Local children celebrate Halloween on campus

One hundred kids from the Medford and Somerville communities toured the Tufts campus on Saturday to participate in Leonard Carmichael Society’s (LCS) annual Halloween on the Hill event. 

According to event coordinators Shoshana Oppenheim and Mengqi Sun, 60 student leaders led the groups of children to various activities around the university, including face-painting, trick-or-treating and a performance from Tufts Traveling Treasure Trunk. 

Oppenheim, a junior, explained that the event not only celebrates Halloween, but also serves as a way for Tufts students to become more active members of the local communities. Unlike many student groups, which travel into Medford and Somerville to become involved, Halloween on the Hill brings families onto campus. 

According to Oppenheim, this year many students and campus groups that have not participated in the past, such as the Tufts University Alumni Association and Active Citizen of Tufts (ACT) Boston, decided to join LCS. These extra volunteers helped to ensure that the event ran smoothly. 

“A lot of dorms signed up to do trick-or-treating, and we did outdoor group games on the Residential Quad with [Halloween on the Hill] volunteers,” she said. “They organized kids and led group games while the children waited their turn to go in and trick-or-treat. We had more specific tasks for our floater volunteers.”

According to Oppenheim, she and Sun have been planning the event since mid-September. Much of their planning involves communicating with the local school system. 

“We connect with the kids by distributing permission slips to Medford elementary schools, and the Somerville superintendent’s office spreads the news by sending the permission slips to school principals and advertising using social media, as well as a community newsletter,” Oppenheim said. 

Most of the student volunteers from the university are recruited through Facebook, she added. Oppenheim and Sun also reached out to clubs, which usually plan their own activities. 

Both coordinators were very happy with the volunteers’ skill with the children. 

“We were amazed by the level of enthusiasm and energy all of our volunteers brought to the event and to the kids, whether they were a group leader, from a campus group or facilitating other activities like trick-or-treating or group games,” Oppenheim said. 

This year, group leaders met in the lounge of Carmichael Hall around 9 a.m. The coordinators distributed candies and snacks and assigned children to student leaders. Kids in costumes, all between the ages of five and eight, began to arrive around 9:30 a.m. with their parents.

  “We are super busy in the morning,” Sun, a sophomore, said. 

Oppenheim said that around 180 kids signed up for the event and a hundred showed up. The event ran until 3 p.m. 

Neha Bhatia, a volunteer for the event, said she enjoyed leading the children. 

“I love playing with the kids,” Bhatia, a freshman, said. “I can feel they love this event as they run around everywhere excitedly with big smiles on their faces.”

Oppenheim said she considered the event a great success. 

“A lot of kids came out, and they loved all of the games, arts and crafts and especially the Trunk show,” she said. “The group leaders are great with making sure everyone in their group has fun and feels included.”

Bhatia agreed, saying that she hopes to participate again next year. 

“I had a great time with the kids,” she said. “I really want to thank LCS for giving us the opportunity to celebrate the Halloween in such a special way.”