With a spritely colored floral dress, frizzy gray hair and a hunched-back, fourth-grader Lucinda Ernst hobbled across the grounds of Monterey Hills Elementary, her Halloween transformation complete from 9-year-old to 90-year-old. As she stayed in character and grinned at the “youngins” around her, smiles broke out across the faces of students and adults alike.
She leaned on her flowered cane and adjusted her bonnet as she got ready to join the Halloween parade and carnival on Oct. 26, an annual tradition at the school going back decades.
“Everyone likes it and they want to feel my wig,” said Lucinda.
Her mother Megan Ernst shared that initially her daughter wanted to be a zombie but ended up choosing an elderly lady instead, accessorizing with an attachable lower back bulge. It was clear that many of the students had their own clever ideas as well as they organized in masse for the grade-by-grade parade.
“It’s such a happy event every year,” said Ernst. “I love it!”
Other costumed Roadrunners seen dancing and skipping across Monterey Hills included Beetlejuice, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (complete with wooden gavel), Robin Hood, princesses from many kingdoms, LeBron James of the Lakers, several fierce dragons, Thor, a robot, Charlie Chaplin, a family of jellyfish and a pair of unicorn riders.
Kindergartener Nolan McEvily struck a serious and stoic pose as a Star Wars stormtrooper as his preschool sister Finley McEvily, elegantly decked out as Princess Leia Organa, hugged him tightly. As Nolan recently saw his first Star Wars movie, he had caught the movie bug and Finley followed suit, according to parents Liz McEvily and Ian McEvily.
“She does whatever her brother wants to do,” Liz shared with a laugh.
The atmosphere was both spooky and whimsical as approximately 500 kids, parents and teachers came out to celebrate the fall holiday, according to Monterey Hills PTA president Judy Woo. She said it took about three months to organize the event between different committees and the kids really look forward to it. Cub Scouts Pack 139 came together to run the carnival which included different games and ticketed prizes as well.
“They love it,” said Woo. “It’s a good turnout.”
On the day of Halloween itself, the other schools within South Pasadena Unified School District jumped into the spirit. Marengo Elementary Lions held a storybook character parade. The Wildcats at Arroyo Vista Elementary held a Halloween parade, going grade by grade to music. South Pasadena Middle Tiger Cubs enjoyed a festive lunch period and the South Pasadena High Tigers held a costume competition over lunch complete with candy.