The New England Patriots Halloween party never disappoints, but this year, it was "out of this world."
That was the theme for the annual celebration, where the Patriots Foundation, in partnership with the Revolution, hosted more than 40 local children battling cancer at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday.
Players from both teams dressed for the occasion.
"I'm Yoda, I guess," Matthew Slater said. "Because I'm the oldest guy here by a long shot."
Slater was joined by a handful of teammates, including Mac Jones, David Andrews, Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki, Brenden Schooler, Myles Bryant, Cody Davis, Chad Ryland, Bryce Baringer, Calvin Munson, and Kody Russey, as well as Patriots Cheerleaders and a handful of soccer players from the Revolution.
Andrews, admittedly not a big Star Wars guy, chose instead to go as Buzz Lightyear – his son Ford's favorite character from Toy Story. Bryant opted for the same character, as did Mac Jones, because the face shield in his original astronaut costume kept fogging up.
"This is a great event. They always do a great job, and anything for kids is awesome," Andrews said.
"I think you get the guys going to these things and you realize there's more to it than football. This is a special community and it means a lot to a lot of us. It's always a great opportunity to give back and this organization does such a great job of that."
There were fun activities set up for the children and their families, like coloring stations, pumpkin painting, cookie decorating, and a balloon artist.
As Henry learned, balloon swords and lightsabers were the most popular request. Dressed in a Mandalorian costume, you can imagine he found himself in a few duels.
"It just brings you back down to earth," Henry said of the event. "There are real things going on around us. These kids are going through things that are challenging. So if you can put a smile on their face this time of year, Halloween was always a fun time to dress up and be a superhero – be whatever you wanted to be. To be able to give them that is awesome."
Fellow tight end Mike Gesicki agreed.
"It's such a great holiday," Gesicki said, sporting a hilarious inflatable costume that transformed him into a guy holding on to a rocket ship for dear life.
"You get to come out here and dress up, enjoy yourself, and then obviously being around kids and seeing the smiles on their faces. I think the most important part about what we do is having the opportunity to do things like this and see the smiles on their faces. But they also give so much joy to us, so I'm just really appreciative and it puts everything into perspective."
That was a popular sentiment, as the players got to know the children and their families.
The kids were all patients at Boston Children's Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Hasbro Children's Hospital, UMass Memorial, and Mass General Hospital. Slater spoke to the hardship they're experiencing, and how good it felt to see them get to act like kids for a day.
"I believe we all have a responsibility to give back and use out platform the right way and to connect with people," Slater said.
"It's not just about football, especially in a setting like this with kids that are facing issues far more important than what we're facing on the football field. It means a great deal to be part of that."
To conclude the Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer initiative, the Kraft Family, the Patriots Foundation and the Revolution Foundation hosted pediatric cancer patients and their families at Gillette Stadium for a Halloween party on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023. Several Patriots players took part in the space-themed party, including Mac Jones, Hunter Henry, David Andrews, Mike Gesicki, Brenden Schooler, Matthew Slater, Chad Ryland, Bryce Baringer, Myles Bryant, Calvin Munson, Cody Davis and Kody Russey.