By Stephanie Morales, Contributing Writer
Cobwebs, skeletons and other spooky decorations adorned the walls and doors of Mills Hall for its annual Halloween Extravaganza, boosting the already heightened Halloween spirit of the young kids trick-or-treating. Spirit was in the air as their tiny feet bounced through the hall, eagerly anticipating the candy that was within their reach.
The bash was held on Sunday, Oct. 26, making this the 11th consecutive year of the event. Elementary school children in the Durham area were welcomed into the residential dorm between 5-8 p.m. to indoor trick-or-treat and partake in some fun before Halloween actually arrives.
This was the first year that Mills Hall did not have a haunted house as it has in the past. The hall council and residents agreed that they wanted to make more room for games and crafts in the lounges throughout the building. Meanwhile, parents and their children roamed the hallways in search of the open doors of enthusiastic residents passing out candy. There was also a policewoman present at the event to ensure that it was a safe environment.
According to Elaina Hill, Mills’ current hall director, participation for this event among residents was at an all-time high. At least 90 percent of the residents participated, either by passing out candy, volunteering their efforts to the crafts or game rooms or simply dressing up for the occasion to add to the Halloween atmosphere. The hall council starts up on this event almost as soon as the semester starts, as it has become a source of pride for its residents through the years.
“When you think about a residence hall made up of upperclassmen, you might think that there wouldn’t be much interest,” Hill said, “but our residents clearly show that this community is engaged because they make time for this event.”
Hill also said that this was a great opportunity for both communities to be brought together in this shared experience. The family-friendly event is now well-established in the greater Durham community. Renee Mercier has brought her children and their friends to the Halloween Extravaganza for several years. She finds indoor trick-or-treating more convenient in the colder temperatures of late October.
Mercier said, “It’s so generous of the college students to open up their doors for us.”
From bees to Curious George to witches and an array of Disney princesses, there was a wide variety of costumes donned by children for the event.
Kerri Dodier, a resident assistant in Mills Hall, said her favorite part of the event was, “definitely the little kids and their costumes. It’s so cute.”
The planning for the Halloween Extravaganza certainly pays off, with an average of about 100-200 people coming to trick-or-treat every year. Hill emphasized how proud and awed she was by both her residents and staff for putting in such effort for the youth of the Durham community. The residents were as delighted with the small children as the children were with the fun and games provided for them every year.
A pint-sized Cinderella even exclaimed, “I love college!”