Asso­ciate vol­leyball coach Stephanie Gravel handed out candy with Charlie Charger at the Trunk-or-Treat event on Sat­urday. (Courtesy | Camryn Olson)

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.