Three prominent organizations in Brooklyn came up with an extraordinary idea that included residents from the community: A Hallow “Neighbor” Hood bash. Man Up! Inc., Good Shepherd Services and Community Board 5 collaborated to host the biggest costume party, free of charge, at the Prince Joshua Avitto Community Center in East New York.
On Oct. 31, Halloween, people usually take their children trick-or-treating, also known as guising, carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, visit haunted houses or participate in apple bobbing. But the Hallow “Neighbor” Hood party was a full-sized package for the kids. It included a live DJ, a photo booth, costume and dance competitions, games and vast number of goodie bags.
The costume party was more than just a fiesta. Others objectives of the planners included giving back to the community, creating fun-filled activities that were accessible to the children and, most importantly, honoring 6-year-old Prince Joshua Avitto, who was a victim of a stabbing.
Before the party, Man Up! Inc. Executive Director Andre T. Mitchell emphasized the importance of civic engagement and community. Mitchell asked staff and Brooklyn business owners to free up their schedule or contribute monetary to the event. Man Up! Inc. staff also passed out flyers and posted content on their social media handles to spread the word about the party.
After numerous meetings and planning sessions, more than 100 children attended the Hallow “Neighbor” Hood with their parents and caregivers. The most popular costumes were superheroes, professionals, historians and characters from the movie “Black Panther.” Children wore positive-themed costumes, as a way to bring harmony into the center. The community center was created so residents can have a safe space to be themselves, utilize services and attract more children from the community.
Hip-hop magician Uncle Majic made a special appearance at the party. It was unexpected, but he was encouraged by Man Up! Inc. staff member Chawana Dunn and the East New York community to perform for the kids. The children loved magic tricks.
Participants played several games, including, Uno, Connect Four, checkers and other board games, video games and Jenga. There was also face painting for the children, and children were presented with T-shirts once the party concluded.
Overall, Hallow “Neighbor” Hood was a fun experience for both children and parents. The sponsoring organizations accomplished their goals and parents had a day filled with candy, smiles and laughs with their children.