Trick or Treating for a cause at the O’rena


Taylor Stinson

Mens Basketball were among the athletes at the trick-or-treating.

Katie LaDuke , Staff Reporter

Oakland University’s O’rena was transformed into a spooktacular sight on Friday, Oct. 20, when Athletics welcomed survivors and those affected by cancer from the Children’s Leukemia Foundation for the first ever Trick or Treating at the O’rena. The event began at 4:30p.m. and was followed by the volleyball game at 6 p.m.

Oakland Athletics has participated in a similar event when the foundation worked with “Trick or Suite.” This was when a local hotel gave a suite to businesses and organizations to decorate so the foundation could bring families to trick or treat.

“The student-athletes loved all of the different aspects of the event,” said Holly Kerstner, Senior Associate AD for Student-Athlete Services and the event coordinator. “It was to the point where close to 200 of the student-athletes would attend to help out. They were not only in the suite, but also assisting with the haunted house, the pumpkin carving, the bounce houses and the cider and donut area.”

This year however, the hotel backed out and the foundation had to find a new place to hold the event.

On Sept. 28, Kerstner received a phone call from one of the leaders at the Children’s Leukemia Foundation explaining the situation and planning started shortly after. Kerstner along with Athletics had less than 30 days to get ready.

“[I] planned the different games, arts and crafts and assigned point people in each area,” Kerstner said. “I’ve also been busy coordinating all of the volunteers and sorting through the donations we have been given.”

Kerstner received an overwhelming amount of support from student-athletes, coaches and administration along with 10 other departments on campus.

The locker rooms were transformed into a variety of theme rooms where kids were able to trick or treat, the Academic Center was made into an arts and crafts station, the Elliot Room turned into a game room, the elevator became a passageway with masked operators and the concourse was available for participants to take pictures with Grizz. Every attendee was invited to the volleyball game after and to an exclusive poster signing with both the Oakland and the Milwaukee teams.

Guests came dressed to impress in a variety of outfits. There were several Supermans, a pirate ship, a salsa dancer and a basket of laundry along with many others. Many of the volunteers even donned their Halloween spirit with creative costumes including a dalmatian, Minnie Mouse and a ninja. Melina Stone, an intern at the foundation, became Cinderella for the night as she helped direct visitors.

“The foundation has had Halloween parties before, but this event was phenomenal,” Stone said. “Oakland Athletics did an incredible job and went above and beyond. Holly (Kerstner) really set the bar.”

At the beginning of the week, there were 110 confirmed responses. By Friday the total amount of RSVPs came to around 150.

“This may be the first time some of [the families] have been to Oakland’s campus or the Athletic Center,” Kerstner said. “We will welcome them into our house by giving them a first class event covered in Black and Gold.”

Although this is the first year of Trick or Treating at the O’rena, many people from the foundation and Athletics hope to continue the event for the following years.