By Emma Way
After dark on Halloween, when the porch lights flicker on, children in costumes flood the streets going door to door collecting mounds of candy – but at Washington College there’s a “wacky” twist. On Oct. 29 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. families from the Chestertown community were welcomed on WC’s hallowed campus for an evening of trick-or-treating in the residence halls.
Now in it’s third year, WACy Trick-or-Treat brings the town and College together to promote community engagement and enrich the relationship between the two. Buried underneath noise complaints and beer cans that lay unwelcome in lawns, the College strives to leave a positive mark within its community. Amy Sine, assistant director of Residence Life said, “This just showcases the good things our students can do for the community.”
Sine recently moved to Chestertown with her family after accepting her position in Residence Life this summer. “This was a chance for parents and community members to come onto our campus, to see our facilities and meet our students, and to provide a safe space for kids to go trick-or-treating,” she said.
Residence Life, the Office of Student Engagement, and the Student Government Association all worked together for the event, taking over different parts of organizing. Residence Life worked primarily on preparing the dormitories for the large influx of kids. According to Nick Spicer, director of Student Engagement, about 300 children attended the event. The Office of Student Engagement also played a large role in organizing the event, primarily with the family-friendly activities on the Cater Walk for trick-or-treaters waiting to be guided around campus. Different clubs hosted a Halloween-related activity at each table along the Cater Walk, giving out prizes and candy.
The SGA was responsible for sponsoring the event by providing candy for students who wanted to participate but could not afford to do so and purchasing candy alternatives for children with allergies.
Allergies are difficult any day of the year but especially on Halloween, Sine added. There’s a movement to make allergy-friendly trick-or-treating spots known with the display of a teal pumpkin. At these locations there were other prizes and small toys as alternatives for candy to give children with allergies the same opportunity to have fun trick-or-treating.
In total about 40 dorm rooms were open for business on Thursday evening that were split up into two different routes. Families were broken into multiple groups and then led around campus by a tour guide. Volunteer resident assistants fulfilled all the tour guide positions.
According to Spicer and Sine, about 12 student organizations participated with a total of about 100 students who helped with throughout the process.
Sophomore Nick Totis is an RA, but put on the hat of tour guide for Halloween. He was also in charge of organizing the other volunteer RAs interested to helping out.
“I remember last year watching the tour guides take around the kids to get candy, and that was so cool to watch these people make the little kids’ day,” he said, recalling why he originally wanted to get involved.
Due to its location in rural Maryland, Chestertown has a demand for a safe and easy trick-or-treating. WC’s take on trick-or-treating provides an alternative for local families and builds upon the relationship between the College and town. This campus tradition is a treat for WC and Chestertown alike.