Story by Christina Cracolici, Assistant Director of USM Athletic Communications
GORHAM, Maine - University of Southern Maine student-athletes and the Huskies' Department of Athletics will host its most popular annual event of the year, the Huskies' Community Halloween Party, on Sunday, October 29 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. at the Costello Sports Complex Hill Gymnasium in Gorham, Maine.
Organized, planned, and hosted by the Huskies' Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC); advisor Samantha Allen, USM women's basketball coach; and the Gorham Department of Recreation, the Huskies' Community Halloween Party gives kids from the local communities a safe environment to participate in many different Halloween-related activities. With generous donations from local businesses, the Huskies' Community Halloween Party, hosted inside at Hill Gymnasium, is free of charge, and open to children in grade five and under.
Family members can participate in numerous activities that are facilitated by USM student-athletes, including hayrides with hot cider and doughnut holes, a haunted house, bounce houses, numerous games, face painting, and a dance contest.
"The Halloween Party marks a special event for SAAC as it celebrates the collaboration of all our teams to create a memorable experience for the Gorham and USM community," noted Allen. "It is fun to watch the student-athletes jockey for position for their favorite Halloween games and brainstorm new events for the children; not to mention it is always a toss up for which group is having more fun: our guests or our student-athletes."
Two of the most popular attractions each year, the Husky Halloween Hayride and the Husky Haunted House return to provide fun and good-natured thrills. This year the Halloween Hayride will be coordinated by the men's soccer team, while the women's soccer team will be creating and staffing this year's Husky Haunted House.
"The Halloween Party is our most fun event of the year," said USM SAAC President and women's volleyball player Mo Raymond. "While it requires a great deal of work, as student-athletes we appreciate getting a chance to interact with members of the community and we have fun interacting with the kids who participate. Many of these community members attend our games throughout the year, and it is great that we have the opportunity to give back in a fun setting.
Created in 1996 with a handful of Husky student-athletes, the USM Student-Athlete Advisory committee has continued to grow in numbers, in activities and in community outreach. The student-led organization is comprised of student-athletes representing all 22 of USM's intercollegiate sports. Since its creation, USM SAAC has earned awards for its community service efforts at the national, regional, and local level.
Recognized by the University over the last three years consecutively (2017, 2016, 2015) with its Outstanding Contribution to Community Service Award, USM's SAAC has also been recognized by the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA) with the Josten's Community Service Award on numerous occasions, most recently in 2015. The Huskies were recognized for their efforts in the On-Going Projects category for its long-standing tradition of hosting the annual Husky Halloween Community Party.
The Huskies' Community Halloween Party is one of many youth-centric events looked forward to by children and surrounding communities. Other events include the annual Skate with the Huskies event hosted by USM's men's and women's ice hockey teams, the Husky Pen Pal program, Special Olympics Basketball Tournament, and more.
2017 Annual Huskies' Community Halloween Party
What: Community Halloween Party
When: Sunday, October 29, 2017 (2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
Where: Hill Gymnasium, Costello Sports Complex, Gorham, Maine
Who: Children Grade Five and under