It was a colorful and festive Tuesday night at Drexel Elementary School as the school held its unique Trick or Read Family Night event for school staff, students and their families. The event was scheduled as Drexel’s Title 1 reading night.

The family event featured a number of stations related to Halloween set up throughout the school, including “spooky storytelling,” a “monster mash dance” and a “spooky art activity.” The school set up mystery boxes, where students had to guess what materials were used to compose certain spooky body parts — the fingers were made of Vienna sausages, and ears were made of dried apricot.

In the cafeteria, students played with ghost slime — a concoction of shaving cream, contact solution and Elmer’s glue. Additionally, there was a flip grid video station where students could record themselves using an Ipad and talk about their favorite Halloween stories that they heard this week, according to Drexel Principal Jessie Gravel. The school’s media coordinator had been reading the students Halloween stories throughout the week in the library, Gravel said.

Gravel is in her second year at the school and first as principal — she was assistant principal last year, and said the event is a Drexel Elementary tradition.

Trick or Read Family Night is a perfect event to allow kids a chance to engage in fun with their parents, while also showcasing what they have been working on in school, Gravel said.

“It’s a good way for parents to see what the kids can do with technology and hear them talk about what they’ve been reading,” she said. “We want the parents to get involved tonight and not just watch the kids make the art or make the song, but actually get in there with them.”

Each class designed and painted pumpkins based on a chosen book character — such as the Grinch, Peppa the Pig and the Hungry Caterpillar, as part of the event’s Perky Pumpkin silent auction. The proceeds raised from the silent auction will go toward aiding Drexel Elementary teachers to buy school supplies for their classrooms, Gravel said.

Though Gravel is in her second year at the school and first as principal — she was assistant principal last year, she said the event is a Drexel Elementary tradition.

Many teachers dressed up in themed costumes, too. The first-grade teachers dressed up as Expo markers, and the kindergarten teachers wore Wonder Woman-themed outfits. The second-grade teachers got together to appear as “The Price Is Right” game show contestants.

Students were eager to participate in the event throughout the week, Gravel said.

“You could tell it at school today (that they were excited,” she said. “They always love to come to (Trick or Read.) It is special for them to see their teachers dressed up. They don’t see their teachers dressed up a lot, so it really makes the teachers feel more human to them, I think.”

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Johnny Casey can be reached at or 828-432-8907.

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