Manhattan College will transform from an institution of education to a mansion of monsters, princesses and superheroes.
Between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m., on Oct. 26, more than 40 clubs and organizations will commit to the celebration of “boo” — from the engineering club to the Manhattan Jaspers women’s basketball team, all for community youngsters.
Each club has secured space where they will offer those who dare candy and prizes as well as games with the kids.
It’s an annual event many look forward to, but one that would not be possible without the college’s education honor society, Kappa Delta Pi.
“I just think it really shows kids what’s in their community and that college really is attainable for you,” said Victoria Cruz, vice president of Kappa Delta. “When they see that we’re here and we’re really enthusiastic about our education, that’s good.”
Each classroom will be complete with college students in costume, games galore and creative activities like paper crafts, pumpkin carving and slime-making activities. Science, technology engineering and math fun, also known as STEM, will be part of the bustle as well. According to Kappa Delta member Shannon Kelly, a pumpkin patch on The Quad may even be in the works.
All classrooms will have a different theme, but all are meant to be fun and even a little educational. The free event is open to all the boys and ghouls — er, girls — of the Bronx. However, it’s elementary students from local schools that are the primary attendees.
“They’re obsessed with older kids, and they can’t believe we’re still students like them,” Kelly said. “And it’s important for them to see that there’s a college here.”
Doing safe Halloween isn’t just about providing children with a harmless Hallow’s Eve alternative. It also embodies the charge of Kappa Delta Pi.
“Part of our mission of our honor society is giving back to our community and showing that we really do care and we want to help (the students) succeed in whatever way possible,” Cruz said. “This is a way for them to get an opportunity that they may not get in their apartment.”
A room filled with books donated by society members and other organizations will be available for children to choose from and take home. It’s also an opportunity for children to make friends with other kids, said Cruz, who was interested in Kappa Delta before she had even enrolled at Manhattan College. Since being inducted her freshman year, Cruz has helped host three Safe Halloweens.
Part of being in the society is about building relationships with the community children, and through Safe Halloween, Kappa Delta members are given the chance to celebrate without any restrictions while serving as a barrier for all Halloween danger. And no, not the spirits that haunt the night, but instead what might be found among criminals on what is traditionally a violent night in the borough.
“We want to open the campus to make sure they have an awesome Halloween experience,” Cruz said. “Sometimes their building doesn’t allow (trick-or-treating), and their parents don’t feel safe enough to take them door-to-door. So many families come with a lot of their kids.”
Last year more than 300 kids — nearly all donning costumes — converged on The Quad at 4513 Manhattan College Parkway. It’s all designed for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade, but that hasn’t stopped some older kids — and even pre-schoolers — from being a part of the festivities as well, Cruz said. One year, a baby arrived dressed as a dinosaur while his stroller was decorated as a castle.
“We’ve been doing this for quite some time now,” Cruz said. “And each year it’s getting better and better. And we’re pretty excited about it.”