On Thursday, Oct. 27, 60 young trick-or-treaters arrived on the bricks of the University of Montevallo campus with a singular goal: leave with as much candy as their bags could carry.
The children were participating in an annual collaboration between the Montevallo Boys and Girls Club and UM Housing & Residence Life. Each year, resident assistants (RAs) guide the costumed kids through the four floors of New Hall to trick-or-treat from the students who live there.
John Denson, director of Housing & Residence Life, started the program in 2009 after reconnecting with Freeda Shivers, the director of the Montevallo Boys and Girls Club and UM’s former director of housing.
The five-person student staff of New Hall is responsible for the majority of the planning and preparation required to successfully implement the program each year. According to New Hall Director Gabe Gannon, this means starting at the beginning of the semester to ensure all of the necessary decorations, volunteers and, of course, candy are on hand.
“Not only is this a community service activity, it provides a safe and happy trick-or-treating experience for kids who may not have one,” said Gannon, a current senior.
This year, 60 children arrived in costumes varying from superheroes to favorite cartoon characters to classic witches and monsters.
The costumed children knocked on 20 doors to receive candy from volunteer residents. The majority of these volunteers also wore costumes and decorated their doors to properly match the Halloween spirit of the event.
Eventually, all of the kids were lead to the top floor for a Halloween-themed pizza party.
Though the treats were mostly for the kids, the Boys and Girls Club made sure the volunteers weren’t left completely empty-handed. Gannon said she was given an envelope full of hand-drawn thank you notes from each of the children that she later distributed to each room and volunteer.
Shivers said the children always look forward to opportunities to visit the UM campus. “Any time these kids are exposed to college kids, it plants a seed,” said Shivers. “We want them all to see themselves on a college campus someday.”