Where is Bizaarnival?

Bizaarnival, a cross-campus celebration of Halloween, is a tradition that has been part of the Lab culture for more than 60 years.  This year, however, Bizaarnival will go on sabbatical to make way for the All Schools Family Fest on October 16. It is also being redesigned to better meet the challenges of participant and volunteer interests.Bizaarnival began in the 1940s as a student response to raising funds and awareness for orphaned European children at the end of the WWII.   As times and interests changed, the focus of Bizaarnival shifted.  Approximately 12 years ago, a group of dedicated parents revitalized Bizaarnival as an All Schools celebration of Halloween.  The primary target audience was the youngest members (N3 – 5th grade) of our community.  It was a day of fun and games in the tradition of an old school carnival, filled with crafts, games, activities and sweet treats.   Its planning was led by high school students under the umbrella of the HS Bizaarnival Club, and many of the activities and crafts were staffed by older high school students or parents.

Bizaarnival has been well attended since its revitalisation with over 300 Lab students and their family members celebrating in Sunny Gym every year.   However, campus expansion requires us to take a fresh look at the event.  Construction on the Historic Campus limited its outdoor activities, while the parent volunteer corp needed to successfully coordinate this event has rapidly dwindled to single digits.  As ESH continues to grow, it has begun to shape its own traditions involving parents, students and classrooms.   Parents increasingly participate and volunteer within their children’s classroom, or are unable to assist in weekend activities while minding their own children.  The academic demands on our high school leaders and scarcity of parent volunteers has made the implementation of Bizaarnival a more difficult task.

Bizaarnival will take a sabbatical for the year 2016 in order to reassess its future.    The Parents’ Association is grateful to all the parents and students who have volunteered or participated in Bizaarnival pasts.   We look forward to the next phoenix rising of Bizaarnival.  If anyone would like to be a part of these conversations and planning, please contact us at parents@ucls.uchicago.edu