PATERSON, NJ – Children all across Paterson enjoyed a fun and safe Halloween thanks to the efforts of members of the Paterson police and fire departments, and several community groups throughout the city.
TAPinto Paterson visited three of these events and met several princesses, superheroes, ghosts and goblins.
At Barbour Park Paterson Cares, a non-profit organization originally established to help feed homeless residents, was preparing for visitors from the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg School. The park, once known as a destination of choice for drug users, has been reclaimed by the community.
Roger “Gee” Grier spoke proudly of the efforts he and his fellow volunteers had put in calling it an “assignment from God.” Grier was excited that there were several other community events happening for Halloween and when asked what he got out of participating he said simply, “the children’s smiles, that’s the reward.”
Just down the street the Paterson Police Department hosted their first annual Trunk-O-Treat in front of Police Headquarters. Several police officers, some dressed up in costumes, were distributing treats to grateful children. While masked children also looked at emergency vehicles kitted out for the day screams could be heard coming from the haunted bus that had been set up.
Among the volunteers handing out candy at the event were Tammy and Emma Murphy, the wife and daughter of Ambassador Phil Murphy, who is running for Governor in next Tuesday’s election. “It’s fun to be here with the kids,” Mrs. Murphy said. “We look forward to being back next year.”
Appearing to enjoy the festivities as much as the children was Paterson Police Captain Lourdes Phelan. Suggesting that the goal of community policing was to make law enforcement accessible at all times, not just in emergencies, the event was, Phelan said, “a positive way to bond with residents.”
Finally, overlooking the Great Falls, members of the Paterson Fire Department’s chapter of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, hosted a “Creepy Collaboration” Halloween Party at the Paterson Firemans Hall.
For Paterson Fire Captain Alton Dickson, President of the Bronze Heat, the event was just an extension of their efforts to serve the community. “Too many Paterson children don’t believe they can become police or firefighters,” Dickson said. “We want to show them that they can dream bigger, and do anything.”