Falling for Fall; Toddlers enjoy autumnal festivities at SuperFresh

Published 9:12 am Friday, October 5, 2018

Griffin Bresser, 2, wandered into what appeared an endless maze at SuperFresh Grocery and Gardens on Tuesday night. For a toddler, this maze was entering into a whole other world.

He encountered dead ends, looked at the witches and ghosts that were hanging overhead and spotted the exit a couple feet away. Navigating the straw bales, Griffin finally found his way out of the maze and was greeted by SuperFresh employees dressed in full costume as witches, pirates and princesses.

“You did it!” a pirate exclaimed, to which Griffin smiled widely and followed her to the next station. His mother, Brie Bresser, 31, watched on with a look of happiness.

Left to right: Carmen Srock, SuperFresh Grocery and Gardens employee, and Merlene Stiles, co-owner of SuperFresh, show off their Halloween spirit as part of Toddler Tuesdays, where young children can experience fall fun and eat sweet treats in October.

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This marked the first year that SuperFresh offered Toddler Tuesdays. These special events are for providing toddlers and young children additional fall festivities that were not-so-scary fun, as well as giving them a chance to enjoy the changing of the seasons in a welcoming space.

The activities specifically run on Tuesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. However, the toddlers can come by during business hours during the week to take a walkthrough of the toddler maze throughout October.

Jim Stiles, owner of SuperFresh, dressed as “Farmer Jim” and helped children play “bowling” with pumpkins and pins. He also presented toddlers with a small bowl of fake plastic eyeballs, and had them count how many were inside.

Jim Stiles, owner of SuperFresh Grocery and Gardens, watches Griffen Besser, 2, dump out a bowl of fake eyeballs during Toddler Tuesdays at SuperFresh.

“It’s so fun to have the little kids out and give them something to do,” Stiles said. “We try to make it fun for all them. I thought it’d be a fun activity for families to have something that was close to town. It’s open during business hours and the families enjoy it.”

One of the new activities that Stiles decided would be fun for toddlers was a small hay bale maze inside the garden center at SuperFresh. Decorated with Halloween items such as jack-o-lanterns, ghosts and witches, Stiles said it took about a week for the maze to be completed. With bales stacked tall enough for the toddlers to navigate—and short enough for parents to see over—the maze was an added activity that embodied fall fun.

Providing more activities for younger children during Halloween was something that Katelyn Tigner, 27, of Austin could get behind. She and her toddler Colton Husemoller, 3, also walked the maze and took some time to enjoy candy while listening to Dawn Tracy, a SuperFresh employee dressed as a princess, read a story.

Katelyn Tigner, 27, of Austin and her son, Colton Husemoller, 3, listen to a story read by Dawn Tracy, a SuperFresh Grocery and Gardens employee.

“There’s a lot of activities for older kids, but not a lot for younger ones,” Tigner said. “(SuperFresh) has nice goodies for the kids and pumpkin bowling. I’d come back again.”

Brie shared that she loved the Stiles family and wanted to come out to Toddler Tuesday at SuperFresh. She and Griffin walked through the maze, and had a chance to grab some sweet treats that were prepared for them. More than a couple times, she’d run through the maze after Griffin, who’d giggle and run through the paths.

“Griffin’s been in the maze more times than I can count,” Brie laughed.

Kayla Sprung, 29, and her daughter, Claire, 2, both of Osage, Iowa, venture inside the Toddler Maze.

The activities weren’t just fun for the toddlers, but also the adults who donned their costumes and interacted with the children as they played in the gardens. Carmen Srock, an employee who dressed as a pirate, and Charman Starman, another employee dressed as a witch, both took delight in seeing toddlers during business hours.

“There’s really not a whole lot of things for little kids,” Srock said. “It’s kind of fun, and there’s no overcrowding. It’s much more low key. We loved doing this. It’s fun.”