Durham Celebrates Halloween with Downtown Trick-or-Treat Event


Aimee Rothman, Staff Writer

DURHAM, NH- While it may seem as if trick-or-treating is becoming a thing of the past, one Durham office made sure their residents got a fair share of this holiday tradition, known for its creative costumes and an endless supply of free candy. 

On Sunday, Oct. 23, Durham Town Parks and Recreation celebrated Halloween by hosting the Downtown Trick-or-Treat event along Main street. Community organizations gathered along with local families to dress up, trick-or-treat, play games and more.

About 50 organizations set up their own stop on a trick-or-treating trail which sprawled through downtown Durham. Restaurants such as Durham House of Pizza, Clarks American Bistro and JP’s Grill participated in the event, setting up stops outside of their locations on Main street. Durham Fire Department, Durham Public Library and Durham Evangelical Church were among some of the notable town organizations handing out candy and other treats on this trick-or-treating trail.

Organizations from the University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) were involved as well. More than 10 of the university’s fraternities and sororities tabled, handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Bethany Bussey, president of Alpha Epsilon Delta at UNH, said “it’s been pretty hard getting involved with the community like this for a while because of COVID.”

This was the first year the sorority was able to attend Durham’s trick or treating event, furthering their engagement with the community to Durham residents.

Other fraternities and sororities such as Kappa Delta, Theta Chi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Alpha Xi Delta got involved at this event, too.

Additionally, some of UNH’s sports teams handed out treats to guests at this event as well. On Jenkins Court, UNH’s gymnastics, Women’s hockey, Women’s basketball and the Nordic ski team took part in the trick-or-treating fun, handing out candy and talking with guests.

Tabled right outside of their bakery on Jenkins Court, Sweetened Memories handed out baked goods to trick-or-treaters, instead of candy, to represent their brand in a pretty sweet way. “We wanted to hand out brownies, blondies and cookies instead of candy because we’re a bakery. It just makes more sense,” said Maddie Fleming, social media and marketing director of the bakery.

Fleming explained that since the owners of the bakery are both mothers, and they have been in business in Durham for a few years, they really want to engage with the Durham community with events like this.

In addition to candy, Twenty-One Senses, a non–profit organization offered a thoughtful treat for trick-or-treaters. The organization works to “advance inclusion for children with invisible disabilities,” according to Danielle Heaton, director of operations and programs, as well as a founding member of the non-profit group. 

At the event, Twenty-One Senses set up a sensory room in Adora Salon on Main Street, with legos, toys and room for children to decompress and relax after a stimulating day full of spooky activities.

“We know that there are over 30 different diagnoses beyond autism that can create sensory issues, so it’s important that we raise awareness and create these spaces,” Heaton said. 

“We wanted to create a safe and calming place for children to go, when there is so much going on around them,” she continued. “We usually set up sensory areas like these at all the events we go to, that’s really what we’re all about.”

Besides buckets full of candy, this event was packed with other fun activities for trick-or-treaters to enjoy. Games such as corn hole, ring toss and checkers were sprawled across Main St., while UNH’s radio station, WUNH played live music. There was a photo booth for guests to capture a shot of their spooky costumes, and a station to bob for apples.

After the thrill of trick-or-treating had commenced, guests were invited to the Mills Lil’ Monster Mash held at Mills Hall, where volunteers handed out more candy and other fun Halloween activities were offered to really inspire some holiday spirit in Durham residents this year.