Alpha Phi Omega hosts haunted house for local children

More than 300 New Haven children were treated to a night of Halloween activities and candy this weekend by members of Alpha Phi Omega, Yale’s co-ed community service fraternity.

APO hosted its annual haunted house and kids’ carnival at Dwight Hall for elementary school children in the New Haven and Hamden area on Friday evening. The fraternity has entertained approximately this many children — including the children of Yale faculty — with its annual Halloween event for the past 10 years, APO President Vicky Doan-Nguyen ’06 said.

“It’s a great way to hand out safe candy and safe fun,” Doan-Nguyen said.

APO has been preparing for the event for a month, using much of that time to plan decorations and post up fliers about the event in nearby elementary schools, Doan-Nguyen said. Former APO President Nicholas Miranda ’05 LAW ’08 also helped set up the haunted house.

“Even though I graduated, I like to be a part of this event because it’s a great continuing tradition that fosters a great sense of community,” he said.

APO pledge Lauren Livingston ’09, who chaired the event, said it was geared toward providing a safe Halloween environment.

“I’m not sure how safe New Haven is at night, so our event is a great alternative for kids and their families,” she said.

Livingston said she chaired the event as part of the pledging process to join the group.

While the haunted house was targeted primarily toward older children and their parents, APO also arranged Halloween arts and crafts stations, face-painting and storytelling for younger children in the Diwght Hall library and adjacent rooms. Children participated in games such as Pin the Tail on the Cat, Pumpkin Toss, Musical Chairs and Gone Fishin’. APO members worked at the event dressed up witches, ghosts, grim reapers and a mad scientist.

As the event ended, APO members handed out bags of candy to the children as they left Dwight Hall. Based on the number of candy bags given out, Doan-Nguyen said fewer children attended the event this year compared to previous years, but the evening still went well. And the children and their families weren’t the only ones who had a good time, she said.

“The members of APO were exuberant to participate in the Haunted House too because it was something that many of them experienced as children,” Doan-Nguyen said. “Now, they’re participating in it to contribute to the community that we live in.”

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