Halloween on Vernon

3 min read

For 26 years, Halloween on Vernon has worked to bridge the gap between campus and community by providing opportunities for Trinity students to engage with Hartford residents.
Halloween on Vernon is a Trinity tradition anticipated both the Hartford community and students alike. Joe Barber, Director for the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, said that the event originated as a way to “bring together the Trinity community to provide a fun and safe Halloween experience to Hartford area children.”
The event is hosted annually the Sunday before Halloween on Vernon street by the Annual Community Event Staff (ACES). It has not been skipped since its inception in 1990. Even in the midst the 2011 October snowstorm, the event still provided an outlet for Hartford families seeking a warm, safe and enjoyable Halloween celebration.
This year’s Halloween on Vernon was no different. Over 400 people attended the event held from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday Oct. 30. Greek life organizations and cultural houses located on Vernon opened their doors to Hartford residents while other campus clubs set up activity stations for Hartford children to visit as they walked in a circuit around the Vernon. Hartford children, to visit as they walked in a circuit around the Vernon.
Activities included ‘candy-pong’, a haunted house, face painting, cookie decorating, and of course, trick-or-treating. Among the various student organizations involved this year were Kappa Kappa Gamma, Psi Upsilon, the International House, Umoja, Cleo, Pike, St. Anthony Hall, Praxis, Alpha Delta Phi, the Ivy Society, North Campus residence hall, LVL, and Kappa Sigma at The Mill, the Trinitones, Iron Poet, Trinity Dance Company, Nu Rho Psi, and also, the Trinfo Café community garden had an activity. Trick-or-treaters also visited the homes of  President Berger-Sweeney and Dean DiChristina and were chaperoned by the Women’s Softball Team.
In addition to offering a safe trick-or-treating option to Hartford children, Halloween on Vernon also provides an opportunity for greater on campus integration. With the event open to all interested in volunteering, Halloween on Vernon gives Trinity students from all walks of campus life a chance to interact.
“Halloween on Vernon is great because you volunteer with students from other clubs who you might not meet otherwise,” said Meg Tighe ’17, who volunteered for ‘candy-pong.’ “The same is true of Hartford residents. The kids and families who attended the event were so diverse. It was awesome to see so many different people with some many different life experiences come together to enjoy and celebrate Halloween,” she said.
Trinity helps to spread the word about Halloween on Vernon by bringing fliers to each of the elementary schools in South Hartford. More recently, ACES has started to e-mail fliers to community groups that already work with the relevant under 12 age group and already have a relationship with Trinity. That list included Hartford Community Schools, CREC Montessori, Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters, Grace Academy, Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity, Hands on Hartford, Kennelly School, Interval House, the Trinity College Community Child Care Center, and about a dozen others.
“In addition, many families have come to this event for many years,” said Barber, “and we started getting calls in the office in early October inquiring about when Halloween on Vernon Street will be taking place.”
The fact that Halloween on Vernon is so excitedly awaited is a good indication of the event’s success in making the Trinity-Hartford community more cohesive. This year’s event was a mark of progress and is a promising sign for the future campus and community relationship.

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