“I know that when I was a student at Shawnee (State) several years ago, they started it as a program that was over in the University Center, and I think it was just for the students who went to Shawnee and their children, so it started off really small,” said Tiffany Weaver, coordinator of Student Activities. “But then we started inviting the community, and about three or four years ago, it got to the point that when we were in the University Center, we couldn't fit everybody in there anymore.
“So I had to move it into the gym, and it is just by word of mouth. People love it.”
Tim and Lesley Buckle brought their four children, Madison, Brooklyn, Natalie and Colton.
“We have friends who work at the school here, and they've been coming, this makes their fourth year, and they just love everything about it,” Tim Buckle said. “We know a lot of people here which is very nice.”
Weaver said the event not only was for the children, but for SSU students as well.
“It's a great opportunity for our students and student clubs that run the different booths,” she said. “So it's a great opportunity for the student clubs to interact with the community.”
Ariel Gosnell, dressed as an angel, complete with a halo, seemed to have fun rolling a pumpkin across the floor. She also had a game plan.
“I want to play games,” she said.
Along with the children, about 100 students volunteered at the carnival.
“We wanted to come and show our support for Shawnee State, and help with the children's carnival tonight,” said Emily Curtis, a student from Ashley, in Delaware County.
Curtis was busy arming the kids with crayons at the event.
“The kids are coloring pictures. We have bear paws, we have Shawnee bears and Shawnee S's, and they are going to color them; and they can either keep them or give them to us. And we're going to make a big collage in the gym and show support for the athletic teams here at Shawnee State.”
Every year, children ranging in age from newborns to 12-year-olds are decked out in their finest costumes for the event.
Kaden Davis said he knew all about his costume.
“I'm dressed like SpongeBob,” Kaden said. But he couldn't be slowed down for long. “I want to get some candy.”
Tables were set up for the children to play games, win prizes and candy, and to get their faces painted.
One of the guests of honor was Shawn E. Bear, the SSU mascot, who had no problem drawing a crowd. The children took turns being photographed with the popular university representative.
While at times it may have appeared to be organized chaos, SSU students had the event under control so the children got to rotate from booth to booth, and it was obvious Weaver was happy with the participation.
“First off, it's for the kids. It's a safe place, it's well lit, and you know the university is going to provide fun and safe entertainment for your children,” she said. “And we try every year to do something different. Like this year, we did the inflatables, and we thought that would be a blast, and look how many are on them right now. But it's really for the community. It's for all of us to join together. After all, these kids may be future Shawnee State students; and they'll remember that they came down here when they were 5 or 6 years old, and they'll have good memories.”