The Alweheiby family -- from left, Julie, 20-month-old twins Zayd and Maya, and Ahmed, attend the Halloween Hoot l at California Elementary School in Costa Mesa on Friday. (KEVIN CHANG, Daily Pilot / October 25, 2013)

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As the moon rose above California Elementary School on Friday night, masked and cloaked figures emerged from nearby parking lots.

Students, their families and community members, some dressed in costume, celebrated the spooky Oct. 31st holiday early at the elementary school's seventh annual Halloween Hoot.

Cari Christie, president of the Parent-Teacher Assn., helped organize the carnival, which aims to entertain and bring families together to raise money for the school's foundation.

"We're trying to bring the entire community to the school," she said. "It's a good way for everyone to come together and have fun."

The event featured old-fashioned carnival games such as ring toss, bean bag toss and putt-putt, which challenged players to putt a golf ball into a hole on the first try. There was also a pumpkin patch, where families could purchase a pumpkin to paint at the festival or take home, and a giant pumpkin raffle.

Last year, the Halloween Hoot raised about $2,000 for the foundation, an amount Christie hopes to surpass this year.

The haunted house was a student favorite at the carnival, judging by the line that snaked its way across the blacktop of the school yard for the majority of the night.

However, some found the haunts to be a bit too frightening.

A young girl, donning a sparkling fairy costume adorned with pink and silver wings, clutched her mother's hand tightly as she approached the clanging double doors of the multi-purpose room.

Dense fog billowed out as the doors opened, exposing a lone masked jester daring children to step inside the tainted yellow room.

The girl looked up at her mother with wide eyes and began to retreat from the frightful scene. Just as the girl stepped away, Alyson Amezcua, 6, approached haunted house, pausing with just a moment's hesitation.

She remained calm stepping through the fog as masked and bloodied middle and high school students jumped from behind curtains, snorting and snapping their tongues, hoping to illicit a scream from the first-grade California Elementary student.

Amezcua raised her eyebrows at them and announced her fearlessness with a laugh.

"This isn't that scary," she said.

Those who opted for a more musical activity participated in the cake walk, including 11-year-old Megan James, who emerged victoriously from the game clutching a cake decorated with orange frosting and a black spider web.

James, a sixth-grader at California Elementary, has been attending the carnival since she was in kindergarten.

"It's a cool way to hang out and have fun with my friends," she said. "The cake walk is my favorite game. We do it every year."

Principal Matt Broesamle said he was impressed with this year's attendance.

"It's definitely our most popular event all year," he said. "It's a great event to bring families together to get to know one another."