For Halloween in Arlington trick-or-treating is discouraged in the real world, but what about virtually? What about in computer code?

Code Ninjas logo

Code Ninjas, a new business in town since August, offers the chance to youngsters.

"It is so rewarding to watch kids having fun," owner Kelly Baker said this week. [It's] really amazing ... they're always giggling."

Code Ninjas: Halloween

So she hopes, as those 5 through 14 years old compete in a virtual contest aimed at building a video game using a language called Scratch. Its programming can be "fairly complex" but beginners are encouraged to participate as well.

The contest ended Thursday, Oct. 29, and an announcement of winners is awaited. 

Party safely

On Saturday, Oct. 31, Code Ninja plans to social-distrance with a virtual Halloween party, from 1 to 2 p.m.

Kids can do all of this at home, never venturing into the Covid-endangered streets of late October.

Halloween is "a favorite occasion for kids," Baker said, one she wants all to celebrate safely.

After opening this summer at 683 Mass. Ave., formerly the location of an antiques store, across from Robbins Library, Code Ninjas has grown to 25 students plus drop-ins. Baker manages an educational enterprise targeting a town demographic that has potential programmers.

At the franchise for a company based in Pearland, Texas, coding instruction takes place virtually and in-person.

Virtual, in-person hours

The virtual hours are 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. In-person hours are 1 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Classes are on Zoom, and Baker tries to keep them small, from one to five students.

Seven teachers, all from Massachusetts and one from Springfield, work part time.

Languages offered

Beginning students start at the programmer's ground floor, learning JavaScript along with these basics -- critical thinking and problem-solving.

After JS, they advance to C++ and Lua. Those 8 to 13 can learn the video-game language Roblox, which leads to user-created displays

Baker, a Belmont resident, has a background in school administration and was director of admissions at the Cambridge Friends School and the Pike School.

Recruiting for Girls Who Code sparked her interest in coding education. The effort reaches girls around the world aiming to close the gender gap in new entry-level tech jobs by 2027. "I love what they're doing."

Reach Code Ninjas at arlingtonma at or 781-645-7978.  

Sept. 19, 2020: Socially conscious shop coming to East Arlington

This business news feature was published Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020.