Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn draws large crowds

U.Va. tradition organized by Lawn residents and student organizations


Volunteers on the Lawn pass out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Alexa Patel | Cavalier Daily

Tuesday evening the Lawn was filled with crowds of children from Charlottesville dressed in Halloween costumes for Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn. 

Lawn residents first started inviting the Charlottesville community to trick-or-treat on the Lawn in the 1980s. Since then, the event has become a widely-anticipated University tradition with dozens of contracted independent organizations and other organizations volunteering to donate and hand out candy. 

“I think students get so excited about this event because it’s one of the times like Lighting of the Lawn or Final Exercises where you get a large number of U.Va. and Charlottesville community together, because we are one community here,” said Malcolm Stewart, a fourth-year Batten student.

As Senior Resident of the Lawn and Fourth-Year Trustees President, Stewart was responsible for organizing the event. He said he thinks of it as an opportunity for students to relieve stress in between midterms and finals season. 

“Everyone is kind of looking for Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn as that midpoint right before Thanksgiving break so we can just have some fun, forget about all the schoolwork that’s going on,” Stewart said. “They enjoy having that chance to dress up, be childish, be a goof, hang out with the kids, put a smile on their faces.”

In early to mid-October, Stewart gave student organizations the opportunity to sign up to hand out candy on the South Lawn around the Homer statue, and Lawn residents the opportunity to invite an organization to hand out candy from their Lawn rooms. 

This year, about 130 different organizations handed out candy from either the South Lawn or Lawn rooms. 

“This year we broke a record,” Stewart said. “The South Lawn last year had about 46, I believe, different groups stationed around the Homer statue. This year we have about 70, so we’ve really pushed it to its full capacity … And that was an effort to try and make sure as many groups as wanted to have a part in Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn could.”

Organizations are advised to provide at least $125 worth of candy. Stewart said this is to relieve the financial burden of providing candy from the Lawn residents and to ensure that no organization runs out of candy quickly and no Lawn room has to be closed to trick-or-treaters before the two-hour event is over. 

Some organizations also handed out allergy-free treats, balloons and informational brochures. Stewart said that these activities were encouraged, but the purpose of the event was not to solicit donations or recruit members to an organization. 

The University Police Department and Emergency Preparedness Officers were present at the event, as in previous years. 

Club Running was one of the many student organizations granted a plot on the South Lawn. Jeremy Levine, a second-year College student and Club Running’s recruitment chair, was involved with setting up the CIO’s operations for Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn.

“In terms of our club, we got the candy, we opted to not bring a table because we figured that it would be a little easier for the kids to get the candy that way,” he said in an interview before the event. “I know me and at least one other person will be here the whole time, and the rest of the members of Club Running will filter in and out for the two hours of handing out candy.”

Levine said he believed that events such as Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn had a positive impact on the University’s relations with the broader Charlottesville community.

“I think it’s a great thing to get involved with the community regardless of the events over the course of the past two months,” he said. “It’s just a fantastic way to bring everyone together over such a fun holiday.”

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