As the air turns crisp and the leaves begin to change, it’s clear that fall is here. It’s on a crisp, fall night in October that the Lincoln Children’s Zoo opens its gates to over 12,000 kids. Families don the garb of Disney characters, Halloween favorites and some truly unique costumes as they brave the bitter temperatures and descend upon the zoo in search of candy. What’s normally a sanctuary for all your favorite animals becomes Lincoln’s biggest trick-or-treat event five nights each Halloween season.
Beginning October 26th, the Lincoln Zoo changes its sign to Boo and over 40 different Lincoln companies set up booths of varying “merry, but not scary” themes. Companies range from different industries, including Wells Fargo, Duncan Aviation and Firespring, of course, to name a few. Volunteers from each prepare to hand out thousands of pieces of candy to infants, toddlers and young children alike.
And if you’ve never been, like me, Boo at the Zoo is quite a sight to be seen. Cobwebs, pumpkins and spiders are scattered throughout the grounds, the Monster Mash fills the air and an abundance of characters can be seen making their way through each booth. And even as temperatures dipped to 40 degrees, trick-or-treaters and volunteers stayed strong. At Firespring’s booth, we volunteers stayed warm by dancing to the theme songs from the popular movie that inspired our booth theme for the year, Trolls.
What few might realize is that apart from providing children and families with a fun and safe environment to partake in Halloween festivities, Boo at the Zoo serves first and foremost as the Lincoln Zoo’s biggest fundraiser. As the weather turns cold, Zoo patronage tends to die off. Nonetheless, animals still need to be fed and cared for and Zoo workers still need to keep the grounds in shape. Boo at the Zoo provides them with the revenue to maintain one of Lincoln’s favorite places.
When it comes to fundraising, Boo at the Zoo hits the nail on the head, as it’s clear throughout the night just how much families love coming to this event. Moreover, working a booth is an enjoyment all its own; children’s faces’ light up upon recognizing some of their favorite characters, and your heart can’t help but melt at the adorable costumes and little expressions of gratitude from each. It’s no doubt an event that I’m glad Firespring attaches its name to, and one I know I’ll be volunteering for again.
If Boo at the Zoo is an experience unbeknownst to you, whether as a volunteer or patron, don’t hesitate to plan your costume and purchase tickets come next season. You’ll be in for a night of Halloween fun, and take joy in knowing that the animals are well cared for until they reemerge for spring.