Longhorn Halloween brings together families, organizations

Emily Hernandez

Princesses, Harry Potter characters and superheroes came together Saturday to eat candy and experience activities provided by more than 60 organizations at Longhorn Halloween.

Longhorn Halloween is an annual event sponsored by the Office of the President at the Frank Erwin Center. Hundreds of volunteers donate candy, host game and craft booths and perform live for UT faculty and their families.

Student organization booths lined the entire arena and allowed kids to play games for candy prizes or make crafts such as slime and painted pumpkins. Texas Health Promotion Club, a student organization promoting health and wellness, gave away non-candy prizes in accordance with a Halloween project created by Food Allergy Research and Education.

“There’s something called the Teal Pumpkin Project, which was created … for kids who have food allergies and can’t have Halloween candy,” health promotion junior Sarah Higgins said. “It promotes giving away spider rings, pencils or things like that instead of candy.”

In the middle of the arena, emergency vehicles were open for kids to explore. Lake Travis Fire Rescue brought its smokehouse and fire extinguisher prop for educational purposes, said Fire Captain Glenn Tribe.

“Whenever the kids go into the smokehouse, they will be taught the proper way to escape your house if you wake up and your room is full of smoke,” Tribe said. “We use it a lot this month because October is fire-prevention month. We probably put about 5,000 or 6,000 kids through it per year.”

Fun with Chemistry, a UT outreach program for K-12 students, performed four chemistry shows to promote the fun elements of science, chemistry senior Jackson Reyna said. 

“We brought all of our spooky experiments,” Reyna said. “We have a ghost in a bottle, a vomiting pumpkin, exploding pumpkin, and then a few other explosions at the end. The crowd goes wild. They love the explosions and we love doing the explosions for them, so it all works out.”

Veronica Rivera, who volunteered with University Events, said her favorite part of Longhorn Halloween was the end. 

“What I always look forward to is towards the end of the event when all the kids are leaving and they’re really happy and in their costumes,” said Rivera, a youth and community studies senior. “Seeing different organizations come in on a Saturday with different activities and interacting with children — it’s something you don’t see just walking around on campus.”