A group of colorfully costumed children paraded through the halls of Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation on Thursday, trick-or-treating the offices there.
The children are students at Positive Tomorrows, a private, tuition-free Oklahoma City elementary school that exclusively serves homeless children. The kids were wearing Halloween costumes specially made for them by students in Oklahoma City University's Arts Management Costume Lab.
“It's very exciting for our students to get to do this sort of thing,” said Susan Agel, president and principal at Positive Tomorrows.
The teachers and staff at Positive Tomorrows work hard to provide their students some of the rites of childhood they might otherwise miss out on because of their living situations. Homeless children often don't get to play sports, take music lessons and have full-blown Halloween costumes like their peers.
“We try to make up for a lot of that stuff,” Agel said. They do so with the help of the community, such as the OCU student costume designers and OCU music students who provide the kids music lessons.
Students in the costume lab at OCU began the costume-making process in September by visiting with the children to find out what kind of costumes they wanted.
Some wanted to be fairy princesses, super heroes, and University of Oklahoma football players.
“We try to steer them away from anything too gory,” Agel said. “We have children here who are dealing with a lot of trauma in their lives ... sometimes life can be scary enough.”
When the OCU students delivered the costumes to the homeless children, it was a bit more like Christmas than Halloween, the children were so excited about their costumes, Agel said.
OMRF was just one stop on the children's trick-or-treating tour.
On Friday, they collected candy at Investra, and Tuesday the kids will again get to show off their personalized costumes at an undisclosed location.
Positive Tomorrows has about 42 children enrolled currently. The school can only accept up to 48 students, Agel said, and the school is actively filling the positions that recently became open.
This year alone, Agel said the school has had to turn away 31 children because of space limitations.
The nonprofit organization depends on funding from United Way, corporate and private donors, and fundraisers. On Nov. 27, the agency will hold a Gold Star Luncheon, one of its largest annual fundraisers. The event uses volunteer table captains who invite friends to sit at their tables. For information or to make a donation to Positive Tomorrows, go online to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 556-5082.