Some relish Halloween for the thrills they seek. Others embrace it for the reactions they can conjure taking to the streets in costume. Still others are in it for the sweets.
Wherever one falls in the spectrum, Tinley Park High School’s Interact Club had something for children and families at its annual Halloween Safe House the evening of Thursday, Oct. 26.
“This is my fourth year funning this event,” said Andrea Johnson, a Tinley Park High School teacher and sponsor for Interact Club. “We’ve just kept the tradition alive.”
From trick-or-treating and face painting to games and crafts, the event was designed to provide children and families with an early chance to get into the Halloween spirit.
“We’re trying to make sure it’s not scary for the little ones,” Johnson said. “They have somewhere to go and burn off some energy. We always try to do it the Thursday before Halloween, because we know Halloween is a big call-to-action night. We just want to provide them an opportunity [to celebrate,] just in case the weather disappoints, that they can have an experience to remember year to year.”
Sylvia Cook, of Tinley Park, watched as two of her children enjoyed the various activities on hand for them to try.
“We came last year,” she said, noting that the children kept talking about their excitement for Halloween Safe House. “This whole week, they both have.”
Cook said the event provided a nice way for her and her family to get into the Halloween spirit.
“It’s perfect kids [their] age, and they have a lot of fun,” she said. “I think they just like the whole event.”
In order to take part in the Halloween Safe House, attendees were asked to provide a $1 donation toward Together We Cope, or donate a food item.
“All the funds and all the donatins will go to Together We Cope next week in honor of the event,” Johnson said. “It’s one way where we try to say we raise all the funds, but it’s all about just turning it around [to benefit the community.]”
Interact Club had a chance to create greater exposure for what its students do throughout the year as a result of the event.
“It’s just a high school-level version of what Rotary [Club] is,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to instill in them, just stepping out and serving others. We do this as a community-wide [effort,] and [we work] internationally, as well.”
Students organized two fundraisers to generate money to make Halloween Safe House possible.
“[Students] selected Together We Cope,” Johnson said. “They went through and decided how many craft tables [and ] how many bouncy houses. So, they were responsible for pricing out all the details and pulling it together under budget.”
Tinley Park High School senior Inna Braz said seeing the community’s support for Interact Club and its mission to help Together We Cope was formidable.
“I think it’s a really good cause,” she said.
Interact club consists of 18 students, to date.
“It’s a strong few who really do a lot of [work,]” Johnson said. “They have quite a bit of an impact.”
This year’s Halloween Safe House generated additional support from members of the high school’s National Honors Society, Business Professionals Association, Key Club, preschool class, art club and culinary class.