Annual event ushers in Halloween

Although it seems a bit late in the season, you can catch a few fireflies tonight amid the front-porch ghouls and goblins.

Youngsters such as 9-year-old Lily Bosely will be out in force for Halloween — just as they were for Saturday’s Night of a Thousand Jacks. The annual fundraiser supports Advocates For Children, a nonprofit agency that provides help for children who have been victims of neglect or abuse.

The youngster stood out from a crowd — so much so that her costume was chosen as most creative in the age 6 to 10 category. It’s easy to understand why she remained so visible among a throng organizers estimated to reach 3,500 by night’s end.

She sported a homemade lightning bug costume with working wings and another segment that lit up every few seconds, thanks to some help from a battery pack that dad Michael Bosely rigged and hid under his daughter’s apparel.

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“She often decides very early what she wants to be,” said mom Leyna Bosely, who acknowledged that a summertime decision helped with costume creation. “And this is my creative outlet.”

The night featured 16 carved pumpkin patches on display for attendees to vote for, with each vote ticket in canisters representing a $1 donation to the cause — a process that continues until midnight tonight.

Low lighting and near darkness in one vacant store space made for optimal display for the jacks to smile both menacingly and whimsically, depending upon the tone and theme of the patch.

One display from disc jockey Matty O Entertainment featured a recording of spooky, suspenseful music playing.

Another patch from Columbus Utilities featured a heavy emphasis on polished, artistic flair, with a cartoonish, hand-painted face on a pumpkin near a teal-painted jack-o-lantern, affixed with beaded-oriented patterns, and carved with a figurine of Cinderella inside.

“There’s a great variety here,” said Betty Welch. “I’m a big supporter of this (cause). It’s such a wonderful thing.”

Among the most popular costume choices was Disney character Elsa from the movie, “Frozen.”

Layla Fox, 18, came decked out like a pirate, complete with tricorn hat, a sword at her side and boots on her feet.

Close by stood 3-year-old Gemma Patterson in a green Tinkerbell outfit that won her the title of cutest in the 5-and-younger category. Mom Emily Patterson made the costume.

The little one mentioned she loved “playing all the games,” as did Timothy Nickell Jr., who tried his hand repeatedly at the Pumpkin Skee-ball, one of the elements of entertainment created by local C4 students.

At the Witch’s Ring Toss, Columbus East High School cheerleader Kara Allen watched over the game and distributed candy to competitors.

“The little kids have really had fun with this,” she said.

Youth ages 5 to 14 from Sonya’s Dance Zone busied themselves with fun in the form of zombie costuming and a closing-night dance number to Whodini’s “Freaks Come Out at Night.”

“Hey guys, just remember, this is supposed to be fun,” leader Sonya Denney said. “So if you happen to mess up, don’t worry. No one will know.”

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Columbus: 5 to 8 p.m.

Taylorsville: 5 to 8 p.m.

Hope: 6 to 8 p.m.

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Even if you missed Saturday’s Night of a Thousand Jacks fundraiser, you still can donate and vote for your favorite pumpkin patch today until midnight. Proceeds benefit Advocates for Children.

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