Photos and images courtesy of We Love Long Beach.
We Love Long Beach (WLLB) is looking to bring the full "spooktacular" spirit of Halloween to the community a week early, as the organization's annual Pumpkin Party tradition dictates. Delicious food, elaborate pumpkin carving and neighborhood bonding are once again on the agenda.
After sending out a citywide search for hosts, WLLB announced that 60 hosts in 34 different neighborhoods have volunteered to celebrate the third annual citywide Pumpkin Party in their homes this Saturday, expected to be the largest Pumpkin Party yet, according to the organization. The party will take place from 3:00PM to 5:00PM.
In May, WLLB was awarded a $30,000 Knight Foundation grant through the Long Beach Community Foundation, to provide funding for two citywide events, according to the release. The third annual Citywide Pumpkin Party is the first that will benefit from the grant, while the second will be held in early 2016.
“We are thrilled by the number of Long Beach residents who are kindly welcoming their next-door neighbors and are celebrating the arrival of Fall together, while getting to know one another and strengthening the social fabric of their community,” said Scott Jones, WLLB executive director and co-founder in a statement.
Last year, 700 people participated at 25 host locations, a release issued by WLLB stated.
For this year’s party, the organization is encouraging residents to bring pumpkins to carve and a meal to share with neighbors, all while using #PumpkinLB and #WeLoveLB hashtags on social media to spread the festive fall spirit.
“After last year’s event, we heard incredible stories of new friendships that were formed at Jack-O-Lantern tables all across the city,” said Jones in a statement. “We expect that we will see more of the same this Saturday, with several returning hosts as well as many neighborhoods that will be participating for the first time. We are slowly building a culture of connection and neighborliness led by residents, not by We Love Long Beach, and that is more sustainable for the city’s overall well-being.”
Funding from the Knight Foundation Grant will go toward gift cards for each host to purchase supplies and refreshments from local grocer Lazy Acres. Additionally, Lazy Acres has provided discounted pumpkins to the hosts, as well as free reusable bags.