School celebrates Halloween with costumes, festival

Published 2:18 pm Thursday, November 1, 2018

MT LAUREL – Hilltop Montessori School students had so much fun celebrating Halloween on Wednesday, Oct. 31, that no one even seemed to notice there was no candy involved.

The school’s annual celebration began with about 90 preschoolers in costumes parading around the front of the school to cheers from parents and older students.

After the skeletons, cats, witches and astronauts had their moment in the spotlight, they ventured to the Hilltop multipurpose facility for a festival.

Stations were set up where students could enjoy games including Pumpkin Toss, Witch Pitch and Broom Limbo.

Upper Elementary Teacher Janet Lewis said groups of about 80 elementary students developed the ideas and created the activities. Groups were composed of leaders (students in grades 4-5) and members (grades 1-3).

“Their job is to staff the booths for the preschoolers,” Lewis said. “This afternoon, they will swap and go through each others’ booths, and then do clean up.”

Head of School Michele Wilensky said the projects teach lessons about organization and teamwork.

“We could have parent volunteers create booths, but we want the kids to do it,” Wilensky said.

The most elaborate project was a haunted house created by middle school students with the theme, “The Insane Vanderbilt Family.”

Willa Rose Akins, Mays Dunbar, Syke Otter, Sam Parrish, Marietta Pigford and Lily Wilson were among the students who created the haunted house and then acted as characters as elementary students went through.

The students discussed ideas over lunch, developed a script and storyline, and then started building, Otter said.

Pigford served as a tour guide through the haunted house—until she met her demise with the swing of an axe.

“Probably my favorite part is when I die,” she said.

Parrish said he was especially proud of the door that served as the entrance to the haunted house, and others pointed to Dunbar’s creepy performance as a character with a severed hand and bones on a dinner plate.

“We had a lot of fun making it,” Akins said.

“Sweat and blood literally went into this project,” Wilson added.