The Rapidian

Nearly 2,000 enjoy Halloween outreach at Calvin College apartments

Students and staff at the Calvin College apartments welcomed nearly 2,000 parents and children for a night of games and indoor trick-or-treating. The turnout made it the second largest Halloween event in Grand Rapids.

/Bekah Coggin

2,000 parents and children trick-or-treat at Calvin

Parents and children were led through all eleven of the decorated Calvin apartments as they filled their jack-o-lanterns with candy from Calvin students. Despite the rainy weather, the participation doubled in size since last year.


What do you get when you cross 11 decorated apartments, more than 300 hours of work and 22,000 pieces of candy?

A whole new world. At least, that’s what it felt like for the children trick-or-treating last Thursday night through the decorated halls of the Calvin College Knollcrest East (KE) apartments.

Two thousand parents and children converged on the Calvin apartments for the 19th annual Light in the Night, an evening of safe, warm and (mostly) dry trick-or-treating.

Brant Porter, a Grand Rapids resident who came with his wife Mary and their three boys, was one of the many parents who came to the event for the first time. Porter said he and his family came because of the advertised indoor trick-or-treating and the positive environment.

“It’s been awesome! They’ve really taken back the holiday from so many other Halloween options,” Porter said. He and his family dressed as characters from “Despicable Me,” and his three boys smiled through their homemade minion costumes.

Parents and children were guided through each of the apartment buildings, which were decorated with themes such as “Alice in Wonderland,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and Mario World.

Calvin students living in the apartments dressed up according to their building’s theme and handed out candy outside their doors.

“I just hope to make some child’s night,” said Calvin senior Kirsten Gustafson, who dressed as Princess Peach from Mario World for the evening.

She did just that when a six-year-old boy came up to her and said, “Princess Peach! I’ve been trying to save you my whole life!”

But the evening wasn’t just about the fun of trick-or-treating. Calvin senior Josh Song, third-year resident assistant in the apartments, reflected on the purpose behind the event.

“[The night] is a chance for KE students to meet and bless members of families from the community,” he said.

Annie Mas-Smith, area coordinator for the KE apartments, said many people don’t realize how much of a community outreach the event is.

“For many who attend, this is their only connection to Calvin,” she said.

Calvin senior Megan Peshek, volunteering at the event, said that a surprising number of Calvin students don’t know the event reaches far beyond the Calvin community.

“Don’t you mean MidKnight Madness?” was the reply Peshek received from some students who confused Light in the Night with MidKnight Madness, an event planned on the same night which promoted Calvin’s winter sports’ seasons.

Mas-Smith said the goal of Light in the Night was to provide safe and welcoming environment for those in the Grand Rapids community who might not have the opportunity to trick-or-treat in their neighborhoods.

Each child was also encouraged to bring a canned good item for donation.

The community participation almost doubled in size from last year. Mas-Smith thought this might be because nearly every local media outlet advertised the event, and it was one of the few indoor trick-or-treating events in Grand Rapids.

“It’s the number two spot in the city for trick-or-treating,” said Senior Kathryn Knox, resident assistant in the apartments. The event was second only to a seven-day Halloween event at the John Ball Zoo that charged $7 for admission.

Accommodating 2,000 parents and children was no easy task, Mas-Smith explained.

“My RAs (resident assistants) worked really hard,” Mas-Smith said. “It was one of the best years for decorations.”

She also thanked Jana Biegel, assistant area coordinator for the apartments, who did a majority of the long-term planning.











The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.