NEIU ‘Halloween Hangout’ fosters community building

Saarah Junaid

The Angelina Pedroso Center transformed into a scene with skeletons, mummies and bats on Oct. 25 during the “Halloween Hangout.” Ominous background music filled the ears of participants and Halloween themed food was available.

Halloween Hangout was hosted for the NEIU community and participants were able to show off their costumes, decorate pumpkins, watch horror movies and network with others.

The event was also an opportunity for a “freshmen meetup,” where freshmen and their peer mentors from their First Year Experience (FYE) classes come together to socialize with other freshman.

Throughout the event, there were activities such as guessing how much a pumpkin weighed and watching “Child’s Play (1988).” Students ate Halloween themed hot dogs and sweets such as spider cupcakes, “spooky” rice krispie treats and traditional halloween candy.

The Halloween costume contest had participants competing for gift cards with a varying amount of money. Participants paraded their costumes down the imaginary runway to Michael Jackson’s hit-song, “Thriller.” The top five finalists were Bob Brown (Red Power Ranger), Anthony Pacheco (Dark Jedi), Amiy Brammer (Pirate), Xiadany “Shortie” Ayala (the Predator) and Sooyeon Kim (Little Red Riding Hood).

First place winner was Xiadany “Shortie” Ayala, winning a $50 gift card.

NEIU social work major Daesy Ruiz said, “At these events, you can meet new people and learn from different cultures.”

The idea of building community and networking seemed to be a common thread among the students.

FYE Peer Mentor Katie Shah said, “Events like these allow you to have all these different groups of people, who are all different majors, involved in different clubs. Having events like these, allows people to come together, to network with others and find support.”

Freshmen students Noemi Garcia and Daisha Etienne said, “Having events like these make NEIU feel more like a family.”

One of the hosts for event Miguel Marino said, “Providing the space and giving food (…) allows people to get to know each other. That is the whole point of events like these. You see someone at the event and then the next time you see them on campus, you wave to them or smile. Events like these create connection and bring the community together.”