October 24, 2008

Residence hall to host Tower of Tricks and Treats

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- It’s all treats and no tricks for kids at a special free party on the campus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

While SIUC students may be too old to don a costume and ring doorbells collecting edible delights, they continue to enjoy Halloween fun. Mae Smith Hall and dozens of student volunteers are sponsoring a very special bash for local children Thursday, Oct. 30, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Volunteers will escort small groups of children through all sorts of fun activities. The fun includes crafts, parties, costume contests and a cardboard maze. And, of course they’ll be trick-or-treating at various approved locations within the building.

Brittany Zionic, a resident assistant at Mae Smith and junior from Urbana majoring in cinema and photography, conceived the plans with a dual purpose in mind. It’s a chance for University students to enjoy seeing the kiddies in costume, interact with them while doing a bit of community service, and it’s a lot of fun for the children of the community in a safe, supervised environment.

Zionic devoted much of her free time the last couple of months working to bring her vision to life. She secured funding and co-sponsorship from the Residence Hall Association. More than 60 students and staff members have volunteered to help with Tower of Tricks and Treats. Already about 30 children, including some from University Housing’s Evergreen Terrace, have registered.

It’s not too late to sign up though! Register kids up through age 12 for Tower of Tricks and Treats by e-mailing the names and ages of your children along with your name and telephone number to bzionic@siu.edu. Pre-registration assures a safe, controlled ratio of student volunteers for participating children. If possible, organizers ask for registration by Wednesday, Oct. 29, although late registration is acceptable up until the next morning.

Numerous safety precautions are in place for the evening. Parents will sign waivers upon arrival. They will check their children in and out of the building. Children will have numbered wristbands and parents will get matching numbered tickets. Parents can wait for their children on site but, if they choose to leave, verification of matching numbers assures children only leave with their parents. There’s free parking in Lot 55 near the Charlotte West Softball Stadium for community members bringing their children to Tower of Tricks and Treats.