By Chris Thomsen SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – While nighttime is when things usually start off on Halloween, students and teachers enjoyed a fun, fulfilling day at Delaware Elementary on October 31.
Kids were playing throughout classes in the school’s gym, where faculty held a Halloween Dance. Teachers led a “book-or-treat” program: each student received a book to take home at the end of the day.
Even Captain Jack Sparrow attended class on Tuesday. The famous pirate read The 13 Days of Halloween with the kids, among other selections.
And some even talked about their plans for the evening.
“My dad said he’s going to take us to a scary haunted house where the lights go back and forth, back and forth,” one student said.
But what made Halloween at Delaware Academy special was the thought that students and teachers put into others.
Most of the school has relatives or friends who live in Puerto Rico that were affected by Hurricane Maria and its devastating impact on the island. One student has close family whose house was flooded by the storm.
“When my mom or dad get their taxes, maybe we’ll go over there and try to help them out and stuff,” she said.
In the meantime, students thought they could play their part. They created an fundraiser called “Costumes for a Cause”: in order to wear a costume in school on Halloween, students had to donate $2 each.
The idea worked as the hallways were littered with excited kids in costumes. Hundreds of dollars were raised – and it’s all thanks to the students.
“It’s an amazing initiative that the kids know that they have a bigger impact outside of the classroom and outside of the school, even outside the local community,” Merritt Kusak McGuire, Dean of Students at Delaware Elementary, said. “It gives them a sense of purpose and a connection to life.”
In addition to “Costumes for a Cause,” the school runs programs that raise money throughout the year. Delaware hosts “Hats for Hurricane Relief” each Friday, where students get permission to wear their favorite hat inside the building in exchange for $1. And Delaware faculty run their own program: “Denim for Puerto Rico,” where teachers can donate $5 to flaunt their favorite Canadian tuxedo around the school.
At Delaware Elementary, Halloween was full of Captain Jack, snack attacks and giving back. It’s hard to compete with that.