Austin College hosted its 18th annual ‘Roo Boo event Wednesday night. The event is presented by the local chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity. Held in the Mason Athletic-Recreation Complex on campus, the community was invited for a free family-friendly Halloween event.

Roo Boo coordinator for Alpha Phi Omega Junior Shirley Banh said the event continues to grow in attendance each year.

“The event gets more known each year,” Banh said. “Every year we reach more people. So, this year we had 100 people waiting outside, which is more waiting than we have had in the past. There’s a lot of anticipation. This year we amped everything up by ten.”

This year’s theme was American Hor Roo-r Story. Children 12 and under were invited to dawn costumes and participate in games and trick-or-treat style booths.

Vice President of Service to Alpha Phi Omega Senior Kevin Mai said his favorite part of the event each year is seeing the children grow.

“I love how the faces change,” Maid said. “There’s always new faces too. I love to see the kids grow older, and I love to see the faculty come back. I personally believe that when we connect with the families we can enrich the community. Not just for them but also for us. We learn from it and we grow from it. I want to empower other students to grow as leaders in service.”

The goal of the event is to provide a safe alternative to traditional trick-or-treating. Free candy abounded as hundreds of families lined up to gain admission to the event. Entirely run by Austin College student volunteers from 55 organizations the event continued its growth from year to year.

Bahn explained it is an opportunity for students to directly participate in servicing the community.

“It’s much safer to have all of the kids trick-or-treat where they don’t go up to strangers’ doors,” Bahn said. “It’s a guarantee that they will have a fun and a guarantee that the parents will even get something out of it from the raffles and gift cards. So it’s just a lot safer, and it’s just a great way to know that your Halloween will be a great Halloween.”