Yesterday was Project Pumpkin, and it could not have been a nicer day on campus. It was sunny and high 70s, which was ideal weather. Our students did a fantastic job making the Quad fun and inviting for our visiting children. There literally were hundreds and hundreds of kids spread out between the Quad and Wait Chapel. All wore expressions of joy.
In the center of the Quad was hay bales, each with a pumpkin or two on top of them. The pumpkins were carved by different organizations on campus. My own trick-or-treater did not want to linger at the clever pumpkins (some of whom had their Greek letters carved in), but wanted to move on to the real action.
Along each side of the Quad, on the brick walkways were lined with tables where the kids could do different games – and then of course get a piece of candy at the end! Each table was sponsored by a different student organization (or cluster of students). We stopped at the Sustainability table, where the kids could play cornhole on a board that was lined with the different food groups, and they could make small baggies of healthy trail mix to take with them. We stopped at a table where they used toilet paper to wrap the kids up like mummies and the kids would have to race college students in costume (gorilla, banana, hot dog among them).
There were tables where you could do bowling (one with toy pins and balls, one with made up plastic containers and you rolled small pumpkins instead). There was a great option right in front of Reynolda Hall, where you had a Lion King type adventure. There was Lion King music, and WFU students led kids up to the top of the balcony to raise up their baby lion and let everyone give a big roar, then descend under a canopy of green streamers to simulate a jungle. This was a lot of fun.
One perennial favorite is the Pie Toss station. Usually sponsored by a fraternity, some poor WFU student sticks his face through a hole in a board and allow sugar-crazed kids to throw plates of whipped cream at his face. There is never a shortage of kids who want to stop here.
There were sports related activities, such as Alice in Wonderland Croquet, or dizzy bat races. The coup de grace for a lot of the kids was the giant bouncy house in the middle of the Quad. TONS of kids there all having fun. At the north end of the Quad were DJs and singing groups, and there was a haunted house as well.
Our Wake students not only did a wonderful job organizing and planning the events, they were well costumed. I saw a lot of Minnie Mouses, and cowboys and cowgirls, and Woody from A Toy Story, and full costume lions and Pooh and Eeyore, princesses and pirates and hippies – you name it. Our students were charged with escorting small groups of kids to each of the fun stations, and they looked like they were having a blast as much as the kids were.
This is one of the best days on campus because it is about the joy of serving other people. I think most of us feel good about ourselves when we do something nice for another person, but to bring that much joy to children is an entirely different sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Our kids were Pro Humanitate yesterday. Even if it was just Halloween and not saving the world, our campus did something important in the lives of kids who needed a safe and sound place to trick-or-treat and dress up.
I bet both our students and the kids who visited will remember this day fondly for a long time to come. It was that powerful.
with special thanks to Intern C (’13), who provided some of the photo coverage