DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Families looking for a safe alternative to trick-or-treating or just some additional Halloween fun can support Ronald McDonald House families by seeing a movie at the Dixie Twin Drive-In Friday.
Reba Chenoweth, marketing and communications manager for RMHC, said many of their traditional fundraisers had to be canceled since the onset of COVID-19. She said hosting a Halloween movie night at the drive-in is a way to help make up for those events, while also sharing sentimental memories with the next generation.
“We came up with the idea of going to the drive-in because we have fond memories of going when we were kids, and we thought…people would be able to be isolated in their own cars, we won’t have to worry about contact, and it’ll just provide a way that kids can enjoy something that’s become tradition,” she said.
Offering a safe option that limits the chances of spreading COVID is especially important for vulnerable populations at the Ronald McDonald House, whose treatment or diagnosis may put them at risk of having severe cases of communicable diseases. However, the drive-in is also a safe alternative for families in the community that simply don’t want to risk exposing their kids to coronavirus. It also serves an option for kids who can’t trick-or-treat for other health or social reasons.
“The pandemic has been really isolating for a lot of people, myself included. And we thought this is an event that people can safely feel like they can get out, enjoy some time as a family, and at the same time help other families that are going through some very difficult circumstances,” said Chenoweth.
Amanda Wells is one parent facing those challenging circumstances. She and her daughter, Alex, moved from Westerville, Ohio to stay at the House while Alex receives advanced medical attention.
“We are here because my daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor, craniopharyngioma, back in May and she has had two different brain surgeries to try and remove the tumor and unfortunately, they haven’t been able to get it all out,” said Wells. “So they recommended proton radiation and we needed a place to stay close enough to the Cincinnati Proton Center.”
As a result of her experience, she said she hopes the public will attend the drive-in to support work the Ronald McDonald House is doing in the community.
“This place offered us a place to stay,” she said. “They provide food, they provide housing, they have everything we need here, and for them to keep this place running, it’s very important for kids like my daughter who need a place to stay,” said Wells. “And fundraising is what’s going to keep the lights on, keep all the amenities going, keep everybody taken care of.”
Al Bell, CEO of Levin Service Company, which owns the Dixie Twin Drive-In said it will be a worthwhile experience for everyone who attends, whether they are taking extra precautions to keep their kids safe and healthy, or simply coming out to enjoy a retro pastime.
“We have twin screens and a good, old-fashioned concession stand with very clean restrooms,” said Bell. We have a nice food offering and beverages, candy. We have plenty of room. Our parking lot holds 800 cars,” he said.
Chenoweth added, “One of the most rewarding things at the Ronald McDonald House is to see the community that builds between families. If you think about it, these families are at the hospital all day going through treatment, going through test. And at the end of the day, they need a break from that — a mental break. So if we can provide for them by giving them fun activities or promoting an event [where] they can leave the area where they’re surrounded by so much medical equipment, we want to do that.”
The drive-in movies will be held at the Dixie Twin Drive-In on Friday, October 29. Gates will open at 6 p.m., at which point there will be a Halloween parade and opportunities for kids to take photos with Halloween characters. Feature films will include the original Addams Family and Coraline and will begin around 7:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased upon arrival for $25 per car, or in advance for $20 per car. To purchase tickets online, click here.