Young Adults (YAs) from Sathya Sai Baba Center of Central San Jose (SSBCSJ) hosted two carnival-style Halloween parties for the homeless and low-income children from the South Bay Area, so that the children could experience firsthand the joy and fun of dressing up in Halloween costumes. The events were held on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 for 18 children at the Sunnyvale Armory Shelter, and on Saturday, Oct 26, 2019 at the Joyce Ellington Public Library in San Jose for 60 children from low-income families.

Festivities at the Sunnyvale Homeless shelter began with dinner, after which the children were treated to fun activities at various Halloween stalls which had been set up carnival style. Face painting was a big hit as the children competed with each other for the scariest looks. Miniature hulks, skeletons and zombies roamed around the shelter throughout the evening. The older children flocked to Karaoke station, where they could make song requests, and jam to current pop hits and Halloween tunes. At the photo booth, the children waited eagerly to have their pictures taken in their Halloween costumes against a spooky backdrop. The YAs printed the pictures on the spot so the children and their parents could take back with them memories of the event. The YAs also distributed gifts of toys to the children while adults received flowers and candy. It was truly an enjoyable evening for everyone involved.

The second Halloween event was held at the Joyce Ellington Public Library in Downtown San Jose for children of low-income families. This time, the YAs partnered with another organization called Open Doors. CSJ Sai Center members also came to to the event to support it, many dressed up in Halloween costumes. Spooky Halloween music livened up the room and set the mood. Booths similar to those in the Amory Shelter Carnival were set up with different activities. In addition to face painting and photo booths, there were booths for rock painting, henna art, “pinning the nose on the pumpkin”, coloring, ping-pong bowling and “guessing the number of candies in the jar”.  The YAs also served pizza  and Halloween-themed cupcakes.

Both of these events were very gratifying for the YAs to host. They witnessed the joy on the children’s faces as they ran around in their Halloween costumes, squealing in delight. The Halloween parties also encouraged the Sai Center volunteers to get out of their own comfort zone as many had never really dressed up in Halloween costumes before and were initially resistant. But nevertheless, everyone got into the Halloween spirit and focused on making the events a memorable and fun time for the children.