Fall is here and that means it was time for Young Variety of Southern California’s Annual Halloween Carnival for Uplift Family Services at Hollygrove in Los Angeles. The day was filled with carnival games, face painting, raffles, prizes, food, pumpkins, costumes and much, much more. In the carnival’s 8th year, it saw more than 300 in attendance with over 175 kids. Over 30 YV volunteers worked hard to make sure they had a fantastic day. The annual carnival is supported by the major motion picture studios and multiple theatre chains; their donation of toys, prizes, games, t-shirts, tickets, and equipment are vital to its success.
Upon arriving, children enjoyed playing a wide variety of carnival games; testing their skills to win tickets redeemable for great prizes. Various stations were set-up throughout the carnival where they could get their faces painted, make jewelry, decorate cookies, or even wear Halloween themed props while having their family pictures taken, that is later printed and they can take home at the end of the day. There were organized field games where the kids got to show off their hula hoop skills in a game of musical hula hoops, with the winners receiving prizes. There was even a special guest appearance by Scrat from Ice Age.
While doing all they could to win more tickets to get more and bigger prizes the children worked up quite the appetite. There was a buffet style lunch with BBQ for the kids and their families. To complement the lunch there were also cotton candy and popcorn stations so everyone’s snack cravings were satisfied. Throughout the day there were raffles for movie tickets, pumpkins and carving kits.
The children in attendance come from families that more than likely would not be able to afford to celebrate Halloween by purchasing a costume. Every year Uplift Family Services works hard to secure costume donations so every kid leaves with a costume. The children waited in line to receive their costumes, but it was not just any line though, it was a line that went through a haunted house with a safari theme! The children came out of the line smiling, a little scared and ready to pick out their costumes. On their way out of the event they were given goody bags featuring gifts from major motion picture studios and theatre chains.
After spending a Fall day with the families of Hollygrove to celebrate Halloween it is impossible not to walk away with a feeling of joy and hope. To see kids running around, playing, and with gigantic smiles on their faces; just being kids. It means a great deal to be able to bring that experience to the children and to their families, knowing that for them there are days that aren’t as enjoyable as that day was. These are the days that remind us just why we do what it is we do.
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