Hundreds of Evanston children dressed as witches, devils and princesses invaded Norris University Center Thursday as part of NCDC’s annual Project Pumpkin.
Trick-or-treating, though a popular Halloween pastime, is only allowed between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Evanston. Project Pumpkin offers Evanston children between the ages of 4 and 12 the opportunity to dress in costume and celebrate.
Project Pumpkin transformed Norris rooms into Candy Land, Hogwarts and a haunted house. The children left a distinct trail of candy wrappers across the student center.
“We throw this event because a lot of these kids don’t have opportunity to trick-or-treat, or don’t have the opportunity to trick-or-treat in a safe place,” said Project Pumpkin co-chair Manisha Taparia. “It’s so much fun for us and them.”
About 200 Northwestern students volunteered leading groups of trick-or-treaters through the carnival. Another 200 volunteers from different student groups set up activities like candy tosses, face painting and cookie decorating.
“It’s great that all of these kids from Evanston have an opportunity to trick-or-treat and that NU students are coming together to give back to the community,” said Project Pumpkin volunteer David Zheng, a Weinberg junior dressed as a penguin.
In recent weeks, the university’s relationship with the Evanston community has been questioned in various forums. For some students, Project Pumpkin was the opportunity to bridge suspected gaps.
“I personally don’t think that we have a bad relationship with [the Evanston community] and this shows that we mean well,” Zheng said.