Balloons over Bullets and CPFSJ give families a taste of Halloween fun
by: Bob Highfill
Posted: Nov 1 , 2020
Near him, several kids wearing Halloween costumes trick-or-treated, painted tiny pumpkins, took part in a spider toss game, grabbed pumpkins to take home or stood in line for hot dogs fresh off the grill.
Nine-year-old Daniel Cruz-Torres, left, competes with his 8-year-old brother Jordan Torres in a pie-eating contest at the Balloons Over Bullets Halloween event at Weberstown Park in Stockton.
“It’s so much fun,” said Demar Johnson, a Stockton native, musician and community activist, who launched Balloons over Bullets to restore activities for youth in Stockton. “There’s so much love and we’re getting ready to do a water balloon fight.”
On Saturday afternoon, Weberstown Park in Stockton was a Halloween wonderland as Balloons over Bullets presented a mini-harvest festival in conjunction with the Community Partnership for Families of San Joaquin, which has a resource center across the street from the park on Kentfield Road in the Villa Monterey apartments.
Balloons over Bullets founder DeMar Johnson hands out candy at the organization’s Halloween event this weekend. “Today is all about the kids,” Johnson said. “Our new partnership with CPFSJ, they informed us they weren’t going to be doing anything with the kids this year, so we said, ‘Why not?’ We have to do something for the kids in the community, so we’re here now.”
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“Today is all about the kids,” Johnson said. “Our new partnership with CPFSJ, they informed us they weren’t going to be doing anything with the kids this year, so we said, ‘Why not?’ We have to do something for the kids in the community, so we’re here now.”
Carina Garza, dressed as a zombie, held her two-month-old daughter, Xiomara, while three of her little ones played nearby. Garza and her kids have attended Balloons over Bullets and other family events and said they’re always fun.
“Due to COVID, I think it’s smaller this year,” Garza said. “It’s something for them do because I don’t know if they’re doing trick-or-treating this year or not. We like to go to events.”
Carina Garza wore ghoulish makeup while holding her 2-month old frog-costume-wearing daughter Xiomara Garza at the Balloons Over Bullets’ Halloween event at Weberstown Park in Stockton.
Monique Sauceda, site manager at Villa Monterey Community Resource Center with CPFSJ, has worked with several organizations, including the Stockton Police Department, at community outreach events to draw attention to CPFSJ’s services, such as year-round tax assistance, case management, employment training, youth programs, and a homework pod that’s in the works at Villa Monterey with Balloons Over Bullets.
“We’re hoping to start that in the next two to three weeks,” Sauceda said. “We meet families and individuals where they are. We’re a safe place for anybody to come in.”