Last Thursday, the Student Alumni Association (SAA) held their annual Halloween Hoops event in the Bell Center Tennis Parking Lot from 4:30-7:30 p.m. for Des Moines residents.
While the event is normally held in the Bell Center, it was instead held in Knapp Center Tennis Lot Four as a drive up event in order to comply with COVID-19 guidelines.
“This year we transitioned because it wasn’t an option to cancel in our minds,” said Kiley Kahler, Vice-President of Campus Community Engagement for SAA. “This is something that’s important for the community, for the Drake Neighborhood and for our families and kiddos.”
When families drove up the event they were required to wear masks and stay in their cars to comply with social distancing, but still had many opportunities for a good time. The Boys and Girls Club ran a sucker station, SAA made 300 goodie bags for the kids and Griff II made an appearance.
SAA was sure to be very “COVID cautious” while setting up, making sure that the same SAA members were putting the goodie bags together. They had extra masks and gloves for those who didn’t have them, and everyone was required to stay in their car while at the event.
“We really want to make sure that we’re keeping the campus and community safe,” Kahler said.
In the past the event was held in the Bell Center with the basketball teams so the kids could play with them, which is why the event is called “Halloween Hoops.” There were also inflatables, games and food available to participants.
While the event is primarily sponsored by Maddie’s Circle Foundation and SAA, multiple other groups have either volunteered or donated to the event including NAACP, Coalition of Black Students and the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists.
“We have had generous support, so I think at the fundamentals it hasn’t changed in the way that we collaborate,” Kahler said.
There were over 100 volunteers from 15-20 different organizations at and outside of Drake that were there to help run the event. The volunteers handed out the goodie bags, held arrows directing traffic and many were dressed up in costumes. They even received a cookie and hot chocolate for their help.
To spread the word about Halloween Hoops, posters about the event were delivered to Drake neighborhood houses, churches and local businesses. There was also an advertisement in the Des Moines Register and Ryan Arnold, the Director of Community Engagement at Drake, shared the information as well.