Halloween came a little early this year at Manhattan College. But then again, since it started inviting ghosts, princesses and superheroes, it’s always an early Halloween at the school.
“We’ve hosted this event for a long time,” said Isabel Quinones. She’s a senior at Manhattan College and co-president of Kappa Delta Pi, the school’s education honor society that hosts the annual Safe Halloween activities.
“We as an honor society and college love branching out into the community and inviting the children to see what a college campus looks like.”
So for an afternoon on Oct. 25, children donned their costumes and headed to campus, where they had a chance to trick or treat for their favorite candy or play some games.
What began as a small initiative to bring children to the school for trick or treating has turned into a campus-wide event with each of Manhattan’s 40 clubs and organizations now participating in some way.
While the event was open to the public, many of the kids attending already know members of Kappa Delta since many of the older students come and teach around Riverdale, lower Westchester and the rest of the Bronx. The campus quad at 4513 Manhattan College Parkway was filled with children of all ages last week, accompanied by their parents, dressed in costumes ranging from something simple and fun, to more elaborate costumes like Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk.
Each of the college’s clubs and organizations hosted a room in the buildings surrounding the quad offering educational activities, candy and prizes for children walking through. Kappa Delta also made sure kids went home not just with candy, but books, too, donated by local libraries or brought by Manhattan College students.
“We want everyone to know that the college is active in the community,” said junior Kelsey Kovacs, co-chair of community and campus events for Kappa Delta. “The goal of the event is to create an engaging, entertaining and festive space for children and families from our community to come and celebrate Halloween together.”
One of the families that have made the Safe Halloween event a regular annual stop is the Violas, this year dressed as the characters from the Pixar film “The Incredibles,” which features a superhero family. For them, it’s a great way to have their 5-year-old daughter Kendra come out and interact with the other kids her age.
Kendra’s favorite part of Safe Halloween? “Getting candy.”
Friends and Riverdale residents Amy Mason and Gabriela Henriquez made the trip out to the Manhattan College holiday gathering for the first time. They were there with their children participating in the educational activities and allowing their kids to run around and make new friends.
“Parents really look forward to this event, and always have great things to say about it,” Mason said.
Henriquez followed with, “We will definitely be back next year.”
Kappa Delta starts planning each year’s Safe Halloween right at the beginning of the semester, almost always reflecting back on previous years to see how they can make the next one even better.
But if nothing else, it’s an afternoon where parents can let kids be kids, and not have to be concerned about real-life threats much scarier than hauntings and zombies.
“Parents don’t have to be worried with our enclosed space,” said Kappa Delta advisor and Manhattan College professor Ruth Zealand. ‘Their children can run around and enjoy themselves.”
And the prizes? You can get them, but not for best costume. That way, Kappa Delta members are encouraging the Halloween spirit, allowing children to have fun without the pressure of competition.
“Sometimes parents think it’s scary and hazardous to trick or treat at night in certain neighborhoods,” said Zealand. “This event is supplemental and is in a safe environment, so it’s perfect for Halloween fun.”