reviewed: Kent students take Halloween to Cleveland

Joey Pompignano

Joey Pompignano

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Cobwebs and skeleton figurines decorated the building’s facility.JUST BUILDING…decorated the building as 24-year-old… Twenty-four-year-old Kent State alum Jancarlo Vega waited in anticipation, uncertain what the community’s response would be to his plan.

A dozen members of Kent State’s student organization Advocates of Culture and Knowledge created a safe Halloween party Saturday for Cleveland’s youth at the Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center.

Vega said the idea came to him after realizing the lack of spirit in the holiday he cherished growing up.

“Little kids in Cleveland, they don’t go Trick-or-Treating anymore. You don’t see anyone with lights on or decorations,” Vega said.

“We felt like they were losing that experience, so we wanted to offer something so kids could come and still participate…and have some kind of childhood because that’s what’s being taken away from them,” he said.

The event allowed children to express themselves, ensuring fond memories. It enabled them to interact with their parents, neighbors and college student mentors in a fun-filled atmosphere. SHOULD BE ATTRIBUTED…OTHERWISE JUST YOUR OPINION…WHICH IN SOME CASES IS OKAY…OTHERS..?

Cupcakes, candy and soda beverages were provided along with devil-ears and flower headband costume giveaways. A treasure chest overflowing with Snickers and Milky Ways satisfied the sweet tooth if the aforementioned wasn’t enough. All genres of music blasted from speakers in the lobby while children tried their best to shade crayons within lines during the coloring contest. A woman dressed in all-blue “Avatar” attire painted a young boy’s face to look like Count Dracula.

Sherae Howard proved that the festivities did not have an age limit. The 25-year-old mother of three had a nose and whiskers painted on her face to look like a cat.

“Did you like the haunted house? Was it scary,” Howard asked her two grade-school aged daughters after taking them through the homemade exhibit.

The two girls, dressed as Snow White and a witch, nodded in agreement with big smiles.

For many of the children, like Howard’s daughters, it was their first time ever going through a haunted house. Guests walked through a dark maze as a strobe light flashed. Creepy music played and Kent students acted out scenes as monsters. Even teenagers shrieked, dodging silly string and plugging their ears from the loud chainsaw.

“I thought it was a great project for the kids. It was very entertaining,” Howard said. “It wasn’t too scary, but it was spooky enough.”

Howard said she would “most definitely” come back to more Julia de Burgos events and said she hopes the volunteers will host something similar for Christmas.

Vega’s vision was a success. He said that Halloween often invites increased amounts of gang activity into inner-city neighborhoods and that parents don’t feel comfortable allowing their kids to go door-to-door collecting candy. Some parents transport their kids to the suburbs to celebrate the holiday, but many do not have the ability to do so. JUST… BUT MANY CAN’T.

“It doesn’t show any community pride or city pride if you have to go to another neighborhood rather than your own,” Vega said. “Let’s do it in our neighborhood.”