Temple students make effort to provide safer, more fun Halloween activities

Residents of Peabody, members of Temple’s NPHC host Halloween events for local kids

With Halloween right around the corner, many college students are picking out last minute accessories for their costumes or wondering which party to attend on Friday night. Others are making an effort to create a safe, fun atmosphere for local Philadelphia children to participate in the age-old traditions of trick-or-treating, being spooked by haunted houses and other Halloween events.

The residents of Peabody Hall and members of Temple’s National Pan-Hellenic Council have come up with alternatives to traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating for youth in the communities surrounding Temple’s Main Campus.

Peabody Hall will be filled with children from the surrounding neighborhoods on Friday, Oct. 31. The program was coordinated by the Peabody Hall Senate, resident assistants and Campus Safety Services.

Youngsters in costume will begin to fill the residence hall at 5 p.m. to request candy from residents. In preparation for the event, residents are competing with in a friendly contest that will test their Halloween hall-decorating abilities.

Nu’Rodney Prad, a member of the Peabody Hall staff, helped organize the event this year. Prad said he is unsure how many children would be in attendance. Participants may include community children as young as 5 or 6 years old or as old as 13.

Residents are looking forward to getting involved, as they have expressed an interest in helping out with the event.

“I think [the residents] like [the event],” Prad said. “Personally, I think it exposes them to people at Temple and allows people to dive into other cultures within the community.”

Prad said he believes events like this one “promote community involvement” and hopes it “teaches people to give back.”

“We owe the neighborhood a lot,” he said.

The project is funded by the budget allocated each year to the Peabody Hall Senate and the RAs. Personnel from Campus Safety Services will also participate in event in order to aid children trick-or-treating. They have also contributed supplies.

Residents of Peabody Hall have participated in this event for at least three years.

Ryan Mastrangelo, a junior secondary education major, lived in Peabody Hall as a freshman and remembered the success of the event two years ago.

“I think it was fun,” Mastrangelo said. “It’s nice to be able to help out kids who may live in a community where they can’t go out and trick-or-treat on their own. It was nice to give them the trick-or-treating experience.”

Mastrangelo said he remembered that he and his fellow residents “really got into” the whole event, especially the decorating of their halls. He said he took the time and effort to black out the overhead florescent lights with construction paper, creating a “spooky” haunted house-like setting for the children.

“You can’t just think of yourself as a Temple student,” he said. “You have to think of yourself as a member of the Philadelphia community as well, and helping out with these events reminds you of that.”

The residents of Peabody Hall are not the only students on campus who will be giving back to their community this Halloween season.

Temple’s National Pan-Hellenic Council, an international organization comprised of nine fraternities and sororities, is also offering an alternative to the custom of door to door trick-or-treating.

The organization is sponsoring a “Costume & Candy” Halloween party tomorrow night from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Underground at the Student Center. According to event fliers, there will be face-painting, free food, games and a costume contest for area children.

Genisha Wallace, the president of NPHC, said 40 to 50 children from after-school programs from Paul L. Dunbar Elementary School and Norris Apartments will be in attendance. Wallace said many parents of local young children expressed an interest in participating, and the NPHC expects to host nearly 100 youngsters.

“With the prevalence of violence in this community, it is important to have safe alternatives for children,” she said. “We are also hoping that this will help introduce students to campus in a positive way that makes them feel valued, safe and respected as members of the community.”

“Hopefully, this event will be successful and allow us to start a new tradition within our organization,” Wallace said.

This will be the first Halloween which Temple’s NPHC has planned such an event.

It is, Wallace added, one of many events that will comprise its ‘We Do More Than Just Step’ campaign, which concentrates on community involvement by the organization.

“We want to show Temple students, as well as the community,” she said. “That we are service-oriented organizations, and we do not only perform.”

Chelsea Calhoun can be reached at chelsea.calhoun@temple.edu.

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