Halloween on Vernon Street has been a beloved campus and community tradition since 1990. Each year, children from the Hartford community are invited to Vernon Street on Trinity’s campus for trick-or-treating, activities, and games hosted by the Greek-letter and cultural houses along the street. This year, around 200 children were hosted by over 100 Trinity students in an event coordinated by students in the Annual Community Service Event Staff (ACES). The energy around this year’s event reflected a long-term, pre-pandemic history. “It was a very well established event when I got here in 1996. Lots of kids knew about it,” says Joe Barber, Director of the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement.
This year’s activities included face painting, corn hole, a pumpkin patch at the Trinfo Community Garden, and of course, trick-or-treating, with lots of candy to go around. “The candy was plentiful, Halloween was in the air on Vernon, and our ACES tour guide couldn’t have been more helpful and accommodating,” says Sean Donnelly, who attended with his twelve- and seven- year old children. Donnelly reports that his children, “Woke up on Friday morning talking about Halloween on Vernon that coming Sunday; dreaming about the buckets of candy they had hauled away in the past.” He says his children enjoyed rolling candy sushi at the Asian American Student Association (AASA) house, coloring, crafts, and corn hole.
“My kids absolutely loved the event,” says Logan Singerman, “They enjoyed getting to see kids in other costumes and the activities inside the cultural houses. It felt like we were walking through a fun neighborhood.”
Arunan Arulampalam adds that his family has attended the event since his children were old enough to walk. “It is so important because it is the only chance that kids in this community have to trick-or-treat within their neighborhood. Every year it is great to see the effort Trinity students and faculty put into making kids from the neighborhood feel welcomed on the campus,” he says.
The event aims to be a celebratory occasion that brings together the Trinity and Hartford community. “Trinity is a part of the Hartford community and is accountable to the families and individuals who sustain the city that Trinity calls home,” says Bulaong Ramiz, who attended with her child. “The relationships Trinity can cultivate by simply opening their campus and allowing their students to connect with us can help break some of the narratives that are created about either community.”
Ramiz adds, “Being celebrated as members of the Hartford community and being able to center the kids and their joy was such a gift.” With over 30 years in the books, we hope to continue the joy of Halloween on Vernon for years to come.