NW Children’s Theater’s new location, The Judy, is a special place to celebrate the seasons.
We took my son (aka Spiderman) to the Halloween Ball in downtown Portland, an interactive, family friendly event hosted by Northwest Children’s Theater. The event was located at their new location, The Judy Kafoury Center for Youth Arts. The event started at 10 a.m. (which is perfect for families with children that are still napping). The actors did a superb job, individually welcoming the children into the building, commenting on their costumes and making kid-friendly small talk to make them feel at home. As families made their way into The Grand Lobby, the actors asked children how they would like to be introduced during the grand entrance. Each kid, (with parent support) walked down the main stairs, announced either by their name or as their costume character. Every child had their turn to be the star of the ball, as their adoring fans (other families) cheered them on.
Next, the cast announced we would all walk into the “magical attic” for storytime in The Black Box theater. The actors began their Halloween story, which had great comedic timing to keep the adults laughing. The children in the audience were fully engaged, because the actors improvised the plot of the story with input directly from them. After storytime, there was a snack break at the concession stand, selling everything from spooky LED popcorn to traditional kid snack favorites (with healthy choices too!).
After a quick snack break, the families were invited into the Family Cinema where the actors performed Halloween songs that encouraged the now pumped up kids to sing along. The last act of the event was a family dance party on stage with the actors, which was a perfect ending to a fun themed morning.
The event was timed perfectly for families in mind. The start time, interactive acts, fun transitions to different locations of the building, snack time and a duration that was reasonable showed that this children’s theater has experience keeping children and their families engaged and enjoying themselves.
We were impressed with the singing, acting and kindness of the actors (the cool cat, the pirate and the princess). The princess noticed that my son was hesitant to participate during the interactive story in the attic. She gently held his hand, as the kids and actors acted out the story. That gentle awareness, gave our neurodivergent son the confidence to go from nervous and cautious to silly and creative.
The Halloween Ball continues every Saturday and Sunday in October, at 10:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. Adults are $15, youth $10, and infants are free. Get tickets here.
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