CAMPUS: Halloween Fest returns to TAMIU
By April Garcia
Bridge contributing writer
David Gomez Jr.
Published Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022
TAMIU’s Student Orientation Leadership and Engagement and Campus Activities Board welcomed back the Halloween Fest for the first time since 2019.
The festival took place on Oct. 27 at the Sen. Judith Zaffirini Student Success Center green, as a joint event between Texas A&M International University’s SOLE and CAB.
“CAB and SOLE are the ones who set up the festival,” SOLE Assistant Director Abigail Fernandez said, “but CAB does a lot of the organization. CAB makes sure everything is ready about an hour before the event starts. We rely on teamwork.”
Both SOLE and CAB expected a larger crowd than what they are used to, since this is the first one in three years. In order to prepare, they had to look at their budget and the number of organizations signed up.
CAB is made up of more than 100 organizations, with more than 35 booths involved. One of those, the TAMIU Philosophy Society, assisted in event planning. Society President Carolina Vasquez said members prepared one of the many booth activities at the event.
“Our members talked over the possible activities we could do for the Halloween Fest and ultimately decided on tarot reading cards,” Vasquez said, “because it was a huge hit for us in a past event.”
The group’s tarot cards readings employed a small twist; instead of the standard cards, theirs included different philosophers with quotes about past, present and future. Tarot reading was not the only thing students were able to experience.
A DJ, dressed as Barney the Dinosaur, spun the festival’s tunes as costumed dogs and a Halloween Costume Contest took to the stage area.
A couple’s costume of a stoplight and traffic cone were easy to spot in the crowd and shared a few words for their inspiration.
“Honestly, it had to do a lot with the car that we have,” education major Amanda Lara said. “We have a Mustang, so seeing the costumes, we thought it’d fit the theme.”
They planned to milk Halloween weekend as much as possible with their costumes.
Many of the booths sold festival food, such as tacos, corn in a cup, hotdogs and funnel cakes while others offered games and prizes. Fernandez said all booths selling food were properly trained for food safety. Each organization had to obtain their food handler’s certificate.
The festival was not only an event for the community to attend, but also an opportunity to help participating organizations.
“It’s a community event that also serves as a fundraiser for student organizations,” SOLE Director Nicholas Hudson said.
“It feels so nice seeing everyone here together again,” criminal justice major Daniella Delgado said. “This event [last] happened before [COVID-19] and now that we’re back here—I don’t know—it’s a great feeling.”
Delgado also serves as part of the Student Philanthropy Council and their booth featured Penny Wars: a battle between the classes in the council of who can raise the most money, with all proceeds going to the Dusty Food Pantry.
With the return of the Halloween Fest, TAMIU kicks it back to a normal feel for most students. SOLE’s other student activities also received increased attendance.
“Our first event had about 25 students,” Hudson said. “For a small-scale event, that’s not free food and free goods, it was a well-attended event. We’re continuously seeing student engagement increase at levels we have not seen even prior to the pandemic.”
The amount of participation during the evening events demonstrated students coming back to some form of normalcy.
“[We had] El Grito which had [more than] 400 attendees, which is huge,” Hudson said. “It’s the largest El Grito we’ve had on campus in at least five years. I think it’s emblematic of students wanting to come back and wanting to be engaged at high levels.”
The Philosophy Society expected the Halloween Fest to not only be engaging for students and the community but also for participating organizations.
“We have high expectations that it will be very engaging, and as well received as it was before,” Vasquez said before the event.