The spooky spirit thrived at SOS' Halloween carnival this year
Smiling Over Sickness' annual Pumpkin Hike and Halloween-themed carnival in support of Hamilton families brings community together
For over a decade, Smiling Over Sickness has been dedicated to bringing joy to the children of the Hamilton, with a specific emphasis on pediatric patients in the community, through different fundraising events and activities.
SOS’s annual Pumpkin Hike event took place on Oct. 27. The event started with a hike through Cootes Paradise with the McMaster Students Union Maroons and was followed by a Halloween-themed carnival at Cootes Paradise Elementary School.
Erica Park and Maddie Dick, Smiles Squad Coordinators, explained how the carnival offered families and their children an opportunity to come together and to show off their costumes.
“We typically welcome all families in the Hamilton area, so we see a lot of younger children as well as older children. They come really nicely [dressed] in their own Halloween costumes with their family and friends. It's a great way for the families to sort of bond in an event run by our team,” said Park.
There were many different stations and activities at the carnival, including pin-the-tail games, obstacle courses, photo booths, ring tosses and a scavenger hunt.
Park and Dick shared that changes made to their carnival from year to year are based on visitor feedback and suggestions.
“Starting sometime in August or September, everything comes together once we get our team of volunteers solidified. So this year, it's 15 people [that are] really passionate about the event. We have started planning in these last two weeks, with really setting up all the activities, gathering our supplies and finalizing all of the details,” said Dick.
Dick shared how thankful both her and Park are the subcommittee who ensured this event could happen; the carnival's success wouldn't have been possible without them.
This year is the second that the Halloween carnival has been run since the start of the pandemic. Park and Dick shared that the ability to host this event in-person again means a lot to them, as they are able to interact more directly with community members.
“We believe that there aren't too many events here in Hamilton that provides a chance for families to sort of get together and have this very wholesome experience. I think just seeing all the kids are laughing and having lots of fun, being able to show up in their costumes and dance around in the field was a very positive experience, not only for the families, but for everyone who is [involved in] planning,” said Park.
The Halloween-themed carnival brought much joy to families around Hamilton this year. SOS hopes that they can continue to plan this event in the future and encourage McMaster University students to support their efforts, if they can.