By Kailie Foley, Staff Writer
As students from all grades volunteered and worked together hanging streamers, setting up photo booths, and preparing crafts, children dressed in costumes from princesses all the way to avocados flooded the building on October 29th within minutes.
All of the children were eager to partake in all fifteen of the Halloween themed activities waiting for them behind Prospect High School’s doors.
Student Council Adviser Lyn Scolaro greeted the children with a map of activities and a friendly smile as the children walked, skipped, and jumped down the hallway showing off their costumes confidently. Within two hours, just under 900 children were already present at the event.
Avoiding bad weather and the possibility of children receiving candy that is unsafe to eat, Haunted High School was made a tradition that has been continuing on for twelve years.
The host of the event, Scolaro’s goal was to provide a fun and safe alternative to trick or treating outside on Halloween,
“This is the Halloween that I wanted for little kids,” said Scolaro as she reflected on her beliefs of Halloween becoming more dangerous overtime.
Not needing a coat to keep warm, like trick or treaters that go outside in the cold, the children had their entire costumes visible for everyone at the event to see.
Prospect retirees and graduates come to revisit their highschool on this day every year too, making new memories and reflecting on the memories they have already made within the walls of the school overtime.
Kimberly Lopatka, the former Prospect High School student, brought her three children to the event, Cameron (6), Griffin (3), and Max the newborn, going her sixth year in a row.
Lopatka’s oldest son, Cameron, after the school day, asked Lopatka when their family would be going to the event, excited to experience the different activities that take place at Prospect, most of all receiving candy while trick or treating.
Lopatka always meets her High School friends at Haunted High School, which makes her love the event even more.
“It makes me feel nostalgic,” said Lopatka
Children entering the cafeteria began to decorate pretzels with colored frosting and halloween themed candies, or take a different approach, eating the pretzels right away after dipping them in frosting.
As children walked around the first floor of Prospect High School, they were greeted by volunteers who placed candy in their hollow jack o’ lantern buckets and tote bags.
Some of the kids at the event were greeted by Allie Cerniglia as she volunteered for FCCLA.
Wanting to be a teacher in the future, Cerniglia enjoys spending time handing out candy to kids at the event. Whether she is seeing kids that she babysits regularly, teacher’s children, or kids that she has never met before she greets them all with a genuine smile.
Taking the Intro to Teaching Methods class her freshman and sophomore year, she was able to see the kids that she taught in her class at the event.
“That would be so cool,” said Cerniglia,”to get to see them outside of classes.”
After receiving candy the children were able to visit different activities like, mini golf, freeze dance, and pumpkin decorating.
Scolaro watched the event play out for the 12th year in a row as children socialized and laughed during the activities.
Scolaro has been hosting Haunted High School for all of the twelve years that it has been an event at Prospect High School, but, as she retires this year, she will finally be saying goodbye to hosting the Halloween tradition that she holds extremely close to her heart.
“The very first year we did this, we thought if we got 100 people we would be lucky,” said Scolaro.
As the staff at Prospect High School opened the doors on the first year of the event, 100 children flooded the building within ten minutes.
Every year that Haunted High School takes place, families bring Non-perishable foods with them for the food pantry. This year, 28 cases of food, containing around 100 pieces in each, along with $130 from purchased Jewel Osco gift cards were collected over the course of the event.
After the volunteers’ shifts ended, the last Haunted High School that would be hosted by Scolaro came to an end.
“I hope I left something positive behind for kids,” said Scolaro.