Malden’s Community Garden Presents the Annual Haunted Gardens

For more pictures from this event, click here

Malden’s Community Garden is proud to present their second year of “Haunted Gardens.” The garden is located on the bike path on Railroad Avenue which is about a 10 minute walk from Malden High School, and the event took place on Saturday, October 19th, in celebration of halloween. With the help from members of the community and co-sponsors of the event itself: Eliot Human Services and Kate Grieves, Haunted Gardens had a positive turnout.

Senior Yadira Duarte focusing on her masterpiece of a butterfly being painted on the little girls face.

Julia Mangan has now been running the garden for the past five years. Mangan explains that “the Community Garden Development Project, is sponsored by the Mayor’s Office, Ward 5 Councilor Barbara Murphy, Malden Redevelopment Authority (MRA), Groundwork Somerville, Bike to the Sea Inc., and supported in part by a grant from the Malden Cultural Council– a local agency. This project is also funded in part by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant program. Additional funding has also been made by Keurig Coffee and Seeds of Change and Project Management was provided by Groundwork Somerville Project Manager, Clay Larsen.” 

Mangan’s love for halloween is was sparked her idea to create Haunted Gardens. She  emphasizes that for this event, she wanted to “open the gardens to the public to have fun. She think[s] putting up Halloween decorations is wonderful and thought if everyone decorated their plot, then [their] garden would look really spooky and it just evolved from there.” 

With winter approaching, this event was a fun way to end the year off on a good note. Mangan plans on continuing this every year, along with upholding monthly meetings to discuss future plans for the garden. 

The garden has a positive impact on the community and as Mangan highlights, affect on “it educates people about what [they are] doing, even if [they are] just looking around and realizing there is a community garden. These events bring joy and laughter to people, especially kids.”

Joining the festivities is the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) TASK (Teen Advocates Sharing Knowledge) Program. The girls that currently work at the YWCA shared that the event was a “success.” Senior Kayla Cadet in particular, expressed that within her job range, they work on many community based projects and therefore, have the opportunity to work with “different people and enjoy[s] it.” The Haunted Gardens was one out of many events that they have taken part in Cadet shares that her favorite part of it was “seeing the kids happy.”

Along with Cadet are the other seven girls who work at the YWCA; all of which were in charge of the face painting station. There were a total of five stations: face painting, candy giveaway, wand and potion pot making, pumpkin patch, and pumpkin decorating. In comparison to last year, a couple old ones were replaced and new ones were added. Cadet said that she enjoyed Haunted Gardens more this year because she felt that “there is more activities and their is not an overwhelming amount of kids.”

Another YWCA peer leader, sophomore Tracy Nganga said that she liked the event as it was her first time hearing about it and being a part of it. She has only been working at the YWCA for a month but said that so far, she enjoys the factor of it that includes “meeting new people and working on different projects that will help the community.” Nganga is in agreement with Cadet that “the kids being so happy with the finishing product” after the face painting was the best part.

The Mass in Motion Coordinator and the YWCA TASK Advisor, Christina Murphy, believes that what takes place at the garden “brings people together. Plus it is a free event which [she] think[s] is really great for people who may be struggling financially and therefore, do not have to worry. [They] can just come and have fun regardless.” With Murphy working at the YWCA for the past 16 years, she expresses that working with the girls is “the best” and thinks it is good for them to “get out in the community and help. It is also good that [they] know where things are in the city, making [them] worldly maldonians.”

As soon as April hits, 60 more garden beds are to be expected. The garden community has proven to be a success and from here, only continues to grow and prosper every year.

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