Halloween celebrations focus on service, not scares

by Jessica Peet | 10/31/05 6:00am

Instead of scaring people this Halloween, Dartmouth students are donning costumes, baking goods and more to help various community service organizations on campus.

Last Friday, members of DREAM, an organization that mentors children from underprivileged communities, enlisted the aid of campus sororities and fraternities to help celebrate an early Halloween. Dartmouth students dressed up in costumes with the children and walked door to door on Webster Avenue.

"It felt good to do something for the kids," said Steve Cesaro '07, who helped give out candy at Chi Gamma Epsilon fraternity. "They had some pretty funny costumes. I remember how much fun I used to have trick or treating. It really took me back."

Susan Matesanz '08 said the children involved enjoyed the experience.

"It was great to see how excited the kids were and the smiles on their faces as we all ran down Webster Ave," Matesanz said. "The kids really seemed to get into it, and we all had a great time."

Afterward, the group gathered in the basement of Mid Massachusetts Hall to tell ghost stories and share snacks.

For those looking for an excuse to trick or treat, Chelsea Carroll '06 organized an event in which college students go door to door asking for cans instead of candy. This year marks the third anniversary of the event. The students donate the canned goods to a local food bank, although this year some may be donated to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, Carroll said.

Last year participants collected over 400 cans in about an hour and a half.

"I've been amazed by the willingness Hanover residents have demonstrated," Carroll said. "This is a very important cause, because there are a lot of families who live outside the Hanover area in the Upper Valley who are on the poverty line."

Students expressed enthusiasm about the program.

"I definitely want to participate, I think it's a great idea," Adele Wilhelm '08 said.

In another philanthropic effort, members of the International Humanitarian Foundation have spent the past week selling candygrams to passersby at tables in Thayer Dining Hall. For two dollars, students can purchase Halloween candy that will be delivered on Halloween to the recipient's dorm room.

Proceeds will go to IHF's India Project, Shruthi Rereddy '09 said.

"We raise money to be able to install cook stoves in the hut of the villagers in India, so that they can use those instead of open fires," Rereddy said.

The IHF will continue selling the candygrams through the day of Halloween, Rereddy said.

"It's a really great cause," Debra Origel '09 said. "I'm really glad to be involved with the program."

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