Marymount University students transformed the school’s gymnasium into a carnival site for local children as part of HalloweenFest.
Arlington Marymount University students are working to make sure some disadvantaged Arlington children have a festive Halloween. Students are turning the school’s dorms into haunted houses and the gymnasium into a carnival site. Marymount’s 16th annual HalloweenFest is set for Friday, Oct. 26.
The event attracts more than 200 costume-clad children, and organizers say they could use help from the local community. “With the increased number of children coming this year, we would definitely welcome donations of candy or any type of Halloween decorations,” said Ashley Wells, Marymount’s Community Outreach Coordinator “That would be a huge help to us.”
University officials said that children from Arlington- Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless, Barrett Elementary School, Campbell Elementary School, Carpenter’s Shelter, Greenbrier Learning Center, Langston-Brown Community Center are expected to attend.
“With the increased number of children coming this year, we would definitely welcome donations of candy or any type of Halloween decorations.” — Ashley Wells, Marymount’s community outreach coordinator
“Our gym is transformed into a carnival celebration where each of our clubs has a table and a different crafts and games and activities for kids to do,” said Wells. “Families who are in battered women’s shelters or homeless shelters feel out of place at times or like they are different. This is just a great way for them to feel like they can be kids again and not have to worry about anything other than having fun.”
Wells said planned activities include pumpkin decorating, face painting and a mummy wrapping game. Marymount students decorate each residence hall and take children on a trick-or-treating tour of each dorm.
“We have scary or haunted house-type hallways where children can go through and get a thrill,” said Marissa McGrath, student leader for HalloweenFest. “The children look really excited when they see all the student tour guides dressed up in their costumes. It is really great to know that we can provide this for them.”
McGrath believes that the impact on the young festival-goers extends beyond Halloween. “You definitely hear the children inquire about college,” she said. “It makes them think about the future and actually wanting to go to college.”
Vincent Stovall, director of student activities at Marymount adds, “I think HallweenFest goes along with Marymount’s mission and commitment to reaching out to the community and being a part of the community.”
For more information or to items for HalloweenFest, contact Ashley Wells at 703-526-6858 or firstname.lastname@example.org