things all organized, making sponsor ads, scheduling events, keeping track of comments and messages, all for free just so the community has something to do,” exclaimed Rosenbaum. “We’re thankful to have such an amazing community that comes together to make the holidays special for the kids in this town. We hope everyone has an amazing Halloween this year!” stated Williams