Ghosts have visited the residence halls at Michigan Tech on All Hallows Eve for more than twenty years. Fairies, phantoms, princesses, vampires, super heroes, aliens, rock stars, sports heroes and little devils have also been spotted…
Our Halloween tradition known as Safehouse provides an opportunity for the children of our community to Trick or Treat in a safe environment. Our residents take advantage of the occasion to devote some of their energies toward community service, as well as have some fun.
Safehouse usually takes place on a weekend night nearest Halloween, for the convenience of parents of participants (and our residents). Local newspaper and radio ads, as well as campus newsletters, publicize the event. The time frame is usually 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., with set-up beginning at noon and take-down ending no later than 10 p.m. the same night.
Residence hall “houses” volunteer to participate and select themes used for decorating and host costume purposes. Individual residence hall governments provide monies to purchase treats for distribution and materials for decorating. Planning and pre-construction begins early in the academic year; faculty judges are invited to participate in the program. (Houses are judged on originality, creativity, theme usage, appropriateness for age group, best use of materials, and non-discriminatory in presentation). Winning houses are awarded trophies by the Inter Residence Hall Council.
Tour guides (many in costume) lead groups through our buildings and no unescorted participants are allowed. (Our buildings are secured early that evening and access is controlled through central locations). Age-specific theme areas are separated so youngsters aren’t unduly frightened
Women’s houses usually host younger children with themes like Candy Land, Little Mermaid, Blue’s Clues, Sponge Bob Square Pants, Disney Characters, Children’s Stories, Super Mario Land, The Wizard of Oz or A Haunted Forest, providing a not too scary or intimidating environment. Men’s houses typically host older participants and are given a little more leeway concerning the scariness factor. (We have settled on two age groups: 1-7, 8-15).
It is often difficult to tell who has more fun: the participants or our residents!
To allow for inclement weather, and very small children (or tired parents), we provide a shuttle van between our residence halls.
Two hundred to three hundred children are expected to participate this October.
Smoke machines set off smoke detectors (duh) and render elevators inoperable.
Parents must be able to walk through areas without being impeded by decorations or construction.
Candies/treats that aren’t difficult to chew or don’t pose choking hazards please parents.
Three age-group categories are overwhelming for parents with several children.
Trick or Treat!
Submitted by Steve Miner, Outreach Coordinator for the Office of Residence Life, Michigan Technological University.