200 Days in the Life of the College

Sunday, October 31

A night of fright in the name of Trust

By Leigh Ercole ’11

“Enter if you dare.”

The sign on the front door of the Afro-Latin Cultural Center is meant as a mock warning, but it draws hordes of excited children inside. It is part of Trust Treat, an annual event that brings children from Utica to College Hill for a fun and safe night of trick-or-treating.

Trust Treat, tonight marking its 20th anniversary, was initiated in memory of Eric Trust ’92, who died unexpectedly on Halloween during his first year at Hamilton. Each year, student-run organizations transform dorm rooms and other campus buildings into haunted houses and candy shops. Then they lead children on a spooky trick-or-treating trip across campus. Trust Treat is currently run by Chaplain John Croghan and the Newman Council. Father Croghan says the event’s purpose is twofold: “To honor Eric, who was too nice not to do something, and to help out kids in Utica.”

In anticipation of the event, members of the Black Latino Student Union have spent four hours preparing the basement of the Afro-Latin Cultural Center. Bats hang from the ceiling and red lightbulbs cast a creepy glow on fake spider webs. When the first group of children enters, masked college students jump out. The trick-or-treaters scream, then claim defensively, “We weren’t scared.”

In the common room of Carnegie, the men’s hockey team has decorated its walls with orange streamers and plastic black spiders. The first-year women on the second floor of North have transformed their sterile hallway into a spooky haunted house, complete with spider webs, gravestone cutouts lining the walls and a witch hanging from the bathroom door. At each stop, children select their candy, then dart back into the chilly night.

Marisa Spagnolo ’12, a volunteer guide, says she is having as much fun as the children. “It is great just to see them enjoying their trick-or-treating on campus — especially after they go through haunted houses,” she says. “They keep wanting to go back to those!”