In 2019, eight Carondelet High School students and three academic staff went to Los Angeles for the CSJ Student Leadership Conference with their sister high schools Academy of Our Lady of Peace of San Diego, St. Mary’s Academy of Inglewood, and St. Joseph’s High School of Lakewood. While on their trip, Carondelet High School’s group was given a tour of the Doheny campus at Mount Saint Mary’s University by Shannon Green, where they discovered that Mount Saint Mary’s had a similar Halloween tradition and that both traditions had been started by CSJ Sisters.
For the past eighteen years, Mount Saint Mary’s University has been hosting their Halloween Haunted Campus on October 31st each year, rain or shine. They have over 13,000 bags of candy donated and more than 5,000 families that celebrate throughout the day (1). They decorate all of the mansions along the main road of the Doheny campus, and the kids are able to go door to door in a safe environment. How did such a large operation take form? Well, it actually started off almost identical to how Carondelet High School’s event currently runs.
Carondelet’s St. Marty’s Party has been part of the Carondelet community since its doors opened in 1965. Originally, Carondelet would send students and adults out to Oakland, California, to host a party at a Diocesan school called Saint Patrick’s, but eventually moved Saint Pat’s Party to their campus in Concord (2). When Saint Patrick’s School joined with Saint Martin de Poores, Carondelet renamed the party Saint Marty’s Party. Although Saint Martin de Poores School closed in 2017, Carondelet has kept the name Saint Marty’s Party in honor of the years spent serving that community. Now, Carondelet hosts children from Monument Crisis Center, and pulls out all the stops for ultimate convenience. Carondelet rents a bus to bring the students to their campus, makes sure each child has a Carondelet student buddy, a costume, and a pillowcase, and then goes trick-or-treating throughout the campus and partakes in a variety of games and activities, going home with plenty of candy, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a book, and an adopted stuffed animal of their choosing.
Mount Saint Mary’s now sticks to trick-or-treating due to the sheer volume of participants, while Carondelet’s much smaller audience has allowed them to maintain the carnival-like atmosphere.
The students from Carondelet were in shock that the event that they felt was so interwoven and unique to Carondelet’s tradition was actually even bigger than just their school. We are proud to share in the CSJ’s vision of providing a safe and fun place to celebrate Halloween.