Safe Blocks of the Past


Submitted to the Simpsonian

Simpson Residence Life will not be holding their much-anticipated “Safe Block” event this year

by Jenna Prather, Staff Reporter

Safe Block, a longstanding trick-or-treating tradition at Simpson College, will not be returning this year due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Four seniors looked back on their memories of Safe Block and what it meant to the kids and themselves. 

Although it hasn’t happened for two years now, Safe Block was an annual treat-giving event for Simpson to open up to the children and families of the Indianola community.

Dalaney Reese, a senior health and exercise science major, had been involved in both her first and second years. She even helped the former first-year area coordinator, Tayler Keitzer, to organize the event her second year. 

“We’ve had decorations that we distributed to the CAs (Community Advisors) in the first-year dorms, and they worked with their floor to decorate it for Halloween,” Reese said. “Families in the community could bring their kids and walk them through the residence halls. Students would have bowls of candy outside their rooms, and kids could come and get candy from them.”

Reese also said that one year some of the fraternity houses joined in on the fun by having a haunted house for the older kids.

“They would dress up and decorate their houses. Then they would have a guide that would walk kids and their families through the houses, and they’d jump out and scare them,” Reese said.

Black Box would also hold games and activities where they could win prizes.

Many parents would choose Safe Block as a safer alternative to the regular door-to-door trick or treating. Avoiding the stress of taking the kids around town to knock on a stranger’s door or having them out all night.

Katie Pantzar, a senior double majoring in biochemistry and history, emphasized how important Safe Block was to the community.

“It became a campus-wide event that included a bunch of the Indianola community. It was cool to have both students putting this on and being able to interact with people from the town.” Pantzar said.

Tristan Jensen, a senior double majoring in criminal justice and religion, said that dressing up and interacting with the kids was a big highlight for him.

“I think it was also a fun excuse for college students to be able to dress up for Halloween,” he added. “When you’re in college, apart from if you’re going to go to a Halloween party, there’s not any other reason for you to be motivated to dress up without feeling like you’re going to be the weird, odd person out or whatever,”

He remembered that the first year he participated, he dressed up as the Joker and there was a little girl dressed up as Batgirl. 

“It was so cute; she wanted a picture and just the interactions you get between not only the children that come through but their parents too,” Jensen said.

Gizzy Keeler, a senior majoring in neuroscience, agreed with Jensen, saying that this was her favorite part. 

“Seeing all the kids come through after you’ve seen only 18 to 22-year-olds for a couple of months straight is nice,” Keeler said. “It was like their own little parade, walking through the hallways and knocking on our doors where we’re waiting for them and complimenting their costumes because they all look adorable.”

Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life, Matt Hansen, said that while he’s sad about Safe Block not returning, he understands why it had to be canceled. 

“The decision to not welcome the community into the Residence Halls for indoor and safe trick-or-treating was a sad one to make but needed due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and public health guidelines,” Hansen said. “We look forward to its hopeful return in 2022.”

Instead of having Safe Block this year, athletes will be gathering at Buxton Stadium on Oct. 31 for a night of games and candy. Kids can visit stations, play games and interact with Simpson athletes.