This Saturday, the City of Menlo Park hosted its annual Spooky Carnival at Kelly Park for the Belle Haven Community. Rondell Howard, the Recreation Coordinator at the Onetta Harris Community Center, explained that “It started in the gymnasium here at Onetta Harris and now we host it at Kelly Park. With the help and support of Facebook and our neighborhood school, Beechwood, our Spooky Carnival event has grown in attendance.”
There are a variety of games and crafts put together by the event’s staff, including a bouncy house, face painting, a magic show, a costume contest, and a haunted house. This year, Howard estimates about 200 people attended the event.
John Barlow, who works at the Spooky Carnival making balloons, said “I enjoy watching the kids laugh and interacting with them, it is just fun to see them laughing and enjoying themselves.” He added that he felt the event allows young kids to “see what’s out here, in the community to help them and bring them together.”
Beechwood Elementary School works with the city at the carnival and sells food to fundraise. Konstance Kirkendoll, who helps run the fundraising for Beechwood schools said the profits from the Carnival will help fund “Fright Night, our father-daughter dance; professional development for teachers; or even scholarships or funds for parents.”
One city employee, Portia, said she believes the event “gets the community more familiar with the city, so that they know what type of events we go and what opportunities we offer to connect with the community.”
Parents in the community said they attend the event because “the children love it,” as one mother put it. Others, like one parent Noa, stressed the importance of how “the event brings the kids and other people together if they are from the same neighborhood or in different ones.”