Sig Ep turning house into haunted mansion
The fraternity, partnering with the Netter Center, is hosting Halloween activities for school children
October 30, 2013, 8:40 pm · Updated October 30, 2013, 9:04 pm·
Sophia Ciocca | DP
Something wicked is coming to Walnut Street — but not too scary for kids.
In the spirit of Halloween, the brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon will transform their chapter house into a haunted mansion for about 50 students from Henry C. Lea Elementary School.
The first- through fourth-graders will visit the house on 40th and Walnut streets as part of their after-school program, where they will be divided into groups of seven or eight and participate in a number of activity stations — painting pumpkins, making caramel apples and reading ghost stories.
The haunted house will be open from 4 to 5 p.m. in the evening, before it gets dark outside. The brothers, with help from a few sororities, will be decorating the house with pumpkins and imitation spider web decorations and donning costumes to complete the haunted effect.
College junior and Sigma Phi Epsilon Vice President of Programming Josh Schwartz said the fraternity has already purchased about 50 small and several large pumpkins in preparation for the event.
“We’re all busy and what not, but there’s always time for helping out the community, especially … [working] with little kids,” Schwartz said. “We’ve all done service for the community — earlier in the semester we did soup kitchen type things — but while that’s very effective, it’s different when you’re actually working hands-on.”
The event was organized in collaboration with the University’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships. The Sig Ep brothers reached out to the Netter Center based on their past experience with the Center’s work.
Kristen Thomas, the Netter Center’s West Philadelphia Emerson Fellow, played a large role in establishing the partnership between Sigma Phi Epsilon and Lea Elementary.
Of the Center’s three partner elementary schools —Lea, Comegys and Huey — Lea was chosen to participate, as the school’s current Halloween plans may be too scary for the younger children, Thomas said.
“We were glad to offer a more fun alternative for the children right in their neighborhood,” said Thomas.
While Halloween is notorious for spiking young kids’ blood sugar levels, Sig Ep and the Netter Center hope to provide the kids with more nutritious alternatives. Thomas reached out to her colleagues at the Netter Center’s Urban Nutrition Initiative for some healthier alternatives to candy.
The kids will not be disappointed, though. “It’s Halloween — we’ll still let them indulge,” Schwartz said.
Sig Ep brothers as well as staff from Lea’s after-school program will be in attendance at the haunted house, and Thomas will represent the Netter Center.
“We are really hoping to make it a special day for the Lea students,” Thomas said. “It will also be fun for the brothers to spend a bit of time with some cute kids in costumes.”
“I’m most excited to see a couple of the brothers dressed up in costumes, popping out at kids to see their reactions. Hopefully they don’t get too startled,” Schwartz said.
Sig Ep is also not the only fraternity on campus transforming its chapter house for the holiday. Phi Gamma Delta will be holding a similar Halloween event from 3 to 5 p.m. today for Samuel B. Huey Elementary School students.