Despite weather and a pandemic, Monster Mash roars

By Zachary Klein

It rained. It was windy. One could say it was even spooky weather. None of this stopped the Office of Service and Civic Engagement from hosting its annual “Monster Mash” Halloween party, which was planned to be held at the Campus Mall for the Trenton YMCA on Oct. 29.

The event was moved last minute to the Bart Luedeke Center’s Cavalla Room, where various clubs and organizations set up stations for the 60 participants to partake in.

“These students are all from the Trenton YMCA,” said junior health sciences major and student organizer Hayley Schmier. “One of the reasons I think they come here is so they can get on the college campus and experience it for themselves.”

The elementary age students coming from the Trenton YMCA are no stranger to events at Rider, according to Joan Liptrot, who serves as Rider’s Service and Civic engagement director and also supervises the Bonner Community Scholars program, a program at Rider that works to help at-risk youths amongst other things.

“This is the seventh or eighth year we’ve done this,” Liptrot said. “It started as some students wanting to do this for some of the after-school programs that we’ve worked with. Usually, though, we have over a hundred kids for this.”

The lack of [YMCA] students was a result of one of the Trenton-based after-school programs, GetSet, shutting down during the pandemic and the YMCA’s being space-limited, according to Liptrot.

Junior musical theater major Tiffany Beckford is a member of the Bonner Community Scholars who helped with the event. She said most of the organizations who had set up activities for the Halloween party were Greek organizations, but that a few others, such as womens club volleyball, also volunteered to set up a table.

“It’s all for the kids,” Beckford said. “There’s games, activities and crafts for them, and there will also be food for them, and of course, candy.”

Walking into the Cavalla Room, the variety and creativity of the activities was evident. There was everything from a large parachute and eyeball races to an “American Ninja Warrior”-like limbo. There was truly something for everyone, and the students scattered across the room looking for their favorite activity.

Perhaps one of the most interesting choices was the apple bobbing, which was hosted by the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. Although apple bobbing is a classic fall activity, it just does not seem practical among small children in the age of COVID-19.

Senior political science major Angel Sanchez, who was represented Sigma Phi Epsilon, assured that everything would be safe.

“We’re going to let them use a scoop to remove the apple from the water and we have candy for that if they get the prize,” he said.

All of the activities were popular. As the students raced around the Cavalla Room, many were dressed in costume. It seemed as though they were just happy to be given a party where they could just be themselves without any preconceived notions, and maybe even look at a chance of where they could be in just a couple of years: a student at Rider University.

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