By Heidi Hertensen
With the possibility for many Halloween events to be canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of volunteers has found a safe way to have some "spooktacular" fun in southwest Iowa with a painted rock Halloween Scavenger Hunt.
The Kindness Rock Project, which can be described as a treasure hunt for both kids and adults, was started in 2015 on Cape Cod by Megan Murphy. Since then, the project has become more popular and numerous Facebook groups can now be found in conjunction with this project.
The purpose of the project is to paint encouraging messages or images on rocks and place them around any town for people to find. Located on the bottom of the rock, it will list which Facebook group left the painted rock. The person finding the rock can then go to that Facebook page, join the group and post a picture of the rock they found. They can then keep the rock or rehide it for someone else to find and track where it goes on that Facebook page.
Anita Baker of Farragut started painting rocks as a hobby after retiring. With the looming threat of trick-or-treating being canceled this year, she wanted to find a safe way for kids to have some Halloween fun still. Two Facebook groups, SWI Rocks and Clarinda Rocks, have incorporated The Kindness Rock Project idea into a Halloween Scavenger Hunt for southwest Iowa.
The group of volunteers will place three items into a baggie. There will be a painted rock, a pirate token, and a memo giving the information on what Facebook page to visit to log your find. The bags will then be hidden in towns within Page, Fremont, Montgomery, and Mills Counties.
The dates and towns where rocks will be hidden are as follows:
Clarinda: Oct. 1-8
Shenandoah: Oct. 1-8
Red Oak: Oct. 9-13
Glenwood: Oct. 14-20
Farragut: Oct. 21-25
Riverton: Oct. 21-25
Hamburg: Oct. 25-30
Sidney: Oct. 25-30
Tabor: Oct. 25-30
To qualify, a picture of the rock and token found in the bags must be posted on both SWI Rocks and Clarinda Rocks Facebook pages within the dates for each town. Baker said kids could go to multiple towns to search for the rocks. To post, Baker said you must join the Facebook groups to have access or have someone that is a member post them for you.
Baker is working on putting together three Halloween baskets as prizes, which will go to the three kids finding and posting the most rocks. You must find at least five rocks and post a picture of the rock and token found in the bag to qualify to win one of three prizes. Baker said prizes would be delivered to the winners.
A map showing the towns and dates where rocks will be hidden can be found on both SWI Rocks and Clarinda Rocks Facebook page.
Baker said she is still looking for more volunteers to paint rocks, help hide rocks and track the rocks that have been picked up and posted. She is also looking for additional donations for the prize baskets. To volunteer or donate, contact Baker by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
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