The Halloween Carnival to benefit Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times drew hundreds of costumed kids (and some dressed up adults) to the Universal Studios back lot for one of the biggest charity parties of the year. Before checking out the games, rides, food and entertainment with their offspring or friends, celebs shared green tips and their plans for Halloween.
“I love that they help children and families that need extra help and give them a fun place to go to get their minds off being sick,” said Cheryl Hines, who told us she just moved to a new home and is in the market for new energy-saving appliances. “I had them in my old house but had to leave them,” she explained as she greeted friend Constance Marie, who brought daughter Luna to her first Halloween carnival. Marie will play the mother of a deaf teenager in the ABC Family series pilot called "Switched at Birth." "The best part is I get to learn sign language," she said.
“We’re doing military this year -- I’m the general, they’ll be enlisted women,” Michael Chiklis said of his Halloween plans with his wife and daughters. His household is eco-conscious. “We’ve made so many changes,” he said. “My wife buys Melaleuca products now. We don’t buy any detergents or household products or toilet paper that isn’t green.” While he’s working long hours on "No Ordinary Family," he’s thrilled that it’s taken off (it just got a full season pickup) -- as has the "butt dance" he did on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." "My daughter invented it,” he said. “She’s psyched that it’s so famous.”
“We come every year and we love it. We give our free celebrity tickets away and buy ours because it’s important,” said "Access Hollywood"'s Billy Bush, who drove his kids (pictured right) there in a GMC Yukon hybrid. At home, “We drink filtered, not bottled water, we have separate trash cans for recycling, and we grow our own vegetables. We have an organic garden. Grow Organic built a garden in the back for us.”
“I’ve been trying to use the water less when I’m in the shower, turn the pressure down while I’m sudsing,” said "Entertainment Tonight"'s Samantha Harris. Her 3-year-old daughter Josselyn, who was dressed as Ariel from "The Little Mermaid," will be getting a sibling in January -- Harris is pregnant with her second child. Not planning to find out the sex in advance, she and husband Michael are narrowing their list of boys’ and girls’ names, “but we haven’t quite honed in on one we’re totally excited about.”
“It’s a great charity and one of the best parties there is,” said Gilles Marini, back with his family for the second year in a row. With all the free toys, “The kids like it as much as Christmas.” Having just proposed marriage to Sarah (Rachel Griffiths) on "Brothers & Sisters," he’ll return to "Dancing With the Stars" as a guest judge for the 200th episode celebration Nov. 1 and 2.
A longtime Ronald McDonald charities supporter dating back to his days in Seattle, "American Idol" alumnus Blake Lewis was one of the event’s performers. Currently writing new music, he recently hosted a party that featured recycled and reusable plates and utensils. “I’m a habitual recycler,” he said.
It was a busy weekend for "The Talk"'s Marissa Jaret Winokur (pictured left) and her family: they attended the Act Today autism fund-raiser the night before the carnival, to which they arrived late because Zev, 2, was napping. “This is the first event I brought him to,” she said of her Buzz Lightyear-clad son (she put the costume choice up to a vote on Twitter and Buzz beat Woody). “I’m a huge supporter, and I know they have McDonald’s food!” Winokur said, laughing as she smartly changed post-photo op from heels to flip-flops, the better to navigate the back lot’s cobblestoned streets.
Dressed as Black Widow in a catsuit that showed off the 20 additional pounds she lost since "Celebrity Fit Club," Shar Jackson brought her costumed kids to the carnival. “We’re big on recycling at our house,” said Jackson, who recently gave up her gas-guzzling Lincoln Navigator. She and her children will play scripted versions of themselves in "My Life," a TV sitcom they’ll shoot in December.
A carnival newbie, “I’m going to come every year now. It’s good to help kids,” said Rico Rodriguez, costumed as a Jack Sparrow-type pirate, even though he admitted to never having seen "Pirates of the Caribbean." He’ll be dressed as Frankenstein in this week’s Halloween episode of "Modern Family," in which Claire’s holiday celebration plans go awry. “At our house we always recycle. We have three separate trash bins, and we’re going to start having compost bins on the set,” Rodriguez noted. He turned 12 in July but his character Manny’s birthday is coming up on the show. In the plot, “He figures out that he’s not a kid anymore and he’s sad.”
Emily Osment, one of the event’s performers, has been keeping busy with music since "Hannah Montana" ended and was about to leave for Brazil to continue her tour. “I’m going to São Paulo, Rio, then Madrid, Munich and London,” she said. “I’m concentrating on music for the rest of the year.” Osment, who’d love to work with Emma Stone, is looking forward to doing films next year, “a fun comedy and then maybe get into something heavier. I don’t want to make too crazy a transition right after the show.” Having been involved with the Disney Friends for Change initiative, she’s no stranger to eco-practices. “We’re big recyclers in my house. And I do reusable metal water bottles.”
Dressed as a “good witch,” KayCee Stroh (from the "High School Musical" series) is in the middle of a home remodel that she’s making as green as possible, with eco-friendly insulation and paints. “We’re thinking about solar for our pool, heating it naturally, and we’re planning to plant our own herbs. The plants already there are very low-maintenance,” reported Stroh (pictured right), who will guest star in the Nov. 18 episode of FX’s "The League," playing Nick Kroll’s former girlfriend in a high school reunion story. She’s also writing songs for a country pop album.
Tiffany Thornton ("Sonny with a Chance"), another Disney Channel actress, recently returned from a Friends for Change event in New York where she met a girl who grows giant vegetables and donates them to homeless shelters. “She was so inspiring,” said Thornton, who as an apartment dweller has no garden of her own but diligently conserves by turning off the lights and water. “I’m definitely more conscious of it thanks to Friends for Change,” she said. Her grandparents owned and operated McDonald’s franchises in Texas so she has had a lifelong involvement with the Ronald McDonald charity. “It’s really close to my heart,” Thornton said. While waiting for a start date on a third season of "Sonny," she’s writing music for her country music album debut.
While she dreams about driving a pink Prius, Caroline Sunshine is just 15 and too young to drive, so she focuses on water conservation by carrying a reusable bottle, taking shorter showers and turning off the tap while brushing her teeth. In Disney Channel’s dance-based comedy series "Shake it Up," premiering Nov. 7, she plays the resident mean girl and troublemaker, Tinka, and gets to put her dance background to use. Many styles are represented, “but we have a lot of hip-hop and break dancing,” she said.
Attending the carnival for the first time, Yara Shaheedi ("Imagine That") and her brother Sayeed ("The Event") weren’t in costume, but planned to be an African princess and a werewolf for Halloween. Sayeed, who plays President Martinez’s son on "The Event," has never been to the real White House but he and Yara saw Air Force One take off last Saturday when they were at the airport, leaving Minnesota after visiting their grandfather. At home, they recycle, make fun things out of cardboard boxes, and at school, “We’re making solar ovens and then will get to take them home,” said Yara. She recently filmed "Butter" with Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman and Alicia Silverstone. “I play an orphan named Destiny. It’s a political allegory about the Iowa state caucus, represented in a butter carving competition,” she said. “I had to learn how to butter carve. It’s like Play-Doh but greasier.”
Also on hand were "The Biggest Loser"'s Alison Sweeney and her kids, dressed as a butterfly and the Transformers’ Bumblebee, and "The Event"'s Lisa Vidal, who told us she and her family ”go all out” decorating their house for Halloween. “We have a huge blow-up skeleton in the front and other skeletons and vampires and bats all over the place,” she said.