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Turlock community sugarcoats Halloween horror with good fun
Attendees at CSU Stanislaus Halloween Gala strike a scary pose as they navigate between the games and haunted house.

Turlock was abuzz with sweet and scary options for youth on Halloween, including a blood drive, trick-or-treating, and haunted houses. Students dressed in costumes ranging from charming to creepy at Pitman High School as they waited in line to donate blood at the Hispanic Youth Leadership Club’s appropriately timed blood drive. Younger children found more playful fun at community sponsored events that ran from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Parents shepherded kids down Main Street and its surrounding corridors for the Kiwanis sponsored Community Trick-or-Treat for sugary treats. The free popcorn from Lancaster Painting was a big hit with the youngsters as they shoved handfuls in their mouths walking from business to business with bags of candy slung over their arms. 

That evening, California State University, Stanislaus welcomed all ages to their Halloween Gala and there was no shortage of scary surprises. Screams could be heard echoing from the haunted house aimed at the more mature crowd, while the younger kids played corn hole and trick-or-treated. Parents brought infants and mingled with college students who worked the event, creating a convivial atmosphere despite the considerable number of creepy costumes.

Pitman High School students did not have to wait to get out of school to experience the gory Halloween spirit since they got to see blood pumping first hand at the HYLC fall blood drive. There are 15 HYLC clubs in California and Pitman’s is the largest this year with about 100 members. HYLC has partnered with Blood Source for the past four years to host the bi-annual blood drives, a relationship that was forged through the Club’s Advisor Vicente Rosales.

“We’re really close with Blood Source and communicate well with them,” said Vicente Rosales Jr., Rosales’ son and vice president of the club.

Blood Source provided free t-shirts and snacks for students who donated a pint of blood. About 13 HYLC members rotated in pairs throughout the day to provide donation information and assist in directing students to the correct Blood Source van.

Students are often not able to donate blood due to low iron levels, dehydration, recent illness, or consumption of antibiotics. Despite their desire to help, some students were prevented from donating;. However, despite his fear HYLC President Felipe Laiton was able to successfully donate a pint of blood.

“I am really freaked out by needles, but I decided to do it because my dad donates and I know it’s for a good cause,” said Laiton.

About 115 students turned in parent permission slips to donate blood, and the club will know how many students were able to donate based on the pints of blood that Blood Source accumulated at the end of the drive.