Skip to main content

Rookies have some fun before giving back for Halloween 

CHARLOTTE -- Halloween is all about mischief, so how about a joke?

What do you get when you mix a shark and Mr. Incredible with a box of crayons? The Panthers' rookie class, of course.

Ahead of the team's annual Halloween visit to Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte on Tuesday, all 11 rookies shifted their focus from football and spent the morning trying on costumes and letting off some steam.

It was a process of trial and error for some, but safety Rashaan Gaulden knew who he wanted to be the minute he arrived at the stadium.

"This was a childhood favorite of mine," Gaulden said, dressed up as the patriarch of the "Incredibles" family. "I saw it when I walked in, so I had to jump on it."

Gaulden's red suit made him one of several players whose disguises required little work to understand. Running back Reggie Bonnafon settled for perching on a folding chair instead of a rooftop as none other than Batman himself, while tight end Ian Thomas maintained order as Sheriff Woody from "Toy Story".

Elsewhere in the locker room, defensive end Marquis Haynes, sporting the classic "A" on his chest as Captain America, showed some concern about the lightweight shield he was given to fight imaginary crime.

"I can't even save my grandma with this," Haynes joked.

Perhaps the most straightforward of the bunch belonged to Andre Smith, who was a dressed as a dalmatian. But, if you asked the linebacker, he believed he belonged to a different part of the animal kingdom.

"I'm a cow, which is fine. I like Chick-Fil-A. It's good," he explained.

As a kid, Smith said he focused more on candy and less on costumes, but he shared that his favorite Halloween memory came during his freshman year in college when he dressed as a Greek god, toga and all. Regardless of costume experience, Smith didn't hesitate to reveal his picks for best dressed.

"I'm liking Bonn (aka Batman) and that Incredible down there. Harry Potter? Nah," said Smith, disapproving of linebacker Jermaine Carter's get-up.

Cornerback Donte Jackson, dressed as Olaf from the popular movie "Frozen," also shared Smith's enthusiasm for sugar but with an asterisk. "Halloween was always a big thing for me because I like candy, still do to this day. Don't tell Coach Rivera that," he said.

Reminiscing on old memories and cracking jokes allowed the players to relax, but not lost in it all was the idea of making a child's day, something Gaulden took pride in.

"This is a first – dressing up and doing something like this. I always love giving back. It's all about keeping the spirit going for the younger ones," he said.

Every game day, Jackson's persona provides an energy boost to his teammates, but he said Tuesday wasn't about "Action Jackson." It was about making kids smile, just like the Frozen character he represented.

"The joy that we bring. Just always being happy and making people happy around them," Jackson said comparing himself and his character. "We're going to see some kids today in the hospital, so why not be Olaf?

"Every kid loves Olaf. Every kid loves Donte."

View photos of the Panthers rookies visiting patients in costume and handing out candy at the Levine Children's Hospital for Halloween.

Related Content