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Halloween at Vassar: Spooktacular Stroll and Some Trick-or-Treating

Vassar kicked off Halloween with greetings and giveaways from members of the College staff who set up tables of goodies throughout the campus. The two-hour event, dubbed The Spooktacular Stroll, was co-hosted by the Office of Health Promotion and Education and the First Year Experience team of the Office of Student Growth and Engagement.

Later, dozens of students took part in some trick-or-treating at the President’s House, receiving candy from President Elizabeth Bradley and her husband, John. Because the Bradleys are often referred to as PB&J, (President Bradley and John), they were festooned in peanut butter and jelly costumes. “Halloween was a special time to see so many students, and in their creative attire,” the President said. “I think we went through about 10 pounds of chocolate in three hours! A good time for all!”

President Bradley advises two ghosts to keep their distance.Photo: Abby Whittington '23

Andrea Pesavento, Director of Health Promotion and Education, noted that the Office traditionally hosts a 5k Fun Run on Halloween but decided to shift the focus this year and create an event that would bring students and staff together in a COVID-friendly way. “We were attuned to the fact that we’ve gone through some rough weeks and wanted to acknowledge the sacrifices our students and employees were making and to give them an opportunity to celebrate together,” Pesavento said.

Sarah Garijo-Garde ‘20, First Year Experience and Community Care Program Associate, said the idea had been embraced by everyone in the Office of Student Growth and Engagement. And she said she was not surprised that volunteers in more than a dozen other offices and departments throughout the campus had agreed to join in the fun. “It was just great to see how caring and supportive everyone is,” Garijo-Garde said.

Staff from more than a dozen Vassar departments and offices handed out goodies during the Spooktacular Stroll throughout the campus. Photo: Grace Adams Ward '24

Students were greeted in front of Jewett at the start of the Spooktacular Stroll by Health Promotion and Education Coordinator Samantha Hoher, who handed out bright orange bags and a hefty supply of Skittles, Kit Kat bars and Tootsie Roll Pops. “We’ve all missed spending time with the students, so it’s nice to share some space with them today,” Hoher said. “Isolation is not good for anyone’s mental health.”

At the next stop, Erika Pappas, Director of Case Management, handed out Silly Putty and candy bars. “It’s been wonderful to see so many students face to face today after all the remote communication we’ve been doing with them for most of the semester,” Pappas said.

Lily Tipton ’22, one of more than 200 students who attended the event, said she appreciated the gesture from the College staff. “This is a really nice mid-day Halloween event,” Tipton said. “I’m meeting people I don’t ordinarily see on campus. It’s great to see that wellness is such a priority here.”

Students and PB&J maintain their social distance.Photo: Karl Rabe

Other offices and departments that took part in the event included: Title IX and Support Advocacy and Violence Prevention (SAVP), Thompson Library, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and Contemplative Practices, CHOICE, the Career Development Office, the Office of the President, the LGBTQ and Womens Centers, Health Services, Counseling Service, the Vassar Student Association  Health and Wellness Committee, the Office of Residential Life, and the Office for Accessibility and Educational Opportunity.

Full moon over Main for Halloween.Photo: Karl Rabe