Not Just Kids Only: Halloween Costumes, Magic, Roller Skating at Jelleff

There were close to 100 children, their parents and a number of pet dogs, variously dressed as skeletons, super heroes, pumpkins, princesses and bats (one of the dogs) on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the first Halloween party ever hosted by the Citizens Association of Georgetown in partnership with the newly formed community group Friends of Jelleff. Held at the soon-to-be completely renovated Jelleff Recreation Center at 3265 S St. NW, the party was free and everyone was invited.

There were plenty of tricks and treats. Excited children laughed, oohed and ahhed at the slight-of-hand antics of the energetic magician Jonathan Steele — self identified as “Captain All Star.” After his show, he led a parade of hopping, skipping jumping, laughing costumed children and dogs around the playing field (“See you at dinner time,” the pied piper magician waved to the parents as he set off).

During the two-hour afternoon party, there were tables of Halloween snacks, games and pumpkins to be decorated. Volunteers from the Friends of the R Street Library set up three tables of free books for different-age children and teens. During the party, almost everyone tried on the skates given out by Jelleff Rec Center Director Robert Stowers, to glide backwards, forwards, fall and get up with giggles and determination. The children’s Halloween costume tiaras, ears and wings, hoods and halos became a bit askew as they eventually skated around the basketball court of the second floor rec center — often with the help of parents who buoyed them up halfway round (and whose youthful backs probably stiffened up later in the evening). Given the fun the kids were having, definitely worth it.

While the kids had a fun time, so too did the adults, including Georgetown leaders, such as Ward 2 Council member Brooke Pinto, Georgetown-Burleith Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Kishan Putta and CAG President Tara Sakraida Parker, who had organized the multifaceted event. The Halloween party could be regarded as a first big step in the evolution of the Jelleff Recreation Center — that for over 50 years has hosted the Girls and Boys Club of Georgetown, dozens of basketball leagues and Saturday night skate parties — into what will be a large fully equipped and refurbished $37 million community center for all Georgetowners of all ages in several years.

The construction budget of $37 million and a feasibility study for the new center were approved early in 2022 after years of neighborhood meetings, planning and then a sudden surprise expansion of a $7 million remake of the old building to comply with safety and health policies, to now a community center with two sports gyms, modernized locker rooms and showers, meeting spaces for community organizations, a large kitchen and a fully accessible entry lounge. The public swimming pool on the east end of the building will be moved farther eastward to accommodate the new building entrance and meeting and recreation spaces.

A town hall meeting to discuss the actualization of the building plans with the architect and the Department of Parks and Recreation is planned for Monday, Nov. 7, according to Pinto and Putta. “The feasibility study that by definition had many gaps will now be filled out with actual construction plans in conjunction with community input,” Pinto told The Georgetowner.

The Nov. 7 meeting will begin 6:30 p.m. at Hardy Middle School at 1819 35th St. NW.

The older kids — Ellen Eisenberg, Ward 2 Council member Brooke Pinto, Citizens President Tara Sakraida Parker, Stephanie Bothwell (front row); John Rentzepis, Cristi Cline and CAG Executive Director Brittany Sawyer (back row). Georgetowner photo.


Georgetown-Burleith Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Kishan Putta with his wife, Divya Swamy, and son, Om. Georgetowner photo.


Roller skating at Jelleff gym. Georgetowner photo.


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