By Ojau Adhikari

As a child, every year before Halloween I always attended the Jefferson Elementary School Halloween carnival. The dressing up, the food, the games, the fun and the scares that were all part of the carnival made it a perfect event. But when high school hit, among the mist of pressure, superficiality and teenage hormones, I forgot to go.

I had forgotten about the places that gave me so much joy as a child. So, when an opportunity rose up to volunteer at the carnival in order to raise money for Jefferson Elementary School, I took it. I wanted to give back to the place that had given me so much. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and to tell the truth, I was very nervous.

When the day finally arrived, I arrived at Jefferson and wasn’t sure what to expect. “Don’t worry, it’s a lot of fun, every year I go and it’s a very rewarding experience”, said Felicia another volunteer. As someone who went every year to volunteer at the carnival, I decided to take her advice.  I was assigned to work in the haunted house and my only directions were to have fun.  I put on the white makeup and white dress provided and laid down in a box to wait.

As the first kid came through, I rose up and proceeded to growl. I had expected the kid to see through my façade of white makeup but he was actually scared! He believed in my fake ghostly appearance and I could see the terror and the joy in his eyes.

The fame of the haunted house spread across and other kids filled in through. Each child reacted differently: some were terrified while others were too cool to be afraid, but all of them had the best time of the their lives, as I had, five years ago.  The night ended after the final kid had eaten the last of the candy corn, and left with joyous memories of a night they would never forget.

“Thank you, for making our night a great success, it was one of the most successful fundraisers we have had”, the principle of Jefferson Elementary said. As for us volunteers, the night ended after we had stacked the last chair and cleaned up the last candy wrapper on the ground, but it was the thank you that we received that made it all worth it.