By Anna Gustafson
Bay Terrace students donned their spookiest hats and hit the courtyard at PS 169 for the elementary school’s annual Halloween parade that officials said gives students an important creative outlet and brings the community together.
“They get an opportunity to express themselves with their hats,” said PS 169 Principal Vanessa Rosa. “It’s a nice, positive way to celebrate Halloween.”
The students in kindergarten through fifth-grade at the school, at 18-25 212th St., spent a couple of weeks working on their hats in the art class taught by Sandy Kaufman, who wore her own hat made of M&M’s.
“Each class had a theme, but they were allowed to deviate from that,” Kaufman said. “The themes were a lot of fun, like ‘Dr. Seuss’ and ‘wizard and witches.’ Fourth- and fifth-graders could do whatever they wanted, like using feathers or trim.”
Bayside resident Emma Horne, 10, used cotton balls to make spider webs on her cone-shaped hat around which she wrapped black fabric.
“I really like the parade because we get to run around later in the day,” said Horne, who dressed up as Athena, the goddess of wisdom from Greek mythology, for Halloween.
Kimberly Streath, 9, of Bayside, said she made her hat blue because it is her favorite color.
“The parade has really nice music, and it’s fun to dance,” said Kimberly, who went as Medusa, a snake-haired woman from Greek mythology who could turn people to stone, for the holiday.
Many of the students’ parents turned out for the parade and stood cheering for their children as they walked in a circle around the courtyard.
“This is a very important event because we’re all sharing something fun together,” said Ryham Hassan, of Bay Terrace, who has two children at the school. “The best thing about this school is the zone is little, so all the parents can come to see the parade. We love the hat parade.”
Annette Kunin, the school’s former principal who retired in August, started the parade about 14 years ago when she first started working at the school, and she said it has become a beloved tradition in the years since its founding.
“We tell all the kids we love their hats,” Kunin said. “We really encourage them. It’s a great community-building activity, and it gets more and more popular.”
Students said they were impressed by their colleagues’ creative efforts and said they hope the parade will be a tradition that continues for decades to come.
“Watching everybody wearing a hat is fun,” said Nari Kim, 10. “I liked doing mine. I added netting material to it and drew a pumpkin filled with candy. I wanted to make it creative.”
Giana Luca, 10, constructed a shopping-themed hat.
“I like shopping, so I wanted to show that,” said Luca, who dressed up as Sandy from the movie “Grease” for Halloween. “I like seeing all my friends in different grades and seeing all the fun, colorful hats.”
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4574.