Halloween High Jinks at Hillsides Scare Up Fun for the Charity’s Children

Barbara Robison and Dee Fisher decorate one of the cottages at Hillsides.Children and families partake in some spooktacular fun on Halloween Eve at Hillsides.Two children carve pumpkins during an event hosted by Western Asset Management.Western Asset Management employees volunteered their time during a pumpkin carving event they hosted for the children of Hillsides.

STAFF REPORTS

5:10 pm | November 7, 2013


Volunteers and staff scared up many events for the children of Hillsides in a “spook”-tacular outpouring of Halloween fun.

The season got an early start when weeks ago members of the Hillsides Guild, one of the agency’s support groups, decorated the children’s cottages with festive Halloween decorations to get the children in the Halloween mood. “This is something the Guild does every year, and the kids really get a kick out of it,” said Laura Kelso, the charity’s director of community outreach.

The activities then clicked into high gear beginning the weekend before Halloween. On Saturday, October 26, the children made Halloween masks with volunteers from the Pasadena National Charity League. “It was so cute to see how excited the kids were,” said volunteer Ruth Shankwiler, who, along with her daughter Carolyn, spent the afternoon helping out. “Even the older children got into it.”

Sunday, the children participated in a “Spooky Sunday” event in Los Angeles, hosted by Big Sunday, a non-profit agency that builds community through community services. The kids enjoyed a pumpkin patch, arts and crafts, games, face-painting, a haunted house, goodies, and free costumes. Then on Tuesday, October 29, Western Asset Management, an investment firm in Pasadena, sponsored its annual Halloween Pumpkin Carving Party. Over a dozen volunteers helped the kids make messy, scary, and creative jack-on-lanterns. The kids were also treated to dinner courtesy of an In and Out truck the firm provided.

On October 30, Hillsides recreation and Education Center staff put on a carnival, consisting of games and a bouncy house. The highlight of the event was a Haunted House, designed by staffer Armando Macias. This professional-level Haunted House was filled with just enough scares for the children to be entertained without spooking them too much. On the afternoon of Halloween, volunteers gathered on campus to paint the faces of children who wanted their Halloween make-up applied. After that, there was only one thing left for the kids to do: trick or treat!

“I am always amazed and heart-warmed by the outpouring of support by so many different organizations and individuals who go out of their way to provide the children of Hillsides with happy holidays,” said Joseph M. Costa, the charity’s chief executive officer. “While Halloween is one of the most anticipated days of the year, for the children living here it can be tinged with sadness because they are separated from their families. But participating in so many fun events put on by supportive, caring adults lessens these feelings and brings joy into their lives.”

Hillsides, which is celebrating its centennial this year, is a premier provider of behavioral and educational services dedicated to improving the overall well-being and functioning of vulnerable children, youth, and their families. To learn more about volunteering at Hillsides, please contact Laura Kelso at (323) 254-2274, ext. 251 or lkelso@hillsides.org. To learn more about Hillsides, please visit www.hillsides.org.