DARIEN — Along with celebrating the upcoming holiday—and helping to raise much-needed funds—members of The Depot held a Halloween event Friday night that also aimed to introduce younger kids in town to their youth center.

The Depot, Darien’s Youth Center, much like many other town organizations, has been forced to cancel many events that it relies on as fundraisers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, due to drought conditions, it was forced to cancel its fall car wash that was also to be a fundraiser.

“Me and the whole student governing board were talking about events to raise money,” explained Carrington Persinger, who chaired the event, aided by other members of the board.

Likewise, she said, they want to see the next generation of middle school students experiencing the fun and benefits of being part of The Depot.

“We thought it would be a good way to introduce them,” Persinger said.

Friday nights are traditionally earmarked for seventh and eighth grade students at The Depot, which holds special events throughout the year that are largely planned, organized and run by the young people themselves, aided by staff support.

Friday event included pizza, pumpkin painting, costumes and general good times out-of-doors. Numbers were limited, however, owing to general pandemic concerns.

“It’s a great event because middle schoolers, seventh through eighth graders, can come,” said Lindsay Jichino, 16, a board member.

“It’s just a very chill event and they can come with their friends and get in the Halloween spirit,” she said.

The Depot Youth Center offers a variety of events and activities throughout the year for sixth through twelfth grade students in a judgement-free and safe environment. All public, private, or homeschooled teens are invited to attend. In addition to the Student Governing Board, there are seven high school Depot empowerment clubs, four new middle school age Depot programs, several educational programs discussing such topics as vaping, consent, eating disorders, anxiety and substance abuse and numerous Depot activities and events ranging from dances to community projects. In all, The Depot reaches and serves hundreds of kids a year.

For more about Depot programming, visit dariendepot.com.