West Chester schools enjoy Halloween fun for students, parents

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
A family at Fern Hill Elementary dressed as the Addams Family for the annual Trunk or Treat. From left, Ron Jackson (Lurch), Amy Simmler (Morticia), Rex Simmler (Uncle Fester), Jake Sousa (Thing), Ben Sousa (Pugsley), Jackson Simmler (Cousin It) and Bill Simmler (Gomez). (Candice Monhollan)

A family at Fern Hill Elementary dressed as the Addams Family for the annual Trunk or Treat. From left, Ron Jackson (Lurch), Amy Simmler (Morticia), Rex Simmler (Uncle Fester), Jake Sousa (Thing), Ben Sousa (Pugsley), Jackson Simmler (Cousin It) and Bill Simmler (Gomez). (Candice Monhollan)

Halloween in West Chester typically means the annual parade through the borough, but for the West Chester Area School District, it also means numerous fun activities for the students.

From Monster Mashes and Fright Nights to Trunk or Treating and a Zombie run, the district has a little something for everyone to enjoy during the spooky holiday.

“A lot of our PTOs do some things,” said Superintendent Jim Scanlon. “Each building is doing their own thing. They all do some kind of Halloween party.”

At the elementary school level, the students at some of the schools get to have a costume parade or a Pumpkin Day. Exton Elementary and Glen Acres Elementary have a Monster Mash, which kids come in costume for a mini-dance and parade.

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For schools such as Fern Hill Elementary and Hillsdale Elementary, the young students and their parents participated in Trunk or Treat, a more unique way to Trick or Treat on Friday night.

“It’s a fun, safe time for the kids to come out and be together and for the parents to all get together and just have good, Halloween fun,” said Adrienne Rivell, a parent participating in the tradition. “It’s a great time. We look forward to it every year.”

Parents arrive at the school and those who wish to be a “stop” pop open the trunks of their cars and decorate it. Parents then come with their children and they get to go to each car to get candy.

Though it’s all in good fun, it does get a little competitive between the cars as some will win awards for things such as Best Theme, Scariest, Funniest, Best Costumes and more.

“We did win Best Theme last year, so we were excited to try and up the ante this year,” Rivell said, whose trunk was a Candy Land theme this time around. “I had to get on Pinterest and get some ideas. I had some family helpers, so we pulled it off in just a couple of days.”

Hillsdale experienced its best Trunk or Treat to date with more cars participating than ever before.

“Last year, there was only seven cars that participated,” said parent Amy Falls.

This year, the bottom of the parking lot was filled with cars decked out in funny, unique and sometimes scary themes. One car even had blow-up decorations around her car.

Hillsdale’s Trunk or Treat even featured a face painter, Baby Girl Designs, who drew a large crowd of anxious students.

With more parents participating, even Hillsdale was feeling a bit competitive.

“I feel very competitive,” Falls said with a laugh. “We don’t know if other people feel competitive. This is the first year it really is big, so I think it will get more competitive. People can see what it is this year and get more excited now.”

Whether they’re looking to win a prize, or just some bragging rights, or just out to have fun, parents at both schools are happy to have a safe environment for their children to have fun for Halloween.

“It feels really good to be able to let your kids run around and have a good time and it’s all contained,” said Hillsdale parent Jennifer Kratsa.

A tradition spanning over 20 years took over Fugett Middle School Friday night for its annual Fright Night as the students poured into the building for a multitude of fun.

“We rock this place – it’s so much fun,” said parent Kelly Richardson.

Fright Night has a little bit of everything for the students to enjoy, from pizza and candy to open volleyball and basketball in the gym to a dance in the cafeteria and even a haunted house with parents as the scary and creepy actors.

“It’s just good, clean middle school fun for two hours to celebrate the time of the year it is and to give the kids some school spirit at the same time,” Richardson said.

Though the high schools don’t typically have anything, the West Chester Rustin swimming and diving team did put together a Knight of the Living Dead 5K to take place on Halloween.

Runners will be given a belt with three flags on it and during the race, they must try to avoid the zombies placed throughout the course from getting their flags taken. A minute will be deducted from your finish time for each flag remaining on your belt.

“It’s a fun time for kids,” Scanlon said. “It’s a different world now with safety and some family dynamics, but you still try to have fun around this time of the year.”

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Categories: Community, Education

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