On the 31st of October the children living in our university accomodation got paid a very special visit by a musketeer, a pirate and a superhero - our Residence Life Mentors were on a glee-spreading mission for Halloween. The concept was named 'Reverse Trick or Treat' and was our own take on a familiar tradition.
The evening started at 4:17pm on Oakholme Road and aimed to cover areas of Shore Court, Endcliffe Avenue and Endcliffe Crescent. Armed with goodie bags (containing all manner of candy, chocolate bars, toys and titbits, along with a note from ResLife) and the mentors made their way!
Though there were admittedly some initial hiccups - both in regards to finding the houses as well as people not being in at times but we gradually got the hang of it. Perhaps one of the best moments of the evening was finally seeing that first smile, that first elated child open the door. Almost reflexively you felt like seeing them happier. We handed the child two goodie bags instead of one; it did work out though, because his sister was out and would be elated to find one for herself later.
The children were truly splendid, showing us the other candy they received, peeking out of windows, excitedly telling their parents we'd arrived and even waving us goodbye.
The parents were equally amazing, enthusiastically clicking pictures of their children with the dressed up mentors, and sometimes even being in costume themselves (shout-out to Mr. Zombie, the parents doing super cool Halloween makeup with their kids, and the unforgettable unicorn slippers).
On occasion, the mentors were able to bring joy to not just the kids, but also adults. Minor errors in the visit-list led to a young international couple being surprised on their first Halloween in the country, along with two older gentlemen.
It was always amusing to have to politely decline the residents' candies that they offered up when they didn't immediately grasp the concept of 'reverse' trick or treating; or, like the little kid that ran inside leaving his brother at the door, simply wanted to reciprocate in kind, this initially led us to believe we'd scared him off, much like when the pirate costume had unfortunately scared one of the babies we'd visited before, so seeing him return with candy for us was heartwarming.
As day turned to night, if you'd listen carefully, you'd hear a musketeer, pirate and superhero marching along to their made up tunes- the harbingers of happiness, if only for a day.
Several smiles, a few stumbles and falls, the smell of home-cooked meals and goodies tucked into children's boots just about sums up the beautiful evening.