Imagine gathering your teammates, dressing up for Halloween and making this spooky holiday special — and safe — for kids in your neighborhood.
That’s exactly what Adriana Morrone, a volleyball and softball player at Holy Cross (Waterbury, Conn.), and her classmates did last weekend when they hosted “Halloween Happening.”
“My teammates, coaches and I have a special bond on and off the court,” Morrone says. “Doing this event together only strengthens that bond by spending more time together.”
According to Martie Giammatteo, director of student activities at Holy Cross, about 400 students participate in the event, which has been going on for 10 years.
Teams or clubs take over one of the school’s designated “Trick or Treat” rooms, decorate it, and dress up in a costume that fits the designated theme.
Originally funded by a grant from the Paul Newman Foundation, the school and students have been raising money for this event themselves for the past few years.
“We do this event as a ‘thank you’ to the community for housing us in the neighborhood,” Giammatteo says. “Our students understand the necessity of serving others in the community.”
The elementary school children are led down a trick-or-treating path through all of the decorated classrooms, then wind up in the “pumpkin patch” (aka the school gym). They’ll meet Charlie Brown and friends by The Great Pumpkin, listen to a DJ, have snacks provided by the high school’s moms’ club and do arts and crafts that they can take home with their bags of treats.
After all of the elementary school students leave for the day, the high school students clean up, then have a hot dog dinner dance party of their own with the DJ.
The good times carry over to the court, Morrone says.
“A team needs a sense of unity,” the senior says. “If you spend time with one another, you understand another person's intentions and you start acting as one as a team, then that is displayed on the court when we play.”
How to Make it Happen At Your School
The student activities committee begins their work the first week of school to determine a date, discuss ideas and decide on a theme — this year at Holy Cross it was “Under the Big Top.”
Giammatteo stresses that having a great committee is an important component of making this event happen.
“Each committee knows their goal and they work towards that,” she says.
A letter goes out to the two local elementary schools requesting that each child bring in one bag of candy to be distributed at the event. Once the child hands in their bag of candy, they get an admission ticket for the Saturday afternoon event, usually held the week before Halloween.
Other candy comes in from the high school students who have a class competition to see who brings in the most weight in candy. The winning class gets a prize like a free rootbeer float at lunch. More donations come in from the faculty and the teams and clubs who are participating in the event.
Or, Just Steal This Idea!
It's surely too late to pull off the big event this year, but how about jumping on this idea? Holy Cross High School takes the leftover candy at the end of the event over to a local nursing home so the senior citizens can then give it out to neighborhood kids on Halloween night. Ask your teammates to each bring a bag of candy to your next practice and drop it off at your local senior center.