Track or Treat Returns For The First Time Since 2019


Photo by Mads Olsen

A young Spiderman participates in a Track or Treat event.

Since 2013, the Oberlin College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has hosted Track or Treat, an annual event that brings together the local community for Halloween-themed fun and connects the College’s athletic teams with Oberlin families. For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, young children from the Oberlin community were invited back to campus, joining varsity athletes on Kahn Track for games at stations set up by each of our teams. The event, which took place last night, was an opportunity for College students and faculty to stay involved with the town’s residents through family-friendly fun.

Track or Treat brings a greater connection between the town’s youngest residents and Oberlin’s athletes. For Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Manuel Carballo, Track or Treat has been an opportunity for his family to interact with students in an event catered specifically for them.

“This is always a fun event around Halloween time and we look forward to it every year,” he said.

Women’s basketball Head Coach, Stephany Dunmyer, says that this event is something her family always looks forward to. She enjoys seeing all the teams gather together and work the event as an entire community.

“My family loves how involved all the teams are and how interactive it is,” she said. “Seeing all the athletes in costume and playing with the little kids is always awesome and so sweet.”

Carballo knows that his son, who refers to the College students as his friends, cannot wait for more College events to start happening again, from Track or Treat to dinners at the Afrikan Heritage House to shooting baskets during halftime of basketball games.

“My son loves to see his favorite Oberlin athletes off the field/court and get to interact with them in a fun environment,” he said. “It is also great to see other faculty and staff with their families and to interact with friends from town.”

Senior Associate Director of Financial Aid Val Kepner shared many of the same sentiments.

“My kids absolutely loved attending Track or Treat, especially when they were younger,” she said, looking back to before the event was interrupted by a global pandemic.

“They liked the games and interacting with the athletes along with getting treats. It was nice that it wasn’t too spooky for them as well,” Kepner continued. “I think the community will embrace it and will be excited that Track or Treat is back!”

Oberlin town resident and parent Laura Slocum says that events like Track or Treat definitely help to foster a more inclusive environment between the town and the College.

“It’s incredible to be able to come to events like this,” she said. “We’re not a community when we’re only half of a community. The College is a part of this town and the town is a part of the College.”

With the onset of COVID-19, many normal events put on by the Athletics department and the SAAC had been cancelled — including last year’s Track or Treat. Since lockdown, Carballo’s 2-year-old has not gotten the chance to go trick-or-treating, a tradition that many people look back on as one of the most fun aspects of their childhood that stays with them throughout life.

“These events provide fun and safe [activities] while also helping restore a sense of normalcy in these crazy times,” Carballo reflected.

Carballo hopes that the return of Track or Treat provides an opportunity for kids to get back what they have missed.

As Dunmyer reflects on this year’s Track or Treat, she says it was one to remember and a perfect night for the kids.