Halloween outreach unites community

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Halloween outreach unites community

Elliot Park United will open North Central’s doors to the community for a family-friendly Halloween party.

On Oct. 31, Elliot Park United along with other IMPACT organizations will host the Community Fall Party – also known as the Halloween Outreach – as an alternative event to trick-or-treating for families in the neighborhood. The Lego Movie-themed party will feature carnival games, inflatable games, a costume contest, snack food, a community business fair for parents, and other activities from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Clark Danielson Gymnasium.

Elliot Park United co-director and junior social work major Rebecca Thomas comments that they hope the event will draw in over 500 people, which would be double of previous years’ attendances. Thomas and her co-director, sophomore business administration major Kari Mindeman, have advertised the event on posters in the community and in the Elliot Park news- letter.

Elliot Park United co-director Rebecca Thomas, IMPACT director
Jacob Nadelin and Elliot Park United co-director Kari Mindeman
hold boxes they made for candy donations. Boxes have been
placed on each resident floor and other places around campus.

“We definitely want it to be bigger than it has been in past years,” said Thomas. “I think one way that would change is definitely if we had more North Central people show up.”

Students can volunteer on the night of the event by showing up in a costume and assisting with one of the various activities. Yet, Thomas points out that the most impactful way students can help is by simply interacting with the children and parents who attend.

“We want people just to be there talking with people in the community,” said Thomas. “It’s a really good opportunity to get to know the people around us.”

According to Mindeman, there are two other key ways in which students can get involved with the event.

First, students can participate in the candy drive. The party needs hundreds of bags of candy, and Elliot Park United relies on the North Central community to donate all of the candy.

Boxes for collection have been placed on each residence floor, in addition to the commuter lounges, apartment buildings, and staff and faculty offices. Every few days, the bags of candy will be collected and weighed by Thomas and Mindeman. The community that collects the most candy will be given $40 to add to their budget.

Another role that students can take is to pray for the event.

“[Pray that] there would be powerful interactions between students and kids, and… that they would feel the love of Christ through the students in this place that’s safe and full of love,” said Mindeman.

Elliot Park United encourages students to participate in the Community Fall Party in the most plausible way they can. Thomas and Mindeman agree that the event cannot function effectively without candy, volunteers and prayer.

“It’s such a tangible way we can bless the community, and it opens up adults’ and kids’ eyes to who we are as a college,” said Mindeman.

Sign-up sheets will be available during the lunch hour in the deli over the next few weeks for students wishing to volunteer.