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Boo Bash takes over Tonopah Hall

By Elsha Harris-Yolanda
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Housing and Residential Life’s longest standing tradition, Boo Bash swept through Tonopah Residence Hall on Tuesday October 27th with no shortage of children, costumes or candy.  

Started by Residential Life Coordinator Stan Dura in the early 2000’s Boo Bash has transformed into a large-scale community event.

“Around 2005 or 2006, RLC Stan Dura started inviting local elementary schools to participate in a Tick-or-Treat type event,” said Tonopah Residential Life Coordinator Eric Morrow. “Transforming the event from a program for residents into a community service event.”

Boo Bash is not just about candy or decorating the residence halls. The community service component has become a major tenant of the event.

“Boo Bash gives local at-risk or underprivileged children and their families a safe and fun place to Trick-or-Treat and enjoy Halloween-style festivities at zero cost to the family,” said Morrow.

Local school budgets have steadily decreased and many schools have cut festival programs.

“This event is also in lieu of schools having a “Fall Fest” because their budgets can no longer afford it and many have been cut out completely,” said Residential Assistant Hayley Flora.

Boo Bash is also a learning opportunity for residents.

“Another major purpose is to educate our residents on social justice issues and to recognize and appreciate a privilege not everyone has, or may have the opportunity to experience,” said Morrow.

Since the early 2000’s when Boo Bash was first created it has grown from a simple program for residents into an event that services the entire valley.

“I was here when Stan first invited local kids to attend. So I have seen it grow from an event that was only floor decorations and “Trick-or-Treat” tours held exclusively inside of Tonopah, to an event that still includes that element, but has expanded,” said Morrow.

This years Boo Bash included inflatables, photo booth, petting zoo, a bounce house and carnival games.

Floors in Tonopah are also decorated to reinforce a more child friendly environment.

“Over the last few years has been a refocus on the idea that Boo Bash should be exclusively “kid-friendly,” meaning that we have cut out themes that revolved around violence, blood, and gore,” said Morrow.

The competition between floors to have the best decorations has also increased over the years.

“Floor decorations have also significantly improved from flat 1D/2D decorations to most floors aiming for 3D decorations and interactive themes,” said Flora. “Every year the competition gets harder and harder and every year each floor tries to one up the others.

Student Involvement: Over the years student organizations have becoming increasingly involved in Boo Bash.

According to Morrow 21 various registered student organizations participated in Boo Bash this year.

Boo Bash brings children into an environment that they might not always have access to.

“I had a conversation with a little girl who told me she didn’t think universities actually existed,” said Morrow. “She was most excited to learn that she could go to college for pottery. Maybe I allowed a dream to become a possibility,” said Morrow.

The effort of RLC’s, RA’s and residents does not go unnoticed by parents and other members of the community.

I just want to thank you all so much for all the hard work ya’ll put into [last night’s] Boo Bash,” said parent Rhiannon Guthery. “It filled me with true joy to see her have such a good time. Finding a good safe Halloween experience can be hard to find and the ones that are good cost money we don’t have. Thank you so much.”

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