At The Village at Penn State, it never rains on residents’ parades, especially on Halloween. When the State College area postponed Trick or Treating due to dreary forecasts, The Village’s Healthcare Center upheld their annual tradition and gave trick or treaters the best Halloween ever.
With heavy rains and high winds attempting to put a damper on the spirited holiday that nearly every child looks forward to, the children who had been told that their Halloween was canceled were filled with joy as they got on their school buses and made their way to The Village’s Annual Halloween Parade.
Residents and staff prepared their costumes and, of course, their candy as the entire community helped get ready for this festive event. “We talk about the event for several weeks ahead of time creating quite a buzz. We encourage family, staff, volunteers, and Penn State interns to get involved by helping with preparations beforehand and the day of,” says Dana Gregg, community life supervisor of the Healthcare Center at The Village. Inviting a group of over 80 children from Port Matilda and Corl Street Elementary School, community members throughout The Village were extremely excited for their parade.
As children dressed in a wide variety of costumes from Batman to Princess Leia piled out of the school bus, the Halloween spirit began to spread. Residents dressed as magicians, butterflies, Egyptian queens, clowns, and more were thrilled to see the children arrive. “Over the years we have collected quite an array of costumes. Mid-October we take the costumes around and encourage the residents to make a selection,” Dana explains.
Both residents and family members look forward to this event every year and get very involved in planning their apparel. One Village resident dressed in a couple’s costume with his daughter, who made the ensemble from scratch. “They were coffee and doughnuts!” Dana excitedly explains. “His daughter went to great detail and even incorporated his wheelchair into the costume by turning the wheels into doughnuts,” Dana smiles.
Traveling from door to door, the children were greeted by smiling residents, staff, and family members who greatly enjoyed their festive costumes. “Trick or Treat!” the children shouted and smiled as they reached their hands into giant bowls full of candy which were kindly donated by family members before the event.
“This is the best Halloween ever!” One first grader called out with joy. Village residents agreed as they said the children’s costumes were quite adorable. “They are so cute!” the residents shout together smiling. Dana says that The Village residents love this parade just as much as the children do. “That’s what makes this such a great intergenerational event,” she reflects. “Everyone smiles and laughs. It’s truly a joyful time.”
As the parade came to an end, the children had bags full of candy among residents with hearts full of joy. And although the children’s neighborhood trick or treating was postponed, Halloween at The Village turned out to be a tremendous success.