Ask some people and the annual 5th Grade Pumpkin Painting fundraiser has been going on at Washington School for nearly two decades. The event, which raises money for school field trips is filled with Halloween treats, face painting, a hay ride, and of course, tons of pumpkins.
Three-hundred and twenty-nine, to be exact.
Ellen Lehrich, who co-chaired this year's Washington School event along with another 5th grade mom, Sharyn Colon said the turnout was very successful. "The kids did a lot of promotion," she said about 5th grade students who gave class room presentations that encouraged other kids to join the party.
The moms and student's alike said the good weather Thursday was a compliment that drew hundreds to the grounds of Washington school to enjoy a treat and get creative with paint and gourds.
Last year's event suffered from a little too much rain, according to Colon. But with a solid group of sponsors that included Somerset Hills Bank across the street and a generous contribution of pumpkins from Kings supermarkets, along with a class of excited 5th graders to lead the way this years fundraiser felt like a success.
Scott Tracy, who was on hand with his son and daughter said the event was a must for his family around Halloween time. "We do this every year," said the Summit-based DJ whose EMS DJ's company works city events from time to time. Tracy said his neighborhood block party over on West End Avenue was the next big Halloween event he and his family were looking forward to.
The pumpkins that dotted the perimeter of the elementary school were in all colors. Some more elegantly painted than others, some with bulging eyes and others that looked like perfecly abstract Halloween art.
For the 5th graders, it's a day of service in some ways. They help unpack and prepare the party and use the proceeds for their education.
"The kids love it. Our 5th graders worked really hard," said Washington school teacher Carol Groote. "They are taking it very responsibly."
Fifth-grade students were treated to a special hay ride near the end of the party. Iain Alvidrez,10, was beaming with anticipation. "We just cleaned the pumpkins yesterday," he said. The students were involved in every step of the party process, even forming an assembly line to bring in the pumpkins. Hard work that was worth every drop of sweat. "We're raising money for our school!" he explained.
The proceeds from treats sold during the event will go towards two planned field trips this school year. One trip to study science at Franklin Mines and another to enjoy the zoo in the Bronx. "It feels good to help other people and to get money for the field trips," Alvidrez said before sprinting off to his hay ride.