Oakwood Pumpkin Walk
As Halloween quickly approaches, many children and families are prepping to go costume-shopping, bake Mom’s delicious pumpkin pie, and acquire copious amounts of trick-or-treat candy. For some, Halloween is all about that one long-anticipated night, but for others, it’s about coming together as a community and helping bring joy to others. Elementary students, families, high school O’Neil National Honor Society members and teachers all came together to celebrate an early Halloween for Oakwood’s 25th annual Pumpkin Walk on Saturday, October 14. This event caught the attention of O’Neil advisors many years ago, and they are happy to continue to carry on this tradition.
“This is an event that has been going on for about 25 years, and O’Neil has been helping for six years,” O’Neil advisor and PTO member Sara Dobish said. “It just continues to get passed from parent to parent.”
Each parent and each new year bring different activities with them.
“This year there is a scavenger hunt, a bake sale to help build a well in Africa through Oakwood’s Lego League team, and there is also going to be story time,” Dobish said. “There are also jack o’lanterns all over the place.”
Not only do the students at Oakwood and their families find themselves falling into the Halloween spirit, but according to Dobish, the members of O’Neil enjoy their time at the event as well.
“I see a lot of positive interactions between the O’Neil kids and the younger students because the little kids always want to talk to the O’Neil members,” she said. “The O’Neil kids always wear costumes which gets the little kids even more excited.”
For senior O’Neil member Liz James, the best part of the event is seeing everyone come together and have a good time.
“I think the most exciting part about the event for me is just going to be seeing everyone come and go through the event and just to see how happy it makes everyone,” she said. “All of the little kids get really excited to play games and other things.”
The kids don’t only get excited to play games and see spooky jack o’lantern designs, but they also really enjoy their time with O’Neil members.
“Young children really admire teenagers,” PTO member Liz Szilagyi said. “They see them as adult figures in size and stature, but they feel they can relate better to teenagers than to adults.”
For Szilagyi, one of her favorite parts of the event was seeing these interactions between the high schoolers and elementary kids.
“I loved watching the National Honor Society students read stories to kids in the library. Any time I walked past they had a rug full of kids enjoying story time,” she said.
Not only does the Pumpkin Walk excite the kids, but it also allows families and the neighborhood as a whole to get involved.
“I think this event helps people of the Oakwood community come together because the whole family is able to come,” Dobish said. “They can bring little siblings as well that aren’t even old enough to be in school yet.”
Similar to show and tell, the students are able to take charge, and show their parents and siblings everything they know about the school they have grown to love.
“Some of the younger kids are just beginning to understand school community and their role at Oakwood,” Szilagyi said. “They love taking their parents to school and showing them this place that is so special to them.”
As for next year when Halloween rolls around, James offers her advice to future students.
“Just take a day to not think about yourself and think about others and just giving back to the community.”