KaBOOM!’s challenge to find ‘scary’ playgrounds

As we all know, on most holidays, marketers and public relations folks look for ways to “hook” their products or missions to the upcoming event. Halloween is roundly abused in this matter as we hear about all kinds of “scary” good deals.

That said, there is one such ploy I recently heard about that I think is ingenious: KaBOOM!’s scariest playground contest.


A playground damaged by from a wildfire in Texas. (Eric S. Swist/AP)

The “winners” will receive gift cards for personal use. But the real winners will be the communities around the nominated playgrounds.

Every person who offers up a broken-down playground will be encouraged to apply for one of several KaBOOM! grants to rehab the area. And, every nominated playground will be entered on a map that the group has created to find “play deserts.”

“Once we map the play spaces — including the good, the bad and the scary — we can be more strategic as to where we target our resources,” Darell Hammond said.

Hammond, (no relation to the Saturday Night Live comedian with a similar name) founded KaBOOM! in D.C. 15 years ago with the intention of helping underprivileged communities build playgrounds. The organization has grown into one that employs 85 people and builds plenty of playgrounds across the country. Two thousand so far. It’s like the Starbucks of playgrounds. It wants every kid to have a good playground within walking distance.

Not such a frightening concept after all.

Entries for the KaBOOM! contest must be received by Oct. 25. Winners will be announced on, what else, Halloween.

Do you live near a “scary” playground? What would it mean to the community for it to be refurbished?

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