It was the annual Volunteer Network (VN) Halloween Party for community youth. Each year, VN hosts a party for kids who may be too young to trick- or-treat.
Face painting, cookie decoration and craft projects entertain the costumed kids who come accompanied by their parents.
Melissa Blandin '97 brought her four-year-old son and one-year-old daughter to the VN party. "My four-year old might go out trick-or-treating tonight, but this is great," said Blandin.
The Halloween Party was one of many activities sponsored by VN week.
Victor Wong, assistant coordinator of Volunteer Network, worked at the Halloween Party.
"This is a great opportunity for kids not old enough to trick-or-treat. Wong said, It's a lot safer and warmer than going outside.
The VN Halloween party is just one of many St. Olaf traditions surrounding Halloween. Perhaps it is St. Olaf's Norman Gothic buildings or fall foliage, but Halloween is a big deal on campus.
Lauren Henkel, '07 hosted a Halloween party at the Schmidt Honor House for student volunteers on Halloween. "This is my favorite holiday, and Oles always get so into it," she said.
On Halloween night, many students in residence halls agree to allow community trick-or-treaters knock on their room doors.
"That has been going on for my entire 18 years here, and is a big deal for little kids, as well as students," said Dean of Students Greg Kneser. "By this time of year, small children are a treat to see on campus, and it is fun to see little pirates and dragons and monsters wandering around getting candy."
Students put signs on their doors to participate. "We had trick-or-treaters when I lived in Hill-Kitt first year and it was so fun," said Katie Block '08.
Most students can also recite a few of Kneser's infamous Halloween tales.
"I've been telling the campus ghost stories for about 10 years now, and in the week leading up to Halloween, I tell them about 10 to 12 times," said Kneser. "By Halloween, I'm pretty tired, but it is a great way for me to get out on campus. The stories have taken on a life of their own, and this year, my eight-year-old son Wylie (who has heard these stories about a million times) dressed up in a white sheet with holes cut for arms and eyes and wore a red baseball cap. He told everyone he was the boy in the red cap who is a ghost at St. Olaf.
Some students take a more active role in Halloween and dress up for classes then go trick or treating themselves. "I had about 10 groups stop at my house for cider and candy," Kneser said. "I know President Anderson was passing out candy at his house too, and I'm sure he saw more than a few taller than normal trick or treaters ... Its part of the fun of living in a college neighborhood."