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Arab American National Museum Gets Spooky

posted on: Oct 27, 2011

Ghosts, goblins, witches and more took over the Arab American National Museum on Saturday for its second annual Halloween party.

Trick-or-treat stations were set up at the museum’s different spookified exhibits, where the correct greeting netted sugary treats for the costumed little ones.

Doors opened at 4 p.m. for the family Halloween party, which lasted until 7 p.m. In addition to the sweet treats, pizza slices, dessert and drinks were provided. Kids’ tickets cost $8 and adults were free, with an option to snag a $2 food ticket.

Three-year employee Sonya Kassis works as an educator, giving tours, presentations and working with schools. She also took part in last year’s event.

“It was a huge success,” Kassis said. “This year we worked to make it an even better party.” Kassis said that the museum will keep up hosting seasonal parties, the next being a winter-themed holiday party called, “Frost Fest.”

“Everything has a theme,” she said. The idea is to promote community events that also are family friendly.

“We love having the museum open to everyone like this so they can experience the exhibits in a fun and unique way,” Kassis said.

Sireen Omar, 6, Juana Abdalla, 11, and her little sister, Noorhan Abdalla, 9, attacked a candy station with giggly zeal. The three zipped around the museum’s third floor, eagerly grabbing their goodies.

“It’s the best,” said a breathless Juana.

“It was so fun,” Noorhan said, explaining she dressed up as “nothing.” She then lowered her voice in a confidential tone and pointed at her big sister, saying, “but she’s dressed as me.”

Todd Phillips is a former Arizona resident and Arizona State University graduate who moved to Michigan to earn a law degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Phillips belongs to a volunteer group through his law program, called Asian & Pacific Law Student Association. Their group volunteered to help at the museum, landing Phillips the early evening gig of candy passer.

He strictly enforced the “trick-or-treat” greeting rule, but he did allow a two-time visitor to sneak another piece of candy.

“The kids are great,” Phillips said. “They’re all dressed in fantastic costumes.”

Leannah Saghir, 6, brought a royal air to the party with her princess costume. She also attended last year’s event as Belle, from Disney’s “Beauty & The Beast.” Without hesitation, her highness confirmed her favorite event.

“The trick-or-treating,” she said.

Big cousin Zainab, 18, came last year too. She hadn’t yet made up her mind about going trick-or-treating “for real,” this year, but said she did have fun watching the little ones at the party.

Former AANM worker Layla Thalji came with daughters dressed as Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz. Maya, just nine-months-old, wiggled in her mother’s lap while Aisha, 2, darted in and out of the exhibits dressed as Dorothy.

“I think it’s really, really great,” Layla Thalji said. She gathered her daughters for a quick photo op by a masked scary man inside one of the exhibits. At first, Aisha hid herself beneath a giant cobweb, but she cautiously crept out to join her Mom and Maya for a photo.

“I hide from her,” she told Layla matter-of-factly.

“Who do you hide from?” Layla asked.

“I hide from my witch,” Aisha said with a solemn look.

Stay tuned to the events section on the AANM website at for details about the wintery Frost Fest and other seasonal parties.

Julie Walker Altesleben
Press & Guide