MARCO ISLAND — Nine-year-old, Bailey Dunstan slid and hopped to the “Electric Slide” along with 20 other kids at the Greater Marco Family YMCA’s annual Halloween Social on Friday.
Dunstan and her friends attended the first half of the social, which took place from 5 to 7 p.m. for students in grades three to five. Students in the sixth, seventh and eight grades had their dance from 7 to 9 p.m.
“We do this for the kids,” said Charlene Garcia, a pre-school teacher at the YMCA and a chaperone at the dance. “It’s a chance to get them to socialize, let them have fun and it gives them another chance to wear their costumes.”
Dunstan came with two of her friends, Avorie Anderson and Katharine Spina. The three girls wore black shirts with a cat face on the front and called themselves the “kitties.” They purred their way to third place in the costume contest. Losing to a pair of pirates and a fairy phantom.
“It was fun to hear everyone screaming for us,” said Anderson while taking a break from dancing, “We didn’t win, but that’s ok.”
They obviously took the loss well. The three girls were back on the dance floor just minutes after, shaking it to the Black Eye Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow.”
That song and others from the group are popular among the elementary school set, according to the social’s disc jockey, Steve Reynolds. However, there are some artists that are not as cool anymore.
“I played Justin Beiber earlier and a girl came up to me and said, ‘don’t play that,’ ” said Reynolds, who has been the DJ for many of the YMCA’s dances, with a laugh. “They don’t like Miley Cyrus either.”
When the first half concluded at 7 p.m. and the younger kids left, it was time for the older students to hit the dance floor.
“The older ones really just like to dance,” said Laura Hernandez, the assistant coordinator at the YMCA, “And they like to hang out with their friends from school.”
It started off slow with the girls sticking to one corner of the gym and the smaller group of boys on the other. As the music picked up and some girls began to dance, both groups quickly intermingled. By the time Usher’s song “Yeah!” came on, about 25 middle schoolers had formed a circle and all were breaking it down.
“This is one of my favorite songs,” said Vanessa Torres, 12, a student at Marco Island Charter Middle School.
After a few songs, the students formed two teams to play the “mummy wrap,” a game to see which team can wrap a person in toilet paper and send them to the finish line faster. Eleven-year-old Kamryn Bertrand’s group took a couple of seconds to figure out how to wrap her, but soon got her spinning in toilet paper. She made it to the gym’s free throw line first, making her team the winners.
“I got a little dizzy and I thought I was going to fall,” said a sweaty Bertrand in between sips of fruit punch, “But I had a lot of fun.”
The Y hosts the Halloween Social every year along with four to five other events. The next one is the “Boo”tacular Celebration for families with children under 5 on Friday.