Students help local children trick or treat

A combination of about 30 fairies, ninjas and princesses met at the Hippodrome Saturday morning to take part in Kidsfest, a Halloween-themed event pairing the GW community with local elementary school children.

Kidsfest featured a carnival and trick-or-treating through student residence halls. The event was co-sponsored by the Residence Hall Association, Class Council and the Neighbors Project

“This was a really great chance for college students to interact with little kids,” sophomore Pooja Chaturuedi said. “It helps keep us grounded, and it’s a lot of fun.”

The children came from after-school programs sponsored by New Community and Martha’s Table, two community service organizations, through GW’s Neighbors Project. The event officially kicked off at 11 a.m. in the Hippodrome, where the children participated in face painting, a haunted kitchen, picture frame making, pumpkin painting, mask making and a dance contest.

“The kids are definitely enjoying themselves and everyone’s having a lot of fun,” said sophomore Katie Guccione, director of programming for RHA.

After two hours of partying, the children were divided into two groups and led to residence halls for trick-or-treating. Candy-filled halls included Crawford, Mitchell, Lafayette, Strong and New halls and the Hall on Virginia Avenue.

“We didn’t have time to get to all of the halls we would have liked to,” said senior Ariel Gold, community service director for RHA. “We tried, but there just wasn’t enough time and the kids had to get back home.”

Halls that were skipped over included The Dakota, The West End and Fulbright and Thurston halls.

“I was a little disappointed that no trick-or-treaters came, but it was really no big deal,” said freshman Eric Jesse, a Thurston Hall resident.

Unlike last year, the event was held after Halloween due to scheduling conflicts. Guccione noted that they would have liked for Kidsfest to have been held the weekend before Halloween, but “A Night to Give Back” was held that weekend. It would have been too much for RHA to take on in such a short amount of time, she said.

Roughly 50 children showed up last year, 20 more than this year’s event.

“We had a group director cancel and a school cancel, so that’s why there aren’t as many kids here as we expected,” said senior Shirin Bidel-Niyat, a corps member at the New Community After-School and Advocacy Program. “But this is actually pretty beneficial because it allows more one-on-one time between the students and the kids.”

About 40 GW students, all members of RHA, Class Council or Neighbors Project, volunteered their Saturday afternoon to help out with the event.

“This is my second year doing the program,” said junior Josh Schimmerling, vice president of Class Council. “I had a great time doing it last year, so I knew I’d definitely do it again.” Schimmerling donned a Tigger costume for the event, noting that he “probably got a few weird looks walking over from Columbia Plaza.”

Gold, who organized the event with Bidel-Niyat and senior Michelle Milberg, Class Council president, said the day as a huge success.

“I really couldn’t have asked for a better day and a better event,” she said. “Besides the fact that the kids were having a great time, it was great to see so many GW students breaking away from the trend and really helping out in the community.”

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