Manheim Boy Takes Second Place Grand Prize as Sibs Place First in Two Divisions (WATCH Parade VIDEO at end of story below)
Covered from batting helmet to cleats in gold paint and theatrical makeup, young Kelton Wenger knocked it out of the park on Saturday dressed as a life-sized baseball trophy in the Lititz Lions Halloween Parade. Kelton stood motionless in a batting stance atop a faux marble base bearing his name and the words “MVP All Star,” as his mother pushed and spun him through the parade.
The costume hit a home run with judges, who awarded him the second place Grand Prize and a hundred dollars in the first daytime parade.
His mother, Susan, didn’t think he could stand still for that long.
“He definitely surprised me,” said Susan Wenger, who had tried to discourage her son from donning the costume early in the selection process because of her concerns.
“He’s only six, and he’s a very active boy,” she said, adding that after demonstrating his ability to stand still during the parade, her son now has no excuse for not being able to sit still at church anymore.
Kelton’s costume got quite the reception along the parade route.
“It was cute because little children weren’t sure if he was real or not,” said Susan, who believes the daytime parade allowed for full appreciation of the costume that took her over eight hours to make.
Wenger managed to make two more costumes that also received recognition in this year’s event.
Her daughter, Karissa, 13, took home first place in the children’s division, most original costume category dressed as “the claw” machine complete with stuffed animals. John Jr., 10, walked off with first place honors in the children’s scariest costume as the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland.
You might say that Susan Wenger went 3-for-3 at this year’s parade.
“I love kid’s things, and I love being creative,” said the Penn Manor former first grade teacher and stay-at-home mom, noting that at sixteen hours from start to finish, daughter Karissa’s costume was the most time-consuming to make. It was also difficult for her daughter to wear due to the decision to not include armholes.
“She was a trooper,” said Wenger of her daughter, who wore a lion costume on her head covered with two crisscrossed, silver-painted headbands to look like the claw of the machine, making her less visible within the box costume.
“It ended up weighing far more than we expected,” Wenger said. She designed the costume from photos she took of a local machine, then she and her daughter used household items like the top of a soap dispenser, milk jug lids, and an old blush compact to craft the realistic-looking details on the outside.
“We had some child actually try to play the game,” she said.
Meanwhile, John Jr. wore a Mad Hatter costume that Wenger had designed for a previous Halloween, but with a new accessory: a massive green top hat, salvaged from a sale of cast-off costumes from Dutch Apple Dinner Theater.
“It was a fun event for my children,” said Wenger, who brought her family from Manheim for the parade because “Lititz is family friendly area.” She was happy that the parade was changed to daylight hours this year.
“It was easier to see the different costumes and floats,” she said, although the interior lights on her daughter’s costume weren’t visible during the day. Since the parade was previously held on a school night, she believes the switch to a Saturday morning was for the best.
“It just didn’t seem right to have kids on dark streets,” she said.
So what will Kelton Wenger do with his winnings? According to mom, it is going straight into savings.
Her children participated in Halloween parades this year in Hershey and Columbia, but the best outcome for them was right here in Lititz.
“We were very surprised to win one of the grand prizes,” she said. The Wengers have been involved in local baby parades, where Susan said the children developed a love for being in public. Halloween parades have become a new tradition for the family, including John Sr., who designed the base with wheels that allowed his son to stay still on the pedestal.
“My husband is creative in a different way,” said Wenger. “We work well together.”
Lynn Rebuck covers events for LititzDailyNews.com. She welcomes your comments and questions at editor@LititzDaily.com