A Spook-tacular Halloween Carnival

Mark Ballas.

There was a warm atmosphere on a cool afternoon on the backlot of Universal Studios last weekend. Lots of young celebrities were seen celebrating at the Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times’ 20th annual Halloween Carnival presented by Jakks Cares. Kids and adults were dressed in costumes, with many witches, vampires, princesses, pirates, and Hulks roaming around, along with Ronald McDonald, of course. But it was the folks wearing the bright orange t-shirts that got my attention at the festive event. They were the great volunteers who were so friendly and helpful. They were there to support the youngsters fighting cancer who have attended the camp.

That’s what the spook-tacular event was all about, and with the help of the great volunteers, everyone enjoyed the entertainment, rides, games, prizes, and lots of fantastic food from some of L.A.’s top restaurants. Something for everyone.

One of the first to arrive was Dancing with the Stars’ Mark Ballas who said he was happy to support the great cause of Camp Ronald McDonald which brings happiness to sick kids. Ballas put on a mini-concert, and showed that, in addition to his dancing, he is a fine singer and musician. He’ll be recording and going to tour in the near future. Ballas was part of the live entertainment presented on the Clear Channel Radio’s 104.3 MY-fm stage. DWTS alumnus Roshon Fegan, was also there performing, and reported he’s in the middle of putting together his own album. The energetic Roshon couldn’t help himself and started singing along with Mark. Singer Pia Toscano, from American Idol’s season 10, also delighted the crowd.

It was a family affair for some of the celebrities, with Hairspray’s Marissa Jaret Winokur, dressed in jailhouse garb, attending with her husband producer Judah Miller and son Zev. Charlotte Ross (Glee) brought son Max. And Ken Jeong (The Hangover, NBC’s Community) strolled along the Trick-or-Treat lane with his whole family in costume. “This is as much fun for the parents as it is for the kids,” said Jeong.

ABC’s Modern Family’s talented youngster Rico Rodriguez and his actress-sister Raini were dressed like kids from the jitterbug era. From Twilight’s wolfpack was Booboo Stewart, who escorted his stunning actress-sister Fivel Stewart. Bewitching kids at the Pumpkin Patch Storytelling area was Madison Pettis of Lab Rats (a Disney XD series). She read “Curious George” with gusto and the kids loved it.

Other kid stars attending and spreading smiles were Angus T. Jones, who is more than a “half” now in the sitcom Two and a Half Men; Modern Family’s Nolan Gould; Ariel Winter was dressed like I Dream of Jeannie; Sammi Hanratty was a Vamp; and one of the most striking costumes was worn by Bella Thorne, from the Disney Channel’s Shake It Up. She appeared to be Mother Nature with a green leaf outfit.

A bunch of popular teen celebrities volunteered to do autograph signings for fans and the youngsters who have attended Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times. Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, the camp continues to help children with cancer and their families, providing medically supervised activities that offer fun and friendship. Introduced by Rob Parker, the CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California, some kids got up on stage to talk about their experiences at camp and the impact that it has had on their lives. It was very moving to listen to them, and makes you appreciate a great day at the carnival.