Back to school again, parents at OU relive their younger days

Every year, hundreds of Ohio University parents prepare for a weekend throwback to their college days. One of the many, many, weekends geared towards families. The University ensures that there is plenty to do around campus to keep the elders busy by things other than booze.

So, what were parents up to this weekend?

Many families opted to check out the football game. Some students stayed to watch the whole thing, even after they saw Marching 110 perform. If you missed the game, never fear, tons of reporting was done because everyone loves sports. In short, OU won and Garden-Webb lost.

Ohiobobcats, a CBSi affiliate do an excellent job of serving up exactly how the game played out and offers readers a chance to go in-depth or just stick with the basics.

Sticking with some outdoor fun, Outdoor Pursuits offers students and their families activities such as zip lining, and campfires!

Some families prefer nightlife at Ohio University choosing to check out special events and shows. The Union featured Athen native musicians, check out some cool photojournalism done by WOUB’s Joe Votaw.

Maybe, you were looking for a laugh or wanted to see a professional illusionist, parents weekend was filled with shows right on campus. Including a magician from Broadway and a famous improv group from Chicago. Ohio University event services break down all the events on an easy to use calendar. So, no excuses missing anything else that’s coming up!

For a complete list of events that occurred this week the best site, is actually the most generic coming straight from Ohio Universities Compass. Listing loads of events, prices, and details it’s easy to find what went on this weekend.

Of course, some parents still opted to relive their rowdy college days and ignored all school functions…

If you’re like me your parents probably didn’t even know it was their weekend. Don’t worry, there’s three other designated weekend for family fun. Up next, dad’s weekend (Nov. 4-6)! In 2017, siblings and moms are invited up during February and March respectively. Luckily, no planning goes into these weekends because OU won’t fail to have plenty to choose from.

Honey for the Heart puppets give HallOUween family flair

Honey for the Heart puppet infographic
The anatomy of a Honey for the Heart puppet

Giant creatures with purple skin, long, stringy yarn hair and billowing clothes dance with the rooftops. Smaller creatures glide along the streets with multicolored faces and clothes adorned with bells and shiny objects while they weave in and out of the crowd. Children watch, mouths agape, eyes wide, as creativity and passion take over Court Street.

Halloween in Athens has a new reputation emerging — a reputation for 15-foot-tall puppets making their way down Court Street on the day of the big block party. Honey for the Heart entices people from around the country to see and partake in the making of the puppets.  Local artists drop everything to assist  in creating the masterpieces that ensure a family-friendly atmosphere.

It can be hard to find things to do in Athens that don’t take place around the “party school” atmosphere. Honey for the Heart offers a haven for students to expand their creative minds and see what’s beyond the walls of their classrooms and college parties.

Camille Jones, a student at Ohio University, said, “It’s a place to create and use parts of your brain that don’t get put to much use normally.”

Jones is a learning community leader for first-year students at Ohio University and brought her students to participate in Honey for the Heart. They helped the local artists make their giant puppets and had the satisfaction of seeing them during the parade when they attended as a group.

Learning communities have played a key role in Honey for the Heart’s success. The learning community leaders are encouraged to bring their learning communities to the parade and get the students involved to show them how much Athens has to offer outside of classes.

“I love that it brings students close to the citizens of Athens in a way that isn’t really possible in other mediums,” Jones said. The Athens community supports the university in every way it can. The learning communities view this as a way for the university to support the community as well and change the reputation of HallOUween.

Children flock to watch the spectacle every year, mouths agape and eyes wide in shock and maybe a touch of fear as the 15-footers get closer and closer. Each puppet is different and has its own personality that reflects the artists and community members who contributed to it. A distinct style represented is that of Passion Works Studio. Passion Works helps mentally handicapped artists make beautiful pieces of art year-round. Many of those artists take up residence in 29 East Carpenter St. weeks prior to share materials and work together to make the best puppets.

The puppets are made completely out of recycled or donated objects consisting of newspaper, balloons, fabric and many other earthy materials. Students are able to just walk into the workshop and are immediately welcomed by the artists.

The Air Force ROTC detachment helped make a puppet this year and saw how much work was put into each one. The puppet takes weeks to make, and afterward, it’s donated to different organizations or businesses or recycled for next year’s parade. Riley Carpenter, a member of the Air Force detachment, said they were given a puppet to play pranks on each other with throughout the remainder of the year.

“The fun is just prolonged that much further,” Carpenter said.

The puppets don’t just attract students who want to make the Halloween festivities more family friendly, but also artists from across the country. Janie Arriaga made the journey from Houston, Texas, to make a puppet and march down Court Street. Her puppet was among the tallest, with a glittery purple face, shaggy purple felt hair and bright pink eyelashes. Its hands were larger than the average person’s head and it donned a cloak of brown patterned and lace shreds of fabric. Arriaga plans to become a regular for the Honey for the Heart parade.

The funky town of Athens did not just come up with the idea of giant puppets on its own. It was inspired by the puppet parades in the 1960s and ’70s to protest the Vietnam War. The puppets took over the streets of Manhattan to show one of the busiest cities in the world opposition to the war. Athens took its own angle, making them more playful as a means to provide something more to do on Halloween than the typical block party or trick or treating.

Ellie Bostwick, a student at Ohio University, attended the Honey for the Heart parade for the first time this year and was blown away by the creativity and time put into each puppet.

“It was so cool to see things that I would have normally thrown away being used to create these giant figures and making them look awesome,” Bostwick said. The puppet whose height danced along the rooftops and multistory buildings had old film tape for hair and was constructed completely out of old newspapers, balloons and old clothes. “It was my favorite because it just showed what people can do when they all work together to try to make something that wows people,” said Bostwick.

Patty Mitchell told WOUB, the local news station, that the parade is a spectacle of joy that shows the spirit of Athens. It is something that draws students, children, professors and artists to the streets to see the displays. Each puppet can appeal to the different viewers of the parade.

The balloon lover will see a man wrapped with balloons. A large extension coming from his back with bright colors and twisting lines, forming the weirdest balloon animal one can imagine.

The papier-mache lover will see figures lasting blocks and blocks. Almost every puppet in the parade has an element of the gluey, modge podge technique. Modge podge is a craft supply artists use when making papier-mache. Whether it enhances a nose or makes a giant head for a green Martian, Modge podge is all over Court Street for the parade.

Maggie Rush, a student and contributor to the event said she loves how she can go to the parade and not know what to expect year after year. The general style is the same over-the-top type of thing, but each puppet gets bigger and better throughout the years as the artists become more comfortable with the idea of making larger-than-life art.

Even though the puppets change every year, one thing stays the same — an oasis for families in Athens and an escape from the craziness that is the block party. There is a juxtaposition of the family friendly atmosphere of the Honey for the Heart parade and the block party that revolves around drinking and partying. The parade takes place earlier in the day so families can be a part of Halloween in a good way and can change the reputation of Halloween, even if it’s one puppet at a time.


Sarah Erickson is a junior Publication Design/Infographics major with a minor in Journalism. She has a passion for design and art and tries to live every day to the fullest. Check out her design portfolio.