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College Houses welcome Brunswick residents to campus and foster community with Halloween programming

November 3, 2023

Amira Oguntoyinbo
NIGHTMARE ON MAINE STREET: Students welcome local trick-or-treaters to the College Houses for their second annual Halloween extravaganza.

On Halloween night, a spooky assemblage of polar bears, princesses and superheroes converged on Maine Street, where they were greeted by candy and groups of costume-clad College House residents.

Trick-or-treaters traveled to Boody-Johnson House to carve and paint pumpkins, MacMillan House to decorate cookies or Quinby House to have their faces painted. At Helmreich House, visitors snapped photos with a polar bear; inside of Burnett House, they colored Halloween-themed drawings. The brave among them ventured into the basement of Howell House, where they were taken on a guided tour of Ravi’s Haunted Basement—filled with jump scares, clown masks, fake blood and other thrills. And, of course, wherever the trick-or-treaters went, they were met with candy.

Tuesday’s festivities marked the second year of the College Houses’ family-oriented Halloween programming, which aims to foster community between the College Houses and Brunswick residents. Spearheaded by the houses’ Town and Community Engagement Committee leaders, the events provided an opportunity for Brunswick families and Bowdoin students alike to come together and celebrate the holiday.

Michael Sweeney ’26, Helmreich House’s Town and Community Engagement leader, spent the evening supervising the house’s photo station and interacting with the trick-or-treaters who came by.

“It’s really fun … to see all the kids come in and have a good time,” Sweeney said. “It feels like we’re having a positive impact on their night, and that’s really special.”

Tiffany Jones, a Brunswick resident who brought her child to the College Houses on Tuesday, echoed Sweeney’s enthusiasm and was excited to meet and interact with Bowdoin students.

“We love that we live in the town Bowdoin is in … but we don’t always get to meet the kids at the College,” Jones said. “I think [the Halloween programming] is amazing.”

Beyond building community between the College and the town, Tuesday’s Halloween celebration also served as an opportunity for members of different College Houses to collaborate on a larger project for local residents. Charlotte Tagupa ’26, Reed House’s Town and Community Engagement Committee leader, described the planning process for the collaborative celebration.

“We have a nice community going of all of the different Town and Community Engagement leaders from each of the houses. We try to meet up after the weekly [College House] meetings, just to bounce ideas and stuff like that,” Tagupa said. “So the Halloween event was something that we kind of came up [with] and worked on collectively.”

The committee leaders plan to continue putting on events that will bring Brunswick residents and Bowdoin students together. In the meantime, committee leaders like Izzy Cunha ’26, Howell House’s Town and Community Engagement leader, hope that the Halloween festivities will demonstrate to both students and town residents that the College Houses are truly community spaces.

“The [College] Houses are called the living rooms of campus. But even on the student level, I feel like that’s not always communicated.… They’re kind of seen as just people’s houses,” Cunha said. “I think having events like this can spread the idea that the houses are places that people can gather, and there are tons of events that are happening all the time.”


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