HALLoween tricks and treats for Milwaukee children

Hundreds of trick-or-treaters stormed campus yesterday for the 15th annual Marquette HALLoween. The Residence Hall Association invited hundreds of Milwaukee kids to trick-or-treat in each of the nine residence halls.

Maddie Smart, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, is the RHA vice president of campus relations and the HALLoween committee chair. Smart said the event was originally started to help kids who would not otherwise have an opportunity to go out and get candy on Halloween night.

“A lot of kids in the Milwaukee area don’t have a safe place to trick-or-treat,” Smart said. “So we have sort of taken on that role, to provide a safe trick-or-treat environment, in the residence halls for people in the Milwaukee – and especially the Marquette – community.”

Assistant Dean for Residence Life Programs Christy Bergen serves as the faculty advisor of HALLoween and said the event usually has a turnout of about 350 trick-or-treaters and chaperones combined. Those who participated went out in groups, with no more than three children per adult, and were led through a residence hall to gather candy by volunteer student hosts, or “gHosts.”

Along with the gHosts, other Marquette students signed up to hand out candy as the trick-or-treaters came through their hallway. Smart said the student volunteer rate for both positions this year was better than she had ever seen.

“This year has been phenomenal. I can’t even thank the Marquette students enough.” she said. “We have 262 candy-hander-outers and we have 51 gHosts, so those are the people who are participating who aren’t involved in Residence Hall Association. And we also have 22 RHA representatives…at the event.”

Smart said, for the first time, she actually had to limit the number of gHost applications, as there were simply too many interested students.

After collecting their candy, the trick-or-treaters were led to the basements of their respective residence halls for Halloween-themed games.

Zack Henderson, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences and the president of RHA, said the post-trick-or-treating activities gave kids a way to extend the night’s fun.

“We reach out to every hall council and we say, ‘put on some kind of carnival game,’” he said. “So, in the past, they’ve done the mummy wrap with toilet paper; they’ll do fishing for candy, which is what we did in McCormick last year; they’ll do just different little games.”

In addition to the carnival games, Smart said the Spooky Craft BOOtique made its debut on the first floor of the Alumni Memorial Union. Upon returning to the AMU, kids were able to do different arts and crafts projects at the BOOtique before heading to the Commuter Lounge for a haunted house.

Henderson said his biggest takeaway from this year’s installment of HALLoween was the increased involvement on campus, and he expects the event to only grow in the future.

“I think the fact that the committee has worked so hard this year on getting other organizations involved and really promoting student participation … I think it’s really great,” he said. “Going forward, this isn’t just something that’s going to remain this year; Maddie is putting together a list of everyone who comes to it this year so we can kind of revamp that list every year and create a bigger, more inclusive list. I think it’s going to be really helpful for promoting it in years to come.”