About 350 children and their families came out to Old Fraternity Row this past Saturday to paint pumpkins, play games and walk through a haunted house at the University of Richmond's 11th-annual Trick or Treat Street.
The event, which offered several Halloween-themed activities and entertainment for children, was held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and was put on by the university's Interfraternity and Panhellenic councils, as well as several other student organizations around campus.
Students, many arriving as early as 7:15 a.m. to set up, dressed up in different Halloween costumes and helped guide the children through the activities setup. Tickets were $5 for children at the door.
The money earned from the day's events, as well as from a raffle that had been held during Family Weekend, will all go toward The Children's Organ Transplant Association, specifically to Cole Hafer, a 4-year-old boy in need of a liver transplant. Hafer attended Trick or Treat Street with his family, sporting a Scooby Doo costume.
The raffle earned $1,600 and the event itself is expected to raise several thousand more, said Elise Reinemann, co-chairwoman of Trick or Treat Street and vice president of community programming for the Panhellenic Council.
She said that this year they had decided early on to make an effort to shift the main focus of the event.
"When we started planning this back in February, one of the first things we did was outline our goals," Reinemann said, "and it came down to choosing between making this a great event for the community and raising a lot of money because it's difficult to do both and to do both well. We ended up deciding that we wanted our focus to be involving the community, both in the Richmond area and on campus."
Alison Bartel Keller, the associate director of student activities and director of Greek Life, said the amount of money earned was still being tallied. Reinemann said that in terms of community involvement, she thought the event had been a large success. This year's Trick or Treat Street brought out more than 20 student organizations, a significant increase in campus involvement compared with years past.
Each fraternity and sorority paired together to host an event, which included a haunted house, pirate's shipwreck, pumpkin patch, haystack maze, moon bounce and face-painting booths. Other student organizations also helped run activities and games, and many sponsored other features such as DJs or musicians, or came up with their own events.
Although poor weather had caused the event to be canceled in the past, this year's activities continued despite a steady drizzle throughout the afternoon, which didn't seem to stop the community from coming out, Reinemann said.
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"We did more publicity than has ever been done before to make sure that the local community in Richmond knew about the event, and we ended up having a great turnout," she said.
The Greek system at the university has adopted Cole Hafer as its philanthropy for the rest of the year, and Reinemann said they planned to host more events to raise money for him throughout the year.
Contact reporter Margaret Finucane at email@example.com
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