Council members bring Halloween fun to East Orange

Photo by Chris Sykes East Orange Spokeswoman Connie Jackson, left, donned a blonde wig and a Captain America T-shirt on Halloween as she and her daughter stand together outside the 3rd Ward House of Horror in Elmwood park that Councilwoman Quilla Talmadge and her council partner, City Council Chairman Ted Green, host annually.
Photo by Chris Sykes
East Orange Spokeswoman Connie Jackson, left, donned a blonde wig and a Captain America T-shirt on Halloween as she and her daughter stand together outside the 3rd Ward House of Horror in Elmwood park that Councilwoman Quilla Talmadge and her council partner, City Council Chairman Ted Green, host annually.

EAST ORANGE, NJ — The citywide Halloween celebration East Orange held Monday, Oct. 31, took the help and support of both former Councilwoman Andrea McPhatter and East Orange Campus High School and Clifford J. Scott High School Alumni Association President Robert McGrady to take place in the 1st Ward.

McPhatter continues to host her First Friday events at the Jersey Explorer Children’s Museum on Dodd Street in the 1st Ward, which she once represented on City Council. McGrady continues to be involved with his nonprofit charitable activities on behalf of families in East Orange.

Together, McPhatter and McGrady teamed up with museum curator Gary Patnosh and the Jersey Explorers to host a pumpkin-carving event for local school children on Friday, Oct. 28. On Saturday, Oct. 29, city residents and visitors, such as the Bush family from neighboring Bloomfield, had a chance to view the East Orange schoolchildren’s handiwork on display during a pre-Halloween “Spooky Trail” barbecue and haunted holiday fun event for adults and children.

The Spooky Trail event also turned out to be a working occasion, however, since McPhatter, McGrady, Patnosh and the rest used that time to transform the Children’s Museum from a place of learning into a dungeon of thrills and chills that 1st Ward Council members Amy Lewis and Chris James put to good use on Halloween.

“They did a great job getting the building ready for us and I thank them for that,” said James on Monday, Oct. 31. “This was all the result of a total team effort, with everyone in the city coming together on behalf of our children and families to help make sure they could enjoy the safest Halloween possible. I also want to thank Recreation Department Director Osner Charles and Mayor Lester Taylor for all of their support.”

Charles said making children across East Orange happy is what his job is all about, adding that it’s just fun to do it.

“In the city of East Orange, we’re setting the standard for urban excellence and we’re being that destination city,” said Charles on Monday, Oct. 31, during a stop at the Civic Fellowship Circle in the 4th Ward to participate in the community Halloween party organized by Councilman Casim Gomez. “This is what we do. And we’re happy to do it.”

McPhatter said she’s happy to give back to the city and community that have done so much for her. That’s why, she said, she continues to be involved with events such as the recent Hunger Summit that Charles and Taylor hosted at Campus High School on Wednesday, Oct. 26, and the Spooky Trail on Saturday, Oct. 29.

“The children did a wonderful job; we had some of our local artists and kids from S.T.E.M., Sojourner Truth Middle School, Whitney Houston School and Langston Hughes, and … some of the children carved pumpkins,” said McPhatter on Saturday, Oct. 29.

“Do you know that the teachers were telling me that some of the children had never carved pumpkins before? So last Sunday, we took a group of children out to Windsor to the pumpkin farm and they went on hay rides and we did the corn fields and we got lost. We had a blast. Then we had the carve out and the only thing I felt bad about was that we didn’t have enough pumpkins to go around.

“You don’t need a title to help people. This is about serving and giving back in the community.”

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