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Event draws in more than 1,000 attendees

From ghosts to princesses, more than 500 children trick-or-treated in the Cook/Douglass Recreation Center Friday night during the eighth annual “Monster Mash,” hosted by the Residence Hall Association.

Alexandra Cupello Waters, the assistant director of Residence Life on Cook/Douglass campus, said this event marks its eighth year in existence and the fifth year that the Residence Hall Association on Cook/Douglass campus has sponsored it.

“The purpose of the event is to bring [the surrounding community] to Cook and have them interact in a different way with the Rutgers University students,” she said.

Waters said this year drew a larger crowd than last year with more than 1,000 attendees.

“Last year, we had around 1,000 people attend with 400 to 500 kids and the rest parents and grandparents,” she said. “We ran out of treat bags, and we made between 500 and 600 of them, so I would say we had over 1,000 people.”

Christin Nassar, a Residence Life apartment assistant, said “Monster Mash” added a tent this year to allow for more activities and to accommodate the larger turnout.

“There’s definitely a lot of things to do,” said Steven Hill, a third-grader from Woodbridge. “There’s a lot of cool costumes and candy prizes and food.”

Waters said the event would not be possible without the work of the student volunteers who have been planning since the first week in September.

With more than 120 volunteers and 115 organizations, the Monster Mash Committee consisted of members from the Residence Life staff, apartment assistants, residence hall assistants, professional staff from the University, Residence Hall Association councils and University volunteers, said Nassar, a School of Social Work graduate student.

“There are different types of jobs [for students to do],” said Dana Margulies, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. “For example, we’re directing traffic and helping people if they need to get there, and volunteers also work the candy machines, the popcorn machines.”

Other activities included Twister games, “Ye Olde” target game and sand art projects.

Janine Rubin, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said volunteering was a rewarding opportunity. Rubin and the Cook Apartment Hall Government sponsored a balloon game where children matched faces on balloons.

“It’s good and a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s definitely a good idea by providing a place where kids [have] a safe alternative [to trick-or-treating in the surrounding area].”

Lizmairy Manana, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, said she was excited for the event because she was able to share it with her family, especially her younger sister.

“If you come over here, it’s a lot safer than New Brunswick,” Manana said. “It’s a really great event, and I wanted my sister to appreciate it. I said, ‘Hey, come on down here.’”

Some children thought the outside tent and haunted house were great additions to the Monster Mash.

“This year is definitely a lot better than last year,” said Jamie Little, a 9-year-old from East Brunswick. “There’s more stuff to do, and there’s a haunted house and candy and it’s really good.”

Karen Little said she brings her children every year and originally found out about the event from a school flyer.

“I’m glad that Rutgers holds an event like this every year. I’ve been coming since the first year with my older daughter, and it’s been getting bigger and better each year,” Karen Little said. “Last year it was a little cramped, but it’s definitely gotten better.”

Michelle Lee, a parent of a four-year-old son, said this was her first year attending Monster Mash and was glad that her son was having a good time.

“This is a great event. I plan on coming back next year,” she said. “He’s having so much fun. I don’t want to make him leave.”

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