More than 600 goblins, witches, and fairy princesses came out to the Hillsdale College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s “Trunk-or-Treat” last Saturday, a Halloween event designed for local children to participate in trick-or-treating safely outdoors. Amid shouts of “Happy Halloween,” more than 30 cars representing campus student groups acted as stops for students to hand out candy to children in the community on a sunny afternoon.
The inaugural fundraising event for Make-A-Wish saw double the expected amount of trick-or-treaters and raised more than $500. It took place in the George H. Roche Sports Complex parking lot where most groups brought two to three decorated car trunks.
Olds Dormitory in addition to the women’s basketball, volleyball, and football teams had the best overall participation, according to senior and SAAC co-president Madie Schider. While some, including football and tennis, showed up sporting their uniforms, most groups dressed according to a theme. Women’s volleyball fully dedicated to a Disney princess theme, with some wearing full wing sets and intricate makeup.
Schider said she only anticipated around 300 trick-or-treaters, making the event far more popular than expected. A few groups had members leave during the event to get more candy due to the unexpected turnout.
Some of the children came directly from another “Trunk-or-Treat” event hosted by the Hillsdale Business Association at the Hillsdale County Fairgrounds. SAAC coordinated with the HBA to increase advertising for one another.
Assistant Director of Career Services Jessica Malcheff brought her two sons, 9‑year-old Alex and 7‑year-old Graham, who came dressed as Shaggy and Scooby from “Scooby-Doo.” Malcheff said she appreciated the community involvement that so many students at the college provide on Halloween.
“We came because it’s cool for the college kids to be part of the community like this,” Malcheff said.
Malchelff said she would be taking her sons to their friend’s neighborhood later in the day. But it can be hard, she said, to find neighborhoods where parents know enough families to trick-or-treat safely outside of the college’s options. For some children, Trunk-or-Treat was their only experience trick-or-treating this year without the usual activities from dormitories on campus.
Junior Sophia Spinazze participated in the event with her tennis teammates, dressed as a turtle to fit their animal theme. She said she loved seeing the thoughtful costumes children wore, most notably an Amelia Earhardt outfit with a handmade plane and an Easy Mac costume with noodles crafted from toilet paper rolls.
“It’s so fun to see all the costumes and the creativity and cute little kids,” Spinazze said.
In addition to the families and college students who came out, several costumed dogs and even a goat were in attendance Saturday afternoon.
There was a lot of last-minute planning that went into the day, Schider said. To comply with the state of Michigan’s COVID-19 regulations each car was parked six feet away from others. While the first-ever SAAC event required quick planning this year, Schider said she plans on expanding it to include city businesses as well as potentially a competitive element next year. Schider personally ranked Olds Dormitory as the best decorative trunk, and there may be rewards in future years for such spirited participation.
Ingrid Dornbirer, who participated with Olds Dormitory in passing out candy, said the event was a great way to spend her Halloween afternoon.
“It’s so cool seeing the smiles on kids’ faces. We’re getting to bring them joy while they bring us so much joy too,” she said.