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Schools usher in fall holiday season

Annual pumpkin patch events draw families, community members to local schools.

October 19, 2011|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com
  • Eliana Hanna, 7, arches her back to hold the heavy weight of a pumpkin at the pumpkin patch set up for the children and families at La Canada Elementary School in La Canada on Friday, October 14, 2011. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Eliana Hanna, 7, arches her back to hold the heavy weight…

The landscape at Paradise Canyon Elementary school was transformed Friday into a Halloween bonanza, with parents stocking up on autumn pumpkins and children experimenting with face and hair paint.

The 20th annual harvest festival, one of several major fundraisers for the school, drew hundreds of families and community members.

“I think that it is just a time for families to gather and switch seasons to fall,” said Paradise Canyon parent Yvonne Herron.

La Cañada Elementary School also hosted a pumpkin patch on Friday, selling out by 4 p.m., said co-chair Gillan Abercrombie Frame.

“Year after year, school families and the community come out to support the event,” Abercrombie Frame said. “The pumpkins are always our biggest draw.”

It was a warm-up to La Cañada Elementary School’s annual Halloween Haunt carnival scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 22. Children preschool through sixth grade are invited to participate in the costume contest, said chairperson Suzanne Jensen.

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Items in a live auction will include VIP tickets to Jay Leno and an ocean-view stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu, Jensen added. Wrist bands are available for $45, and individual tickets can be purchased for $1. The Halloween Haunt is La Cañada Elementary School’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

At Paradise Canyon Friday, all the pumpkins were donated by La Cañada-based Realtor Carey Haynes, leaving 100% of profits to go directly back to the school, said event chairwoman Camilla Hartman. Children got their faces and hair painted in eye-catching colors, while mothers sold baked goods.

The most popular activity was a live DJ, who set up shop in the school auditorium and led students in group dances such as the macarena.

“La Cañada is all about community, and this is just an example of that,” Herron said.
 
 

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