“That’s all she wanted?” Gloria Sax said. “If only [parenting] were that easy.”
Barbara Flynn, director of the college’s Parent Education Program, knows well the challenges facing parents. Her program consists of 33 classes, many of them with waiting lists, and boasts an association intent on giving back.
Their mission in the dour economy was to stage a family-friendly event where parents could spend less than $20 without having to deny their children activities.
There was a pin the nose on the pumpkin, a rubber-ducky pond, spider ring toss, tattoos, crafts, story time and an area cordoned off for toddlers.
“It’s our first major event, aside from fundraisers,” said Flynn, flanked by children decorating pumpkins, shooting hoops and running their fingers through the sticky coat of a sheep. “And it’s really being put on for the parents.”
Organizers sought to create a fun, harvest atmosphere, with straw bundles, a locomotive and farm animals framed against the backdrop of a busy freeway. In a nod to parents enrolled in the program, tables and chairs were designed to accommodate children 1 through 5, like Jack.
The 4-year-old, sporting a mohawk and one-piece pajama suit, sprinted from one station to the next, knocking over a sack of cookies and demanding another train ride as soon as he disembarked.
“I told them they’re allowed to be spoiled today,” said his mother, Lauren, pushing a two-seat carriage. “They’re already unpacking Halloween costumes.”
This October, she said, will be the first Jack will remember.
Nolan Adams, 6, kept to the pumpkin station while his family made the rounds.
He’s looking forward to carving a Los Angeles Dodgers logo as part of his father’s Oct. 31 contest to determine who could whittle the most creative design. After, they’ll toast the pumpkin seeds and fill hollowed-out eggs with confetti and seeds to toss at friends and neighbors.
Dad’s dressing up as a pirate, while Nolan plans to don the uniform of his favorite Dodger, he said.
“It’s good luck,” said Nolan, who confessed that he began wearing the costume sometime in spring training.
“Hopefully we can make this part of the tradition,” said his father, Michael Adams. “They’re having fun in their own way.”