Halloween is a typically a time for dressing up and eating candy. Cornell’s UNICEF club, Believe in Zero, combined this well-loved tradition with an endeavor to garner funds for children in need and raise awareness about club activities.
Believe in Zero did so by hosting a Halloween party in the old fire station in downtown Mt. Vernon. This is the second year that they have had the party, following the inaugural bash last year that was met with significant success.
Last year’s party featured face paint, pumpkin decorating and a photo booth. This year saw the addition of a giant twister mat and candy for everyone that came through the party.
“The kids really seemed to enjoy the pumpkin decorating activity, and of course the candy. It was also really fun when we could get a big group for twister, although that was difficult early in the night,” said Katherine Uhlenkamp, Believe in Zero member and party volunteer.
In preparation for the event, Believe in Zero had an article written in the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun. They also asked teachers at Mount Vernon’s Washington Elementary School to pass out flyers to their students. The Believe in Zero volunteers themselves went down to the elementary school to distribute the traditional Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF boxes.
Ashley Uphoff (18), secretary for Believe in Zero and lead organizer of the downtown Halloween party, explained that much of the preparation involved the coordination of volunteers and decisions about which activities to include during the party.
“The goal of the event was to get Cornellians more involved in the community and to raise money for UNICEF USA,” Uphoff said. “…Events like Trick-or-Treat help get college students more involved in their local communities and promote a great cause. These events are a fun way to get to know the locals and raise money for children in need.”
While this year’s party was not quite as well attended as last year’s, it still so a fair deal of traffic from local children and even Cornell students who wanted to come down and have a good time. Thao Luu (16), president of Believe in Zero, felt the change in attendance was partially due to the event being a little too early on in the night.
“One of the challenges we encountered was getting enough volunteers to run the event. It is always hard to get volunteers on a holiday,” said Uphoff.
All funds raised during the event will be donated to UNICEF USA, and Cornell can expect to see Believe in Zero’s annual Halloween party back again next fall.
Jess Reed, Co-Editor-in-Chief